A FORMER Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Sydney has been elected to the United Nations, as one of 12 experts in the first monitoring committee for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Professor Ron McCallum AO, an expert in industrial law, won the position from a large pool of candidates and will take up the role at the UN’s headquarters in New York. McCallum will be the only Australian currently serving on a UN treaty body.
Human Rights Commissioner Graeme Innes said McCallum’s appointment was a great honour for Australia. “It will further enhance the respect Australia has recently attracted on international human rights issues,” he said.
Australia ratified the convention in July this year to acknowledge the need for specific human rights for the 600 million people around the globe living with disability. “A distinguished Australian will now play a role in its implementation,” said Innes.
The Commissioner added that McCallum’s appointment will assist Australia’s progress towards a national disability strategy to allow Australians with disability to be have equal access to participate as full citizens, in all aspects of life.
McCallum was the first totally blind person to be appointed to a full professorship in any field, at any university in Australia and New Zealand. Still a law professor, McCallum is also deputy chair of the Board of Directors of Vision Australia, chair of Radio for the Print Handicapped and president of the Australian Labour Law Association. He was awarded an Order of Australia for services to academia and Australia’s disability sector in 2006.