- April 4, 2023

On Friday 24th March, at 5.30 pm Geneva time, the CRPD Committee closed its 28th session, which consisted of three very charged weeks of work, announcing, and highlighting the main developments. During the session, the CRPD Committee performed the following tasks among others: 

  • Reviewed six countries and adopted Concluding Observations on them (see below)
  • Hold a Day of General Discussion on Article 11 CRPD (Situations of Risk and Humanitarian Emergencies), consisting of three regional consultations online.
  • Adopted three views on three individual communications under the Optional Protocol to the CRPD
  • Approved Follow Up reports in inquiry procedures under the Optional Protocol to the CRPD
  • Approved its seventh Biennial report to the General Assembly and the ECOSOC.

 At the closing session, IDA’s Senior Advisor on Human Rights expressed IDA’s gratitude and appreciation to all those involved in the development of the session, including Committee members, Committee’s Secretariat and UNOG conference and interpretation services. In particular, IDA thanked the availability of Committee members to hear from representatives of national organizations of persons with disabilities, as well as the realisation of the Day of General Discussion towards general comment on Article 11 CRPD calling for a calm and planned process, in which time is given to have thorough discussions and reflections on the different thematic areas with the relevant stakeholders and experts.

 Highlights of the CRPD Committee’s Concluding Observations

 Six countries were reviewed. The International Disability Alliance supported OPDs from the six countries to come to Geneva, Switzerland, and engage with the CRPD Committee. All the session’s Concluding Observations published by the Committee are available here. They reflect many of the concerns brought by OPDs representatives in their alternative reports and briefings to the Committee. Below, some highlights are presented for each country, not attempting to replace an attentive reading of each document issued by the CRPD Committee.

 Angola’s first review before the CRPD Committee: need for more and better consultation and partnership with national OPDs.

 In this vein, stressing the relevance of OPDs participation but also of financially supporting them, the CRPD Committee recommended Angola to “take measures to develop meaningful partnerships and consultations with organizations of persons with disabilities and take steps to ensure their appropriate resourcing in order for such partnerships and consultations to be effective in all matters affecting them”. The need for effective participation has been also highlighted specifically for organizations of women with disabilities, under Article 6 of the CRPD.

 Another interesting recommendation to Angola relates to article 20 CRPD on personal mobility, calling the State to  “[c]onsider the introduction of measures to reduce the costs of acquiring assistive equipment and devices, such as tax or customs exemptions for the purchases, and fiscal and capacity support for local enterprises with the interest and ability to manufacture aids for local markets,” in a way suggesting that local manufacturing can better ensure access to basic assistive devices, to which it could be added easier maintenance and reparation. On another note, and attentive to OPDs’ great concern, the CRPD Committee required Angola to “[p]rovide persons with disabilities, in particular women and girls, with access to sexual and reproductive health care and services and ensure supported decision-making for women with psychosocial and/or intellectual disabilities so that they can reaffirm their sexual and reproductive autonomy.”

 Georgia: Strengthen focal points for CRPD implementation and the independent monitoring mechanism

 Following the constructive dialogue with Georgia, the CRPD Committee issued substantive recommendations. On disability assessment, the CRPD Committee recommended Georgia to “establish a disability assessment system and ensure that organizations of persons with disabilities are involved in its design and that policies and programmes shift from care, treatment and protection towards the removal of environmental and attitudinal barriers that prevent equality and inclusion” among others. 

In relation to national implementation and monitoring structures, the CRPD Committee recommended Georgia to strengthen “the human, technical and financial resources of the Inter-Agency Coordination Committee, build the capacity of focal points to mainstream the rights of persons with disabilities across all sectors and levels of government;” while also highlighting the need for increasing “resources for the development of the monitoring mandate of the Public Defender of Georgia, provide for accessible information and methodologies in its work and to ensure that persons with disabilities and their representative organizations are effectively involved in monitoring the implementation of the Convention, including during situations of risk and emergencies and in the recovery period.”

 Tunisia: Need to repeal discriminatory laws that promote substituted decision making and invest in supported decision-making model

 The CRPD Committee reviewed Tunisia at the beginning of the second week of the session. Among the CRPD Committee’s substantive recommendations, the one on the right to legal capacity should be highlighted. The Committee asked Tunisia to “[r]eview all laws, including article 106 of the Code of Obligations and Contracts and articles 160, 162 and 163 of the Personal Status Code, that uphold guardianship and substituted decision making and replace such provisions with ones that uphold supported decision making and individual autonomy in accordance with the Convention,” and to “[r]epeal the Law No. 66 and replace it with a law that establishes the principles of autonomy, privacy and independence of persons with disabilities in their administrative and financial transactions.”

 Regarding right to health, very relevant for OPDs, the CRPD Committee urged Tunisia to “[p]ut in place measures, including amending Decree 93 of the medical ethics to align it with the Convention, to ensure that health services and treatments, particularly sexual and reproductive health services, are provided to persons with disabilities including person with psychosocial or intellectual disabilities on the basis of their free will and informed consent.”

 Peru: Ensure the safety of persons with disabilities during the current political crisis and consolidate important advancements on legal capacity through implementation

 The second review of Peru took place while the country goes through a political crisis characterized by great number of protests and a events of police repression. Probably, this caused that the review only took place online. In this context, the CRPD Committee requested Peru to “[i]mplement effective measures to ensure the life, safety and rights of persons with disabilities, especially women and girls with disabilities, in the current political situation, including the right to peaceful assembly and protest.”

 On another note, it is well known that Peru is among the few countries who have undertaken comprehensive legal capacity reforms in line with the CRPD. While recalling the relevance of the Legislative Decree 1384, the Committee issued recommendations seeking a better implementation of the reform requesting Perú, among other things, to:

  • “(a) Develop, adopt and implement in an appropriate manner, and through a consultative process, the strategy for the implementation of the support and safeguards system, including through the funding of community-driven support networks and services;
  • (b) Promptly restore the legal capacity of persons currently under guardianship;
  • (c) Ensure public campaigns, information dissemination and training for judges, notaries, public officials, the private sector, persons with disabilities, their families, and communities on Legislative Decree No. 1384;”

 Argentina: Legal harmonization of disability and legal capacity legislation and detailed recommendations on adequate standard of living and social protection

 The CRPD Committee’s Concluding observations to Argentina are very detailed with many interesting elements. As major frameworks to be reviewed, the Committee recommended Argentina to “[h]armonize its disability legislation and public policies at federal, provincial and local levels with the Convention …” under Article 4 CRPD, and to “[h]armonize the National Civil and Commercial Code with the Convention to guarantee equal recognition as a person before the law for all persons with disabilities, including the elimination of provisions that allow for the restriction of their legal capacity, as well as the concepts of incapacitation and guardianship.”

 In addition, and interestingly alluding to the impact of “the measures taken by the State party to reduce the budget deficit and consolidate public debt, in the framework of the agreement with the International Monetary Fund,” the CRPD Committee tackled several issues connected to the “invalidity pension” (the non-contributory disability pension), under Article 28 CRPD. Concretely, the CRPD Committee recommended Argentina to: 

  • “(a) Increase its efforts to eliminate the barriers that hinder the access of persons with disabilities to the non-contributory disability pension, including by continuing to make the criteria for granting it more flexible, simplifying the procedure and allocating a larger budget;
  • b) Reform the legislation on non-contributory "disability" pensions to replace the medical model with a human rights model, change its name, increase the amount to at least the minimum living and mobile wage, and allow other income to be received.
  • c) Strengthen the social protection system based on the Convention to ensure an adequate standard of living for persons with disabilities throughout the country, and cover additional disability-related costs;
  • d) Ensure that economic reform policies and related loan agreements do not negatively impact on the rights of persons with disabilities and their access to social services.”

 Togo: Harmonize national laws and policies with the Convention and the human rights-based approach to disability

 The CRPD committee reviewed Togo, as last country of the session. Both the State delegation and representatives’ organizations of persons with disabilities from Togo played their role in the process resulting to substantive recommendations in all articles of the Convention. 

 In relation to legal reforms, the CRPD Committee urged the State to “[c]omplete as a matter of priority and within a specific time frame the process to review the Act No. 2004-005 of 23 April 2004 on the social protection of persons with disabilities and bring it into line with the provisions of the Convention and the human rights-based approach to disability.” To tackle outrageous practices, in relation to the right to life, the Committee recommended Togo to “take appropriate legal and policy measures to safeguard and protect persons with disabilities, especially children and persons with albinism from abandonment, murder and abduction, and to ensure that all perpetrators are brought to justice”.

Upcoming 29th session and pre-sessional working group

 At the closing, the CRPD Committee also confirmed its plans for the 29th session and 18th Pre-Sessional Working Group, which go from August 14th to September 14th this year. National organizations of persons with disabilities should get ready to work towards the session, submit alternative reports and participate at the session and PSWG.

 During the 29th session, the CRPD Committee will undertake the reviews of Andorra, Austria, Germany, Israel, Malawi, Mauritania, Mongolia and Paraguay. The reviews of Austria, Germany, Mongolia, and Paraguay are second review processes under the Simplified Reporting Procedure.

 At the 18th Pre-Sessional Working Group, the CRPD Committee will adopt List of Issues on Finland, Liberia, Marshall Islands; and List of Issues prior to Reporting on Kenya, Slovenia, South Africa, initiating their second review cycle.

 All the info on the 29th session and on the 18thPre-Sessional Working Group can be find on the respective CRPD Committee’s websites, here and here.



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