- September 5, 2023

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Welcome to the weekly Newsletter to the 29th Session of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Committee meeting

Week 2, 21st to 25th August

The 29th Session of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Committee meeting will take place from Monday, August 14th to Friday, September 08th at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. You can follow all the sessions on the UN WebTV platform here.

The second week of the 29th session of the CRPD Committee

Last week was the second week of the 29th session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The CRPD Committee dedicated the public meetings of the week to four main activities:

  • Public meeting with the State of Hungary in the context of the follow-up to the CRPD Committee’s report under the inquiry procedure foreseen in the Optional Protocol to the CRPD
  • The review of Austria
  • The review of Israel
  • The review of Mauritania
On the sidelines of the session, IDA facilitated meetings of OPDs representatives from the countries under review with relevant staff of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Office of High Commissioner for Human (Human Rights and Disability Team).

Reviews of Austria, Israel and Mauritania 

Austria team at CRPD 29th Session
Austria: Inclusion remains a mirage for learners with disabilities
On Tuesday (afternoon) and Wednesday (morning), the CRPD Committee held constructive dialogue with the State delegation of Austria. The CRPD Committee raised concerns about the alarming retrogression on implementation of the Convention at the Federal and Länder (provincial) level. Among other issues, the Committee noted the persistent reliance on the medical model of disability, the minimal efforts in deinstitutionalization, the promotion of ‘special education’, and the continued existence of sheltered workshops. Regarding education, the Committee noted with concern the State’s failure to provide reasonable accommodation to learners with disabilities, the discontinued inclusive education models that had been piloted in some Länders, and the lack of accessibility. The Committee further sought more information on measures taken to implement a judicial decision requesting the government to ensure personal assistance at the Federal schools delivered in March 2023 in a lawsuit initiated by the Litigation Association (more information here). 

Israel team at the CRPD 29th Session

A first for Israel: Test on the interpretation and applicability of the Convention

On Wednesday (afternoon) and Thursday (morning), the CRPD Committee held a constructive dialogue with the State of Israel. Numerous issues were raised noting progress and calling for reforms. The Committee noted with concern that existing laws, including the recently enacted Welfare Services for Persons with a Disability Act, are not harmonized with the CRPD. The CRPD Committee also criticized the continued institutionalization of persons with disabilities, the use of restraints on persons with psychosocial disabilities, and the lack of an independent monitoring mechanism in line with Article 33(2) CRPD. On education, the Committee noted with concern the persistent investments in special schools, reminding the State that any reforms, including the operations of the Shapira Committee on review of ‘Special needs education’, should be informed by the Convention.  

Noting the interrelationship between the international humanitarian law and the Convention, and its applicability as a human rights treaty, the Committee raised concerns on the rights of persons with disabilities in the occupied territories of the State of Palestine. The Committee asked the delegation about measures taken to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in those areas to prevent attacks in hospitals and rehabilitation centers and provide access to emergency humanitarian assistance.

Online session with OPDs from Mauritania at the CRPD 29th Session

Mauritania: Strong need for legal harmonization with the CRPD

The last dialogue of the week was with the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, held on Thursday 24th (afternoon) and Friday 25th (morning). The CRPD Committee’s main concern related to legal harmonization given the outdated legislation in force in the country. The Committee targeted Ordinance No. 2006/043 on the promotion and protection of persons with disabilities, which includes an outdated definition of persons with disabilities, and even a sub-section on prevention of impairments (Articles 15 to 17), out of place in legislation focused on persons with disabilities and their rights. The second piece of legislation that was criticized was the 2018 Incrimination of Discrimination Act, which only refers explicitly to disability in connection with hate speech and employment, and does not include the concept of reasonable accommodation as part of non-discrimination. Focusing on a specific topic, the CRPD Committee tackled the Act on the person status, whose Articles 172 and 173 refer to persons with psychosocial disabilities as “insane” or “who lost their sense”, while legitimizing the deprivation of legal capacity. In connection with Article 12 CRPD, the Committee insisted on the need to repeal such legal provisions and adopt a supported decision-making scheme. 

Click for the videos of the public meetings related to Austria, Israel and Mauritania

Participation of organizations of persons with disabilities 
The International Disability Alliance continued to provide technical support to persons with disabilities from Austria, Israel, and Mauritania to effectively engage in-person and remotely with the CRPD Committee members.
Representatives of organizations of persons with disabilities took the opportunity to update the CRPD Committee on progress at the national level, the gaps, priorities, as well as, their concerns ahead of the State review.
To many, this was the first time they attended the session in person, and thus maximized their time during this crucial process to establish relationships with Committee members for future engagements and collaboration. 
Austria team during session of CRPD 29

“I really want to say thank you to IDA and European Disability Forum for the extremely well-organized and professional support. Your input into our work, the preparatory meetings, and the informal meetings that you organized with Committee members were more than helpful. We could see our opinion very much reflected in the questions of the Committee and we have the impression that our participation really had an impact. We wish for strong recommendations on inclusive education, accessible built environment, women and children with disabilities as well as support services for independent decision making”.
Christina Wurzinger, Behindertenrat

Israel representatives at the CRPD 29th Session

“This was the first time the CRPD Committee was reviewing Israel after a very long wait. We did a lot of preparatory work, especially in preparing shadow reports. Our participation in Geneva was the most exciting and meaningful part - to be at the UN, to meet with the Committee members for formal and informal meetings, and to see the dialogue with the State. We look forward to receiving the concluding observations which will be useful to us as we continue promoting the rights of people with disabilities. A deep thank you to IDA for their support with much patience, with all the preparations for the meetings with the committee and during this week in Geneva. Without this help, we would have been lost”. 
Idit Saragusti, Civil Society Forum of Israel  

Beyond the CRPD Committee: OPD engagement with other UN agencies 

OPD meeting with OHCHR

At the sidelines of this week's sessions, the IDA, in collaboration with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (Human Rights and Disability Unit) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), held information sharing and sensitization sessions.
During these sessions, OPDs had an opportunity to share information on their national situation highlighting progress and existing challenges, and their collaboration with UN agencies. On the other hand, OHCHR and ILO provided information on their roles and responsibilities, including thematic work disability-inclusive care and support systems, and inclusive employment. 

What’s next this second week of the CRPD Committee review? 


During this third week, the CRPD Committee will hold two private briefings with organizations of persons with disabilities and two constructive dialogues with States Parties. The public meetings for constructive dialogues are scheduled as follows: 


Tuesday, Aug 29th, 3 PM to 6 PM CET
Wednesday, Aug 30th, 10 AM to 1 PM CET



Wednesday 30th, 3 PM to 6 PM CET
Thursday 31st, 10 AM to 1 PM CET


All these are public sessions and will be webcast by UN Web TV where you can follow the sessions live. 

Follow us live on Twitter for the newest updates from the sessions @IDA_CRPD_Forum


For more information on the session, including reports by States and organizations of persons with disabilities, visit the CRPD Committee-specific website


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