February 27, 2017 to March 24, 2017

From 27 February to 24 March 2017, the Human Rights Council held its 34th Regular Session, in Geneva.

This was a particular rich session to IDA and its members, as we succeed to widely advocate to the rights of persons with disabilities and facilitate participation of IDA members’ representative during the session.

During the session, several Permanente missions referred to and promoted language inclusive of persons with disabilities, including during the High Level Segment, interactive dialogues and to negotiated resolutions.

IDA warmly thanks our main core sponsors Mexico and New Zealand, as well as (by alphabetical order) the missions of Algeria, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Ecuador, Egypt, Fiji, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Israel, Namibia, Portugal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand, for their invaluable support and engagement.

Find below a HRC34 sessions' general overview for persons with disabilities. PDF iconA PDF version of the below information is available. Comprehensive report will be circulated soon. 

A collage of photographs taken during the HRC34, including images of the youth delegates.

African Disability Forum
Thanks to invitation from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Géronime Tokpo, President of the Federation of DPOs from Benin, representing the African Disability Forum, was one of the main speakers at the Annual debate on the rights of persons with disabilities, on 3 march 2017, on the article 5 of the CRPD on equality and non-discrimination.

Ms Tokpo was also speaker at the side event ‘Equality and non-discrimination: Reasonable Accommodation as a Tool for Inclusion’, organized by the OHCHR, ILO and IDA, sponsored by New Zealand, Finland, Mexico, Ecuador and Bulgaria.

She also observed the interactive dialogue with Ms Catalina Devandas, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, who presented her report on access to support by persons with disabilities.

Youth with disabilities
Thanks to support from UNFPA, we had the pleasure to have Fernanda Almeida, RIADIS, and Matthieu Chatelin, EDF, participating during the HRC March session.

Further than observing panels, interactive discussions, side events and negotiation of resolutions, they presented at the side event ‘Skills development and economic empowerment: Towards inclusive, sustainable development for all’, on 17 March, organised by the Permanent Mission of Austria to the UN in Geneva and IDA, with support of the Permanent Missions of Australia, Ecuador, Finland, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, Thailand and the Zero Project, an initiative of the Essl Foundation, in partnership with the World Future Council & the European Foundation Centre. See further information at www.internationaldisabilityalliance.org/events/youth-gva-2017

Persons with albinism – In partnership with ADD International
Thanks to the Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa, in cooperation with ADD International and IDA, Peter Ogik, advocate with albinism, from Uganda, and Polly Meeks, outgoing Deputy Director of Policy and Influencing at ADD International participated at the Council. During his mission, Peter had the opportunity to meet Special Procedure mandate holders, representatives of Permanent Missions in Geneva, UN agencies and NGOs.

In addition, he was invited and spoke at the side event ‘Equality and non-discrimination of persons with disabilities, with particular focus on persons with albinism’, organized by the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Mandate of the Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of Human Rights of Persons with Albinism, the OHCHR and IDA, and sponsored by ADD International, and the Permanent Missions of Sierra Leone, Portugal, Namibia, Canada and Fiji.

Fellowship IDA / OSF - Art 13 - Access to Justice
Since January this year, Alradi Abdalla, from Sudan, has been conducting a fellowship with the IDA, through support from the Open Society Foundation (OSF), with the aim to conduct a research on Article 13 of the CRPD on Access to Justice for Persons with Disabilities, providing good practices on guaranteeing participation in access to justice by persons with disabilities. This research will support IDA’s submission for the annual study of the OHCHR, which will be presented to the Human Rights Council 37th session, in March 2018.

During his stay in Geneva in March, Alradi participated in the entire HRC 34th session and of IDA’s Training of Training on the CRPD and SDGs. Further information on the fellowship at www.internationaldisabilityalliance.org/fellows-alradi

#MyVoiceMyCommunity – Down Syndrome International
DSI organized a series of events in Geneva to celebrate the World Down Syndrome Day ‘My Voice, My Community – Enabling people with Down syndrome to speak up, be heard and influence government policy and action, to be fully included in the community’; and brought a large number of self-advocates and their families to directly engage with the HRC and CRPD Committee members.

DSi organized a workshop with self-advocates and the side event ‘Enabling people with Down syndrome to speak up, be heard and influence government policy and action, to be fully included in the community’, co-organised by the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the UN in Geneva, II and IDA. Further information at www.internationaldisabilityalliance.org/wdsd-2017-gva and www.inclusive.org.br/arquivos/30157

In addition, DSI, II and IDA representatives and member of the CRPD Committee were invited by the Brazilian Ambassador to a reception at the Brazilian Residence. 

Resolutions
For the first time since 2010, the Human Rights Council did not present the Resolution on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as decided by the main sponsors to make it biennial. Therefore, IDA secretariat intensified advocacy to mainstream the rights of persons with disabilities across other relevant resolutions. From 41 resolutions negotiated during this session, 10 specifically included language on persons with disabilities, as following:

  • Right to food – The Resolution stresses the need to ensure that programmes deliver safe, sufficient, nutritious and culturally accepted food inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities;
  • Right to work – This year’s resolution focused women and, thanks to IDA’s advocacy and support from friend missions, it included specific mention on women with disabilities. The resolution expressed deeply concerns that persons with disabilities continue to face multiple and intersecting forms of inequality and discrimination, including on conditions of pay, work conditions and in education and training. It also stresses importance of lifelong learning opportunities and guidance for all, including women with disabilities; and welcomed inclusion of persons with disabilities in the target 8.5 of SDGs;
  • Rights of the child: protection of the rights of the child in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – This was by far the most difficult resolution to guarantee inclusion of language on persons with disabilities, despite significant support from states. In any case, we succeed to have inclusion of the CRPD and collection of data by disability. The Resolution also called for particular attention to children with disabilities in the SDGs implementation;
  • Birth registration – This resolution mentions the CRPD and stresses that persons with disabilities face barriers to be registered. It requested the OHCHR to prepare a study on best practices to ensure access to birth registration, including to children with disabilities, including in relation to the target 16.9 of the SDGs. The report would be submitted to the HRC 39th session, in September 2018;
  •  The right to privacy in the digital age – It mentions the CRPD and requests accessible information;
  • Question of the realization in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights – It welcomed the inclusion of empowerment of all women and girls in the 2030 Agenda, and requires the collection of quality, accessible, timely and reliable disaggregated data in its implementation. In addition, the resolution reaffirmed the human rights of all refugees and migrants, regardless of status
  • Human rights and unilateral coercive measures – Expressed grave concern of unilateral coercive measures on the realization of social and economic development, including for those with disabilities;
  • Human rights and the environment – Mentions the Paris Agreement and persons with disabilities;
  • Situation of human rights in South Sudan – Recalls specific needs of persons with disabilities.
  • Situation in the Syrian Arab Republic - Condemns violations and abuses of international human rights laws and all violations of international humanitarian law including against persons with disabilities.

For further information on IDA’s work related to the Human Rights Council, contact Tchaurea Fleury at tfleury [at] ida-secretariat.org.

Essential documents for the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council
Microsoft Office document iconProgramme of Work
Microsoft Office document iconInformative note (PDF iconPDF)

2 March side-event: Equality and non-discrimination of persons with disabilities, with particular focus on persons with albinism 
Microsoft Office document iconDownload concept note (PDF iconPDF
PDF iconDownload Flyer

3 March side-event: Equality and non-discrimination: Reasonable Accommodation as a Tool for Inclusion
Microsoft Office document iconDownload concept Note
PDF iconDownload flyer

Documents and key resources