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COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES CLOSES NINETEENTH SESSION IN GENEVA

Adopts Concluding Observations and Recommendations on Reports of Haiti, Nepal, Oman, Sudan, Slovenia, Seychelles and Russia
9 March 2018

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities this afternoon concluded its nineteenth session, during which it reviewed the initial reports of Haiti, Nepal, Oman, Sudan, Slovenia, Seychelles and Russia on the implementation of the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; adopted a General Comment on the right to equality and non-discrimination; and endorsed a draft General Comment on the participation of persons with disabilities in the implementation of the Convention.

The Secretary of the Committee read out the decisions adopted by the Committee during the session, noting that the Committee had adopted concluding observations in relation to the initial reports of Haiti, Nepal, Oman, Seychelles, Slovenia, Sudan and Russia, as well as lists of issues under the simplified reporting procedure in relation to Costa Rica, New Zealand, Paraguay and the Republic of Korea.  In its consideration of the communications and inquiry procedures pursuant to articles 6 and 7 of the Optional Protocol, the Committee found violations in two communications considered.

The Committee adopted General Comment N°6 on article 5 of the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities to equality and non-discrimination, and endorsed a draft General Comment on articles 4.3 and 33.3 of the Convention on the participation of persons with disabilities in the implementation of the Convention and decided to make a call for submission to all interested stakeholders, with the deadline on 15 May 2018.  The Committee also adopted lists of issues under the simplified reporting procedure for Azerbaijan, Austria, Germany, Mongolia and Sweden, and a list of issues regarding the initial report of Iraq.  

Furthermore, the Committee adopted a Statement on the New Urban Agenda, and a Statement on the International Day of Sign Language.  Together with the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, the Committee adopted a joint statement on monitoring frameworks, in the context of article 19 of the Convention on the full participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations with the independent monitoring mechanisms at the national level. 

The Committee decided to amend its methods of work to clarify the matter of confidentiality incumbent on a third party invited by the Committee to participate in private meetings.  While it adopted a report on follow-up activities in relation to its concluding observations, the Committee also decided to put those activities on hold and identify in concluding observations priority recommendations to be implemented by States parties.

The Committee then adopted the report on its nineteenth session.

A representative of the International Disability Alliance congratulated the Committee on a successful session and on conveying the concerns by representative organizations of persons with disabilities to States parties during interactive dialogues, and hoped that those would make part of the Committee’s concluding observations.  The General Comment N°6 provided useful guidance on how to interpret equality, particularly by introducing the innovative concept of inclusive equality which focused on equality of results.  Given the multiple and intersectional forms of discrimination, it was regrettable that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons were not sufficiently mentioned.  The International Disability Alliance reiterated the call to States parties to, in consultation with representative organizations of persons with disabilities, consider women as candidates for the membership in the Committee in order to increase the gender balance.  The announcement of the increased meeting time starting from the twentieth session was welcomed, and the speaker hoped that this would be accompanied by adequate budgetary resources to ensure the accessibility of the session and the work of the Committee.

A representative of the Colombian Coalition for the Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities welcomed the adoption of the General Comment N°6 on the right of persons with disabilities to equality and non-discrimination, and raised concern that it did not adequately address intersectional and multiple discrimination of persons with disabilities based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  In such a case, there must be insistence for the States to amend the laws and end practices that denied the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons with disabilities.  The failure to expressly include discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity left lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons with disabilities without protection in exercising their rights, particularly their sexual rights.  

A speaker delivered a joint statement on behalf of four non-governmental organizations, including Sexual Rights Initiative, Centre for Reproductive Rights, and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, and highlighted the importance of recognizing the impact of the violation of the sexual and reproductive rights of persons with disabilities, particularly women and girls with disabilities, as a violation of States’ obligations under the Convention.  The speaker encouraged the Committee to continue to recognize the violations of the Convention on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, for example in the context of conversion therapies in some countries, or forced institutionalization as a punishment for different sexual orientation and gender identity.  The Committee therefore had a unique opportunity to intervene in favour of groups that faced structural exclusion in society.

Theresia Degener, Committee Chairperson, in her concluding remarks, noted with satisfaction the Committee’s achievements during the session, which included dialogues with seven States parties and the adoption of four lists of issues.  The Committee adopted a General Comment on equality and non-discrimination and endorsed another.  The Chair invited all interested stakeholders to transmit their submissions by 15 May 2018.

The Committee’s public meetings, with closed captioning and International Sign Language, are webcast at http://webtv.un.org/.


The Committee will hold its twentieth session from 27 August to 21 September 2018, during which it will examine the reports of Bulgaria, Poland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Philippines, South Africa and Algeria.


For use of the information media; not an official record

CRPD18/010E



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