Just a few months after ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Australian Government has initiated a consultation on the Optional Protocol to the CRPD. In October, the HRLRC made a Submission to the National Interest Analysis in support of Australia's ratification of the Optional Protocol. The Optional Protocol establishes two procedures designed to supplement the CRPD and strengthen and promote its implementation. The communication procedure allows individuals or groups to submit a communication to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities alleging violations of the substantive rights protected under the CRPD. The inquiry procedure allows the Committee to initiate inquiries into reliable information indicating grave or systematic violations of the CRPD by a State Party.
The HRLRC Considers that ratification of the Optional Protocol would:
- complement and strengthen existing domestic mechanisms designed to promote disability rights;
- foster and promote analysis and change;
- strengthen Australia's role within the international community;
- be consistent with the Australian Government's commitment to constructive engagement with the UN human rights system and to the harmonisation of domestic laws, policies and practices with international human rights standards; and
- enhance public awareness and understanding of the rights of people living with disabilities.
The HRLRC's submission also highlighted the symbolic significance of Australia's ratification of the Optional Protocol and the important role ratification would play in mainstreaming the human rights of people living with disability.