The preamble to the Protocol V Plan of Action on Victim Assistance recognises the important role of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities where it states:
'Recalling the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which, inter alia, requires that States Parties to that Convention undertake to ensure and promote the full realisation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons with disabilities without discrimination of any kind on the basis of disability'.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) entered into force on 3 May 2008. The basic objective of the CRPD is to ‘promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity’. The eight guiding principles of the CRPD are: respect for the inherent dignity, individual autonomy and independence of persons with disabilities; non-discrimination; full and effective participation and inclusion in society; respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities; equality of opportunity, accessibility for persons with disabilities, equality between men and women with disabilities; and respect for children with disabilities.
Despite being entitled to the basic guarantees of universal human rights, persons with disabilities all too often experience high levels of discrimination. Essentially, the CRPD ensures that persons with disabilities enjoy the same human rights as everyone else.
In terms of its relevance to Protocol V, the CRPD provides a clear framework for both the work of affected and donor States in assisting victims. As explained by Professor Ron McCallum, Chair of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ‘the CRPD can provide guidance on a more systematic, sustainable, gender sensitive and human rights based approach by bringing victim assistance into the broader context of policy and planning for persons with disabilities more generally.’