DLA Piper pro bono support for disability report
29 Aug 2012
DLA Piper has provided pro bono support to a coalition of leading disability, human rights and community organisations to prepare a landmark report on the lived experience of people with disability in Australia, launched today, on the eve of the Paralympic Games.
For the first time ever, the United Nations is reviewing Australia's compliance with its Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Disability Rights Now report follows three years of community consultation and research and makes 130 recommendations to the United Nations Disability Committee.
A team from DLA Piper provided pro bono support over the three year period, including facilitating consultations in each State and Territory in Australia as well as assistance drafting the report.
Lesley Hall from the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations said: "While much progress has been made over the last 30 years, Australians with disability remain significantly disadvantaged on nearly every socio-economic indicator. This report card on the difficulties faced daily by people with disability shows how far we still need to come to achieve genuine equality for all Australians."
"We're grateful for the pro bono support from DLA Piper Australia in providing a team to draft the report and assist with facilitating consultations across Australia."
Nicolas Patrick, Head of Pro Bono & Corporate Responsibility, International at DLA Piper said: "People with disabilities aren't 'other people', they are our family, our friends and ourselves. At some point in our lives many of us will experience what it is like to live with disability. As our population ages, the proportion of the community living with disability will increase. It is essential that we respond to this challenge, to ensure that people with disability can fully participate in and contribute to the community. Australia has the potential to be a world leader in relation to this challenge. This report provides a roadmap to better outcomes, and DLA Piper has been privileged to be involved in its preparation."
The Disability Rights Now report identifies a number of human rights issues for people with a disability in Australia, including the:
- lack of legislative protection of human rights;
- limitations of equality and non-discrimination laws;
- inability to live independently and be included in the community;
- lack of protection from exploitation, violence and abuse;
- difficulties accessing education and employment;
- unavailability of health services and support;
- inadequate standard of living and high rates of poverty;
- disproportionate impacts on particular groups, such as women and children with disability; and
- lack of access to justice and disproportionately high rates of contact with the criminal justice system.
Lesley Hall said: "This report will provide the UN Disability Committee with a complete picture of what life is really like in Australia for people with disability and will assist the Committee to make concrete and practical recommendations to the Australian Government on what steps need to be taken to ensure the basic rights of people with disability."
The United Nations Disability Committee will undertake its review of Australia in Geneva in 2013.