Government nominates UNSW’s Rosemary Kayess for UN disability role

The Australian Government has nominated UNSW’s Rosemary Kayess for the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

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Rosemary Kayess. Photo: Supplied

The Australian Government has nominated UNSW Sydney’s Rosemary Kayess as a candidate to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) for for 2019-2022.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced the nomination on Sunday, International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Ms Kayess, Visiting Fellow at UNSW Law and Senior Research Fellow at UNSW’s Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC), is an internationally respected lawyer specialising in discrimination and human rights law.

She is currently Chair of the Australian Centre for Disability Law, and was an expert member of the Australian Government delegation to the United Nations negotiations for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Her research and advocacy includes access to justice, social inclusion, housing and employment.

A graduate of UNSW, Ms Kayess has been one of the driving forces behind UNSW’s Disability Innovation Institute, a ground-breaking initiative to help transform the lives of people with disability by harnessing research and innovation across all faculties and disciplines.

The institute will be a platform to combine disability studies with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine) and HASS (Humanities and Social Sciences) research to design accessible and inclusive working, living and learning environments, generate innovative technologies and create inclusive law, policy, services, markets and communities.

Ms Bishop said that during its term on the UN Human Rights Council, Australia would advocate strongly for the rights of persons with a disability.

“Australia is a global leader in disability-inclusive development and disability rights. We strongly support diverse and inclusive societies in which the dignity, rights and wellbeing of all people are protected,” she said.

The 18-member UNCRPD is an important human rights treaty body that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Members are elected for a four-year term, with a possibility of being re-elected once.

Elections for the UNCRPD will take place in New York on 12 June 2018.