On Saturday, March 28, 2015, Tchaurea Fleury of the International Disability Alliance, Geneva, wrote in the IDA CRPD Forum:
Geneva, 27 March 2015 – The Human Rights Council approved a landmark Resolution on the right of persons with disabilities to live independently and be included in the community on an equal basis with others.
In a joint voice along with over 50 co-sponsors, Mexico introduced the proposal Resolution on the right of persons with disabilities to live independently and be included in the community on an equal basis with others to the Human Rights Council recalling that persons with disabilities represent 15% of the world population, and stressing that one of main existing challenges is to combat discrimination faced by persons with disabilities, which often deliberately brings them to exclusion and segregation.
The Resolution – approved last Thursday without vote by the Human Rights Council – recalls the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol and stresses the need for persons with disabilities to be guaranteed the full enjoyment of their rights and freedoms without discrimination.
Legal capacity or forced institutionalization
Following the spirit and letter of the CRPD, the Resolution emphasises the deep concern expressed by UN States to the negative impact of laws or practices on the rights of persons with disabilities that deprive them of their legal capacity or allow for their forced institutionalization on the basis of a real or perceived disability.
In that sense, the Resolution urges States parties to, inter alia, (a) guarantee equal recognition before the law of persons with disabilities and ensure that they have the opportunity to exercise control over their lives on an equal basis with others; (b) prevent isolation or segregation, and take further measures towards their deinstitutionalization; and (c) provide persons with disabilities with access to a range of support services that are responsive to their individual choices, wishes and needs, including for their deinstitutionalization.
In addition, the Resolution emphasises that access to physical environment, transportation, information and communications, as well as other services and facilities provided to public, are a key to independent, autonomous living and equal participation in society by persons with disabilities.
Women and girls with disabilities
The UN States parties expressed deep concerns that girls and women of all ages with disabilities are subject to multiple, aggravated or intersecting forms of discrimination, with particular risk of segregation, violence and abuse. To respond to this, the Council urges States to take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women and girls with disabilities and to promote gender equality, in order to ensure the equal enjoyment of their rights, in particular to live independently and be fully included and participate in the community on an equal basis with others.
The Council recognizes the importance of international cooperation and its promotion in support of national efforts to promote the rights of persons with disabilities, including the right to live independently and be included in the community on an equal basis with others without discrimination, and in this regard encourages the mobilization of public and private resources on a sustainable basis to mainstream disability in development and underlines the need to promote and strengthen international cooperation at all levels, the exchange of good practices and partnerships for disability-inclusive development. Furthermore, the Council encourages States to engage in international cooperation efforts aimed at enhancing their national capacities to fully guarantee the right of persons with disabilities to live independently and be included in the community on an equal basis with others, and invites the Office of the High Commissioner and relevant United Nations agencies to consider ways to foster international cooperation activities in this regard.
The Council also calls upon States to ensure that all international cooperation is inclusive of persons with disabilities and does not contribute to creating new barriers for them.
Following the efforts of other international bodies, the Council calls upon States to consider becoming party to the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled.
Mainstream disability within the Council’s agenda
The Resolution urges States to consider further integrating and mainstreaming the perspective and rights of persons with disabilities into the work of the Human Rights Council and, for that, encourages more involvement and participation of representative organizations of persons with disabilities, civil society, national monitoring bodies and human rights institutions.
- The next annual interactive debate on the rights of persons with disabilities will be held on March 2016, and will be focused on article 11 of the CRPD, on situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies with provision of international sign interpretation and captioning.
- The Resolution on the rights of persons with disabilities will be biennial, starting from 2017; which means that this resolution will be presented by New Zealand and Mexico every two years, and no more in an annual basis. New Zealand explained in the introduction of the Resolution that this decision aims to minimise duplication with the UN Third Committee and to strengthen the effectiveness and efficiency of the Council’s work.
Eight States expressed in a joint statement delivered by Brazil that, while they support the rationalization of the work of the Council, including the possibility of reducing the frequency of certain resolutions, they believe that such actions should be the result of a comprehensive exercise, where all countries and relevant stakeholders have the opportunity to participate and contribute to the deliberations. Further, they requested to be included in the record that they reserve their rights to introduce such a resolution at any given time.
We expect that the final text of the Resolution will be published early next week and it will be circulated to this list. Further, we are preparing a detailed report disability-related on the 28th Human Rights Council session, which will also be circulated soon.