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From human rights to individual lives

In this video, Therese Sands describes ways of working with human rights frameworks when advocating for people with disabilities.

In the above video, Therese Sands discusses the use of global human rights frameworks as a systemic advocacy tool to make local change, and gives some useful examples of this.

As a systemic advocate for People with Disability Australia (PWDA), Therese starts her advocacy with a local grassroots issue. She then engages at the global level, using UN treaties to support her complaints. The UN then feeds its recommendations back to the Australian government, which, over the long term, can create change in local policy and legislation.

Therese mentions two interesting Australian examples of this circle of systemic advocacy. Firstly, she refers to a case where two deaf people tried to access jury duty. In this case, they were able to use the UNCRPD to demonstrate that the Australian government was being discriminatory. Secondly, Therese describes Australia’s Senate Inquiry against Forced Sterilisation, which was the result of a series of recommendations from a range of UN treaty bodies.

Talking points

  • Using the internet or your own knowledge, consider how systemic advocacy happens in your local context. Is there a formal advocacy service or approach to advocacy, or do people rely on their own or their family’s advocacy skills?
  • Why is it important for systemic advocates to work at multiple levels — from the grassroots, to the international level, and back again?

Next, we step away from systemic advocacy and start to explore individual and self-advocacy in more detail.

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Disability and a Good Life: Working with Disability

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