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Statement for Civil Society Forum for UNCRPD COSP 2024

By June 11, 2024No Comments


I represent The First Peoples Disability Network (Australia) a national organisation, representing Australia’s Indigenous people with disabilities.

Indigenous people with disability across the globe are at the frontline of the devastating effects of climate change.  In Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability have in recent years experienced the damaging impact of floods and bushfires.  The impact has been so devastating that it has resulted in whole communities having to move away from their traditional land.

One such example is the people, of a placed called Cabbage Tree Island, where recent floods destroyed all of the homes and the local school.  The land has now been deemed unsafe to return to.  This is devastating for community members including community members with disability.  As the land is a place of great cultural significance.

Stories like this are increasing throughout the Pacific region as well, where whole communities and small island nations are at imminent risk of being inundated with sea water.

In each and every instance Indigenous people with disability are amongst the most at risk in terms of being able to safely retreat from flood waters.  People with disability are often the most vulnerable to losing their lives during floods and bushfires.  If they have mobility disability they are at serious risk of not being able to evacuate, if they are hearing impaired for instance they may not have access to the information they need in a way in which they understand to know how to protect themselves.

This circumstance and many others of Indigenous people with disability, such as being overrepresented in prison populations or the fact that many Indigenous people with disability lack access to the fundamentals of life, of access to shelter and access to clean water is further critical evidence of why it is so vital that Indigenous people with disability have their own mechanism under the UNCRPD to be given a voice.

We again seek the support from the UNCRPRD Committee to elevate the voices of Indigenous people with disability from around the world.

Thank you