Marking 10 Years of ADDC and International Day of People with Disability
Parliamentarians and representatives of the Australia disability and aid and development sectors gathered this morning at Parliament House, Canberra to celebrate 10 years of ADDC and mark International Day of People with Disability. The event focused on celebrating a decade of remarkable advancements in disability-inclusive development and called on the Australian Government to continue their leadership globally to ensure all people with disabilities can benefit from aid investments.
The Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator the Hon Fierravanti-Wells (presenting in photo above) opened the proceedings highlighting disability inclusion as a cross-cutting issue that is fundamental for the broader success of Australian aid. The Minister emphasis the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) does not represent abstract objectives and that disability rights are prerequisites for achieving other human rights and development outcomes.
Australia’s former Minister for International Development, Bob McMullan, spoke of the achievements of the past decade in the advance of disability-inclusive development, citing establishing Australia’s disability inclusion strategy, Development for All: Towards a disability-inclusive Australian aid program 2009-2014, as a highlight of his career. Mr McMullan stated, ‘This is not just because of the people and countries it has helped, but because we can say we changed the global debate.’ He continued, ‘If you grouped all people with disability into one country, it would be the most disadvantaged country in the world and we would give it our utmost attention, but globally, we don’t.’ He further emphasized there is much more work that needs to be done to ensure the benefits of aid reach all people with disabilities.
Mrs Maulani Rotinsulu (presenting above), a leading Indonesian disability rights advocate and chairperson of the Indonesian Association of Women with Disabilities spoke of the need to ensure all our efforts remember and include women and girls with disabilities. Women and girls with disabilities can face multiple levels of discrimination that catch them in a cycle of poverty. Mrs Rotinsulu remarked women and girls with disability in Indonesia lack a voice in many forums and we all need to do better to ensure all are included in the benefits of aid programs.
‘We all drew a breath when we heard that the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is made up of 17 men and one woman’, said Senator Claire Moore during her speech at the event. ADDC calls on the Australian Government to continue its global leadership to support more women with disabilities take up leadership roles, from the community level up to the international stage in committees such as that of the CRPD to see greater gender equity.
Senator Steele-John, the recently sworn-in Greens Senator for Western Australia, spoke sharing as a person with disability: ‘I have been struck by not the divergence, but the convergence of my own experience and that of people with disability globally. This speaks to a shared experience of exclusion and even violence.’
Mr Paul Deany, as a founding member of ADDC and a current Executive Committee member, shared his involvement with the Consortium over the past decade and the many achievements that have been reached.