CRPD Considers 7 States’ Disability Rights Records

The fifth review session on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Credit: UN Photo

The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD Committee) is holding its 13th session from March 25 to April 17 in Geneva, Switzerland to review the State reports of Cook Islands, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Germany, Mongolia, and Turkmenistan. During the session, representatives from each State will engage in a dialogue with Committee members based on each State party’s report as well as responses to the list of issues that the Committee has asked each State to address in relation to its implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The Committee will also take into account any additional reports from civil society organizations and national human rights institutions. Following the review, the Committee will issue concluding observations, which consist of concerns and recommendations with respect to each State’s implementation of the Convention.  Archived webcasts of the 13th session can be viewed on the UN Treaty Body Webcast.

The European Union (EU) has also submitted a State report to the Committee summarizing the measures it has taken to implement the provisions of the CRPD among its Member States, who are all States parties to the Convention. Multiple civil society organizations have submitted reports to the Committee concerning the EU’s implementation of the CRPD.

The session’s agenda also includes the election of Committee officers and a discussion of how to strengthen partnerships among various agencies and organizations that are focused on disability rights. The Committee will hold a day of general discussion on the right to education, and will review the progress of working groups that were established to create general comments, which are interpretations of treaty provisions that provide more detailed explanations of particular CRPD rights or address broader issues or themes. The Committee will also hear individual complaints alleging violations of the Convention, which were submitted against States parties under the Optional Protocol to the CRPD. The agenda, State reports, list of issues, civil society reports, and other relevant documents are available on the webpage for the Committee’s 13th Session.

Cook Islands

The Committee requested information from the Cook Islands regarding the measures it has taken to: address violence against women and children with disabilities; increase the accessibility of public buildings and urban areas; facilitate inclusive education; and increase access to sexual and reproductive health services. The Committee asked the State what it has done to ensure that persons with disabilities who are victims of violence are provided with appropriate and professional services. The Committee also requested statistics concerning the number of forced sterilization procedures performed on women and girls with disabilities. See Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, List of issues in relation to the initial report of the Cook Islands, UN Doc. CRPD/C/COK/Q/1, 30 October 2014.

Three civil society organizations, Cook Islands National Disability Council, Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, and Disability Council International, have submitted reports to the Committee concerning the Cook Islands’ implementation of the CRPD.

Croatia

The CRPD Committee requested information concerning the steps Croatia has taken to: protect the rights of women with disabilities, children with disabilities, and Roma people with disabilities; implement inclusive education throughout Croatia, especially in rural areas; and establish an independent monitoring mechanism so that individuals with disabilities may participate in monitoring the CRPD’s implementation. The Committee asked Croatia to clarify an excerpt of its report which suggested that people with disabilities may be confined without their consent. See Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, List of issues in relation to the initial report of Croatia, UN Doc. CRPD/C/HRV/Q/1, 30 October 2014.

Multiple civil society organizations and the Disability Ombudswoman of Croatia have submitted reports to the Committee concerning Croatia’s implementation of the CRPD.

Czech Republic

With regard to the Czech Republic, the Committee asked the State to provide information on legal remedies that are available to persons with disabilities who have faced discrimination and to describe the progress made toward modifying or constructing buildings so that they are accessible to persons with disabilities. The Committee asked the State to indicate if public announcements that warn individuals of emergencies are available in sign language and requested information concerning the steps the Czech Republic has taken to: abolish the use of cage beds, seclusion rooms, and restraints; prevent forced sterilization; and increase access to health care and education. See Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, List of issues in relation to the initial report of the Czech Republic, UN Doc. CRPD/C/CZE/Q/1, 28 October 2014.

Multiple civil society organizations have submitted reports to the Committee regarding the Czech Republic’s implementation of the CRPD.

Dominican Republic

Regarding the Dominican Republic, the CRPD Committee requested information concerning the steps taken to: eliminate offensive language used to refer to individuals with disabilities in domestic legislation; prevent forced institutionalization, sterilization, and medical treatment; and implement safeguards to ensure that medical providers do not conduct life-threatening experiments on children with disabilities. The Committee asked the State to describe the measures in place to protect women and children with disabilities, and to describe the recourse available to individuals with disabilities who face discrimination. See Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, List of issues in relation to the initial report of the Dominican Republic, UN Doc. CRPD/C/DOM/Q/1, 28 October 2014.

Many civil society organizations submitted reports to the Committee regarding the Dominican Republic’s implementation of the CRPD.

Germany

The Committee requested statistics from Germany concerning: the number of forced sterilizations and involuntary medical treatments performed on people with disabilities; the number of surgical procedures conducted on intersexual children without their consent; and the rate of inclusion of children with disabilities within the education system. The Committee asked Germany to explain how a provision of its domestic law that allows children with disabilities to be subjects of scientific experiments without their consent is in accordance with the Convention, and to describe the changes necessary to ensure that persons with disabilities can vote. See Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, List of issues in relation to the initial report of Germany, UN Doc. CRPD/C/DEU/Q/1, 12 May 2014.

Several civil society organizations and the German Institute for Human Rights, which is the national human rights institution (NHRI) in Germany, have submitted reports for the Committee’s consideration.

Mongolia

The Committee requested information from Mongolia concerning what measures have been adopted to ensure that women and children with disabilities are able to express their views concerning policies that affect them, and to ensure access to inclusive education and health care services. The Committee also asked Mongolia to provide statistics concerning: the number of persons with disabilities in prison and detention centers; the number of cases of abuse, violence, and discrimination against women and children with disabilities; and the number of persons with disabilities who are institutionalized. The Committee requested that Mongolia indicate whether it intends to repeal its domestic law forbidding persons with certain disabilities from marrying. See Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, List of issues in relation to the initial report of Mongolia, UN Doc. CRPD/C/MNG/Q/1, 30 October 2014.

Multiple civil society organizations have submitted reports to the Committee concerning Mongolia’s implementation of the CRPD.

Turkmenistan

With regard to Turkmenistan, the Committee requested information on how the State is guaranteeing the right of children with disabilities to live with their families, rather than in institutions. The Committee asked Turkmenistan to explain the measures it has taken to: ensure that persons with disabilities are providing free and informed consent to medical procedures and treatment; implement inclusive education; and assure that sign-language interpreters are available and that they provide high quality interpretation during judicial proceedings to ensure that access to justice is guaranteed.  See Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, List of issues in relation to the initial report of Turkmenistan, UN Doc. CRPD/C/TKM/Q/1, 30 October 2014.

Disability Council International has submitted a report to the Committee concerning Turkmenistan’s implementation of the CRPD.

Additional Information

To learn more about the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.