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Media Release by The Hon Bill Shorten MP

United Nations Disabilities Committee Chair

Joint Media Release with:

  • Hon Robert McClelland MP, Attorney-General
  • Hon Stephen Smith MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs

The Australian Government today congratulated Professor Ron McCallum AO on his election as the 2010 Chair of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Professor McCallum is a leading Australian legal academic and was elected as a representative to the Disabilities Committee in November last year, the only Australian currently on a United Nations treaty body.

In March, Professor McCallum was also appointed as the inaugural General Rapporteur with responsibility for reporting to the UN General Assembly on the recommendations and activities of the Committee.

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has three principal functions, including:

  • reviewing the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
  • considering complaints under the Optional Protocol to the Convention; and
  • inquiring into grave and systematic violations of the Convention.

Professor McCallum’s appointment complements Australia’s commitment to upholding and safeguarding the rights of people with disabilities and to ensuring that they are treated equitably.

The appointment also underlines the Government’s commitment to engage positively on the international stage.

Australia was one of the first Western countries to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Government also acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention which enables the Committee to receive and investigate complaints after all domestic remedies have been exhausted.

The Government is confident that Professor McCallum will continue to make a valuable and effective contribution in this important new role.