The Australian Civil Society Delegation is currently in New York attending the 15th Conference of States Parties (COSP) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
Overnight, the delegation has learned that the opening statement from Public Hearing 24 on inclusive education has been released by the DRC.
In this comment, Chair Sackville referred to advocacy for accepted international human rights principles (including supported decision making, independent living and inclusive education) as ‘binary thinking’. He added that binary approaches assume relatively simple answers to difficult questions. This is concerning because it implies that solutions which are not compliant with international human rights principles may be recommended.
Delegation co-lead FPDN CEO Damian Griffis said “Human Rights are inalienable and are not up for negotiation in any way, shape or form. What exactly does the chair mean by ‘binary approaches’ in regards to inclusive education?”
QAI CEO Matilda Alexander says that “Chair Sackville needs to acknowledge that human rights cannot be binary – there’s no dual system.”
PWDA CEO Seb Zagarella notes that hearing these comments from one of Australia’s highest placed judicial officers (retired) was disappointing, especially as we are here in New York representing the Australian disability community.
WWDA Acting Director of Policy and Programs Frances Quan Farrant says that, as a signatory to the CRPD, Australia is obligated to fully implement Article 24 and the right to education for disabled people on the same terms as all Australians, no exceptions.
The delegation, which includes FPDN, WWDA, PWDA, NEDA, AFDO, QAI and DSA, wants to reiterate the concern and disappointment felt about the comments made by Chair Sackville on Inclusive Education.
In December 2020, DPOA along with DROs co-signed a statement on segregation to the Disability Royal Commission.
The Australian Civil Society Delegation will make a further statement upon return to Australia, including petitioning the CRPD Committee in regard to the Disability Royal Commission and Article 24.
For media enquiries:
Sydney, Lindsey Woollard – 0408 682 867
New York, Frances Quan Farrant – 0410 406 115