UN Special Rapporteur launches report on Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at event in Dublin

  • Direct and full participation of people with disabilities in new advisory committee
  • Independent monitoring of Convention by Irish Human and Equality Rights Commission recommended
  • Commission urges new Government to enact legislation for Convention ratification by year-end

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Catalina Devandas Aguilar, will today (Monday 9th May) launch a new report Article 33: Establishing a Monitoring Framework for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

On the invitation of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, the UN Special Rapporteur will launch the evaluation report by the National University of Ireland Galway, Centre for Disability Law and Policy. This research was commissioned by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

Ireland signed the Convention in 2007, and is one of two EU member states, along with Finland, who have not yet ratified the Convention. The former Government published a Roadmap to Ratification in October 2015 outlining legislation which it aimed to enact before the end of 2016.

Under Article 33 of the Convention, an independent monitoring framework must be established to scrutinise the State’s progress in implementing the Convention’s obligations to protect, respect and uphold the human rights of persons with disabilities.

The report’s key recommendation is that people with disabilities and their organisations be involved in all aspects of the monitoring process. It also recommends that the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission be jointly designated as the independent monitoring mechanism with an advisory committee composed of a diverse group of persons with lived experience of disability.

Chief Commissioner Emily Logan said: “The aim to realise the commitments set out in the former Government’s Roadmap to Ratification by year end is achievable provided there is political will. There is now an opportunity for cooperation across the Houses of the Oireachtas to enact legislation that would reflect the values of rights and equality publicly invoked in this year of State commemorations.”

“The Convention places the full and direct participation of people with disabilities at the centre of monitoring process. It represents a step change away from the paternalistic, charitable and medical models to an emancipatory approach based on independence, dignity and self-advocacy.”

She continued: “The Convention recognises people with disabilities as active participants in their own decisions, and equal partners in State action on disability.”

The report by NUI Galway, renowned for their expertise in disability law and policy, is a significant contribution to the ratification process in evaluating models of best practice from six jurisdictions in Germany, the UK, Spain, Sweden, Malta and New Zealand.

In the Irish context, it finds that no single umbrella disabled persons organisation (DPO) currently exists that represents the full diversity of all people with disabilities, unlike certain other countries, such as New Zealand. For this reason, it recommends that Ireland adopt a similar approach to Malta, where, as part of a transparent appointment process, a call for representatives to the monitoring advisory committee was made directly to people with disabilities, as well as across all DPOs and the broader public.

This has allowed new voices and perspectives to emerge, and ensure a broad representation across the diversity of the disability community.  In addition to creating an advisory committee of people with disabilities, it recommends further mechanisms for the engagement of existing DPOs, as well as individuals with disabilities, and of broader civil society to ensure compliance with best international practice in implementing Article 33.

Publications

The report is available to download here: http://www.ihrec.ie/publications/list/establishing-a-monitoring-framework-in-ireland-for-1/

Article 33 of the UN CRPD is explained in this Plain English document: http://www.ihrec.ie/publications/list/united-nations-convention-on-the-rights-of-persons/

An Easy to read summary of the report is available here: http://www.ihrec.ie/publications/list/easy-to-read-summary-establishing-a-monitoring-fra/

Ends 

For further information please contact Niamh Connolly on IHREC 01 8589601/087 4399022. Twitter: follow us @_ihrec

Notes to Editors:

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission was established under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Act 2014 (the “2014 Act”) on 1 November 2014. The 2014 Act guaranteed the Commission’s institutional independence as a body comprising fifteen independent officers of the State accounting directly to the Houses of the Oireachtas and appointed by President Michael D Higgins. This independence was recognised by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions in November 2015 when it awarded the Commission A-status accreditation.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: There are 163 parties to the UN Convention which was agreed in December 2006 and entered into force in May 2008. Ireland signed the Convention in 2007, and is one of three EU member states that have not yet ratified the Convention. The Convention is based on the principle that persons with disabilities must be equal partners, primary stakeholders and full participants in State decisions affecting their lives.

Article 33 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires the establishment of a national independent monitoring framework in Ireland to promote, protect and monitor’ the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD, or the Convention).

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (Ihrec) as an ‘A’ status national human rights institution in compliance with Paris Principles is identified as playing an important role in monitoring the Convention. This is in line with the Government’s Roadmap to Ratification published in October 2015.

The Roadmap to Ratification October 2015 published by the Minister for Justice and Equality available here outlined a number of outstanding legislative changes required to enable ratification of the UNCRPD. Since publication of the Roadmap to Ratification, the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 has been enacted, though it has not yet been commenced. An Equality/Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which proposes to introduce various miscellaneous legislative reforms, awaits publication. The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015 was not completed in Dáil Éireann before the General Election. A number of other amendments highlighted in the Roadmap, for example to the Companies Act 2014 and to the Juries Act 1976, remain outstanding. The Mental Health (Amendment) Act 2015 which reforms the law on electro-convulsive therapy came into effect in February 2016.

 

Article 33: Establishing a Monitoring Framework for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: The report’s authors are Dr Eilionóir Flynn and Meredith Raley at Centre for Disability Law and Policy in National University of Ireland Galway. The research was commissioned by IHRECand the authors were assisted by an advisory group of persons with disabilities and their representatives in keeping with the spirit of the Convention: the National Platform of Self Advocates (representing people with intellectual disabilities), Recovery Experts by Experience (representing people with experience of mental health issues), the National Council for the Blind of Ireland, the Irish Deaf Society and the Disability Federation of Ireland.

 

Disabled persons organisation (DPO): This is defined by the UN Convention as an organisation ‘comprising a majority of persons with disabilities – at least half their membership – and government, led and directed by persons with disabilities’

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