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Friday, 31 July 2009

Australia signs UN protocol giving right of appeal on migration

Disabled win right of appeal

Cynthia Banham. Diplomatic Correspondent
Sydney Morning Herald, July 30, 2009

Australia has cleared the way for people to take complaints about its disability discrimination policies to the United Nations – including prospective migrants with disabled children.

The Rudd Government will announce today that a year after signing the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, it intends to accede to the Optional Protocol which establishes a complaints mechanism for breaches of the treaty.

People will only be able to take their complaints to the UN Disabilities Committee if they have exhausted all avenues of redress available in Australia.

The Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, will say in a speech today that ‘‘accession to the protocol … not only permits international scrutiny of our laws and practices, but also demonstrates our commitment to re-engage with the international community and to provide leadership in our region."

One potential area where Australia could come under scrutiny is its migration laws, which are exempt from its disability discrimination laws.

Article 18 of the UN Convention recognises the rights of people with disabilities to "liberty of movement, to freedom to choose their residence and to a nationality".

The Age (Melbourne) published a similar but longer article by the same reporter.

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