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Commission to hear from culturally and linguistically diverse persons with disabilities

man in wheelchair at home

This week, the Disability Royal Commission is holding a public hearing about experiences of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation for persons with disabilities from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds.

Lived experience witnesses throughout the week will tell the Royal Commission about their experience of intersectional discrimination as people with disability who are also members of another minority group. People with Disability Australia (PWDA) will participate in a panel discussion on Wednesday, alongside representatives from National Ethnic Disabilities Alliance (NEDA) and Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA). The three peak bodies made a joint submission on this topic, highlighting various issues of systemic abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability from CaLD backgrounds, as well as sharing personal stories and testimonies from the communities they represent.

‘People with disability from CaLD backgrounds are more likely to experience inequality, discrimination, abuse, neglect and exploitation,’ said Dwayne Cranfield, the CEO of NEDA.

‘On top of all the barriers that past hearings of the Royal Commission have examined, we face language and cultural barriers to having our voices heard and our rights respected. Our three organisations appreciate the opportunity to continue advocating for our members and our community by participating in this hearing,’ said Mr Cranfield.

Giancarlo de Vera, Senior Manager Policy at PWDA, said ‘Legislation and policy frameworks that aim to prevent violence and advance human rights often fail to address intersectional discrimination. The ableism that affects the whole disability community is compounded by structural and interpersonal racism, as well as other factors relating to language, culture, migration history and experience, visa status, ethnicity and religion. We hope to see meaningful change for our communities coming out of the Royal Commission’s recommendations.’

FECCA CEO Mohammad Al-Khafaji said ‘The Royal Commission has seen that Australia is falling far short of its international human rights obligations when it comes to people with disability, and those of us from CaLD backgrounds face extra barriers to equality. It’s good to see these intersectional experiences in the spotlight this week.’

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