- August 14, 2023

Distinguished members of the CRPD Committee,

I am pleased to deliver this statement as Executive Director of the International Disability Alliance.

Let me begin by applauding the efforts of the CRPD Committee and its Secretariat for your work in advance of this 29th session. IDA is particularly thankful for the document called “When will the Committee consider my country?” posted on the Committee’s website. This will allow for better and more advanced planning for organizations of persons with disabilities and will help facilitate even stronger OPD participation in the work of the Committee over the coming years. IDA understands that such initiatives by this Committee will be developed further depending on decisions still to come on the reform of Treaty Bodies, namely around predictable calendars, follow-up reviews, and digital uplift.

As the conversations on the UN Treaty Bodies reform move forward, with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights having submitted a comprehensive Working Paper to the UN Treaty Bodies Chairpersons, IDA welcomes the Chairpersons’ conclusions which are attentive to the requirements of persons with disabilities. IDA fully supports specifically those conclusions related to engagement with stakeholders (paragraphs 14 to 17) and on Accessibility of human rights treaty bodywork and reasonable accommodation (paragraph 18). This CRPD Committee has pioneered in many aspects and continues to do so.

IDA calls for UN Member States to respond adequately at the next General Assembly resolution in December 2024 and increase available budgetary resources for UN Treaty Bodies, following a budgetary process that seriously aims at putting in place a UN Treaty Body system for the 21st century: accessible in all senses, inclusive of persons with disabilities, foreseeable and transparent to all and that allows and facilitates safe engagement by civil society organizations from the national level, including remotely and with interpretation.

This last point on interpretation for remote participation is also important in the short term. While IDA does its best to support national organizations of persons with disabilities to engage with this CRPD Committee, following the COVID-19 pandemic, increased cost for travel and extended VISA procedures poses new challenges not always easy to overcome (even with time ahead). For this session, complicated VISA procedures led to many OPD representatives not being able to attend in person. The frustration increases when it is known that interpretation for remote participation is no longer possible. While the larger conversation on Treaty Body reform continues, short-term measures to reinstate such language interpretation for remote participation at the next session are extremely important.  

Moving from procedural to substantive matters, IDA is thankful and enthusiastic about the CRPD Committee’s decision to be ambitious in the process of developing comprehensive guidance on the many complex issues covered by Article 11 of the CRPD. The process itself will be very important for increased collaboration with States Parties, UN agencies, and civil society organizations leading to an outcome that is not only authoritative because of the authorship of this Committee, but also legitimized by a great level of participation, so that all stakeholders can benefit from its guidance with prompt and

IDA continues to actively engage with other UN Treaty Bodies with a view to ensuring harmonization with CRPD standards. As well as supporting OPD participation in State reviews, IDA has recently submitted a written contribution with comments to the draft General Recommendation No. 37 on Racial discrimination in the enjoyment of the right to health by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This written submission joins the many others that IDA has done throughout the years for other UN human rights Treaty Bodies processes, now available on at specific page of our website to give visibility to this important work. For the upcoming period, IDA looks forward to the upcoming CRC Committee’s General Comment No. 26 on children’s rights and the environment with a special focus on climate change and the work of the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights towards a general comment on sustainable development and economic, social and cultural rights.

IDA remains enthusiastic about the work to come by this CRPD Committee, centered around article 11 of the CRPD and to States reviews’, hopefully reactivating follow-up procedures, preventing dispersion of the Committee’s limited time and resources, and keeping up with the high-quality standards and critical task of the progressive development of human rights law.

As the work on the general comments on Article 11 proceeds, we look forward to increased attention in this and future sessions on issues such as:

  • The role of organizations of persons with disabilities in peacebuilding processes
  • States’ implementation of UNSC resolution 2475 in the context of Article 11
  • Developing standards on asylum claims based on a well-founded fear of disability-related persecution
  • Climate action and implementing a just and disability-inclusive transition

Finally, we look to the Committee to provide further guidance on other important topics that have recently attracted considerable international attention, including: how to ensure disability-inclusive development and realize the SDGs for all persons with disabilities; how to achieve the highest attainable standard of health without discrimination on the basis of disability, and what the full implications of applying the CRPD and the social model of disability to ‘mental health’  might be on existing laws, policies, and frameworks, having particular regard to the rights of persons with psychosocial disabilities.  Once more we express our appreciation and our fervent commitment to continuously support the vital work of the CRPD Committee.

I wish you a very fruitful 29th session. 

Thank you.

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