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UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Australia (CRPD 15-10-2019)
The Committee considered the combined second and third periodic reports of Australia (CRPD/C/AUS/2-3) at its 499th and 500th meetings (see CRPD/C/SR.499 and 500), held on 12 and 13 September 2019. It adopted the present concluding observations at its 511th meeting, held on 20 September 2019.
B. Specific rights (arts. 5–30)
Awareness-raising (art. 8)
- The Committee is concerned about the lack of concerted efforts at all levels and about the low level of participation of persons with disabilities, particularly women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons, persons with disabilities from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer persons with disabilities, through their representative organizations, to promote awareness-raising efforts about disability, including campaigns promoting a positive image and awareness of the contribution of persons with disabilities, in line with the Convention.
- The Committee recommends that the State party develop a national government strategy to promote a positive image and awareness of the rights of all persons with disabilities and that it ensure the consultation and participation of representative organizations of persons with disabilities, particularly women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons, persons with disabilities from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer persons with disabilities, in the development and delivery of all awareness-raising activities.
Protecting the integrity of the person (art. 17)
- The Committee is seriously concerned about:
(a) The ongoing practice of forced sterilization, forced abortion and forced contraception among persons with disabilities, particularly women and girls, which remains legal;
(b) The unregulated use of involuntary surgery on infants and children born with variations in sex characteristics and of other intrusive and irreversible medical interventions without the free and informed consent of those undergoing such interventions or without evidence of the need to carry them out.
- The Committee urges the State party to:
(a) Review and amend laws, including the section of the Family Law Rules 2004 relating to applications for medical procedures, in line with the Convention and adopt uniform legislation prohibiting, in the absence of free and informed consent, the sterilization of adults and children, the administration of contraception and the imposition of abortion procedures on women and girls with disabilities;
(b) Adopt clear legislative provisions that explicitly prohibit the performance of unnecessary, invasive and irreversible medical interventions, including surgical, hormonal or other medical procedures on intersex children before they reach the legal age of consent; also provide adequate counselling and support for the families of intersex children and redress to intersex persons having undergone such medical procedures;
(c) Prohibit the use of non-consensual electroconvulsive therapy on the basis of any form of impairment.
Respect for home and the family (art. 23)
- The Committee is concerned about:
(a) The fact that parents with disabilities are more likely than other parents to have their child removed from their care, often on the basis of disability, and about the lack of support provided to parents with disabilities in the exercise of parental responsibilities;
(b) The reported discrimination suffered, in particular by women with disabilities and by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer persons with disabilities, in accessing assisted reproductive technologies.
- The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Ensure that no child is separated from his or her parents because of the disability of either the child or one or both of the parents;
(b) Adopt comprehensive and gender- and culturally-specific parenting and family support measures for parents with disabilities;
(c) Ensure that women with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer persons with disabilities have equal access to assisted reproductive technologies.