Australia reaffirms its commitment to the rights of people with disabilities at the United Nations

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth will lead the Australian delegation, including a group of Australians with diverse experience with disability, to attend the 16th Session of the United Nations Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (COSP16).

The Albanese Labor Government is committed to a strong multilateral human rights system and to advancing human rights globally.

The Conference, to take place from 13 to 15 June in New York, brings together UN Member States, disability organisations, human rights defenders, UN entities and development partners to discuss implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and share best-practice.

It is the most significant and diverse disability meeting in the world and Minister Rishworth’s attendance signifies the commitment the Albanese Labor Government has to progressing the rights of Australians with disability.

This year, the Australian Government is funding a range of disability representative organisations to support 14 civil society delegates from across Australia to attend the Conference through the Supporting Participation program.

Minister Rishworth said the conference was an opportunity to share learnings in implementing the Convention and that the voices of people with disability was paramount.

“More than one in six Australians are living with disability and it is terrific that such a diverse cross section of Australia’s disability community is being represented at the Conference,” Minister Rishworth said.

“This year, 11 of the 14 civil society delegates funded to attend the Conference are aged between 18 and 35 and it is a privilege to attend alongside these emerging leaders.”

Darryl Steff from Down Syndrome Australia said: “We are looking forward to the opportunity to increase the profile of people with Down Syndrome and intellectual disability at the Conference and learn from other countries about their advocacy approaches”.

Giancarlo de Vera, from People with Disability Australia said: “As a member of the emerging youth leaders delegation, it’s critical that the next generation of Australian disability leaders have the opportunity to learn from those that have come before them”.

Minister Rishworth said the upcoming week of discussions will be important to promote the rights of people with disability, not just in Australia, but internationally.

“I look forward to meeting with international delegates to share what we have learned in implementing the Convention and demonstrate Australia’s commitment to disability inclusion and rights,” Minister Rishworth said.

“Australia’s commitment to implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is unwavering.”

Australia will host two side events during COSP16, one on Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021-31 and another with Down Syndrome Australia.

While in the United States, Minister Rishworth will also meet with international delegates and will hold a range of important bilateral meetings.