Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein

statement 178

Human Rights Council 16th Session

Interactive Panel Dialogue on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

4 March 2011

Australia thanks the Panel for highlighting the importance of international cooperation in realising the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We take our cooperation and assistance obligations under the Convention very seriously as demonstrated by Australia’s strategy Development for All: Towards a disability inclusive Australian aid program 2009-2014. This strategy is changing the way our aid program is designed and delivered. The Convention is being used as both a development and programming tool for informing our work.


Australia supports a ‘twin-track’ approach to promoting disability rights- that is mainstreaming and targeted disability-specific initiatives. Australia takes a participatory approach that actively includes persons with disabilities in decision making. This is a work in progress. We would be interested in learning from the Panel any best practice examples of where a twin-track approach has been successfully implemented to date.


Australia’s disability rights and development work is guided by an external reference group of international experts - the majority of whom have a disability themselves. The reference group provides valuable strategic guidance, expertise and experience on implementing the Convention. The Group holds Government accountable to our disability strategy commitments and enhances and facilitates our international cooperation efforts. It has exposed Government to different ways of thinking about and programming activities that promote the rights of persons with disabilities. We are interested to hear from the panel about other mechanisms being used. We would welcome advice from the panel on how different mechanisms could best be aligned to further enhance international cooperation on the Convention.

Research and knowledge

Australia works closely with our international partners to support research and analysis driven by persons with disabilities themselves. We are particularly interested to learn from Panel members how the international community might better work together to strengthen existing disabilities datasets in developing countries.

Humanitarian action

Australia’s international cooperation efforts include a focus on disability-inclusive humanitarian assistance and protection. We currently fund the ICRC Special Fund for the Disabled and continue to look for opportunities to promote the integration of people with disabilities into the global humanitarian response community. Does the Panel have any suggestions on how Australia could better assist in this regard?