News

United Nations: serious concerns about human rights violations against Indigenous people with disability

By November 10, 2015 No Comments

Tuesday 10 November 2015

The United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) has raised serious concerns about human rights violations against Aboriginal people with disability during its review of Australia’s human rights record overnight in Geneva.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) allowed member States of the HRC to assess how Australia is tracking against its human rights obligations.

The UPR provides a platform for Australian NGOs to update the international community on the human rights situation in Australia.

First Peoples Disability Network CEO, Damian Griffis is in Geneva representing the Australian Cross Disability Alliance (ACDA), as part of the UPR Disability Coordination Group.

A number of countries asked questions of Australia relating to the high incarceration rates of Indigenous people, and the alarming fact that a number of Indigenous people with disability are incarcerated without conviction. In reply, the Australian Government made a voluntary commitment to address indefinite detention.

Damian Griffis, CEO First Peoples Disability Network said: “We welcome Australia’s commitment to address the indefinite detention of people with disability in the criminal justice system who are deemed unfit to plead.”

“The over-incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a national shame. More and more data is now to coming to light that confirms the anecdotal evidence we receive relating to the high rates of incarceration of Aboriginal people with disability. The indefinite detention of Indigenous people with disability, without conviction, is a clear example of this.”

Scott Avery, Research and Policy Director, FPDN said: “The Government’s commitment to address the indefinite detention of people with disability in prison needs to backed up by meaningful reform of the justice system to make sure that changes happen soon. The consequence of inaction is that people with disability will continue to languish in prison when they should not be there.”

The UPR Disability Coordination Group has been working as part of the 200 strong UPR NGO Coalition to raise priority human rights issues for people with disability, including forced sterilisation, indefinite detention, involuntary treatment, restrictive practices, legal capacity and violence in institutions.

The review report will be handed down on Thursday 12 November and the Australian Government will then have an opportunity to respond. Media contact:

Sara Irvine,

sarai@fpdn.org.au,

+61 402982002

Note to editors:

* Disability Fact Sheets * UPR info * UN Human Rights