- March 1, 2014

Member Organizations:
Arab Organization of Persons with Disabilities, Disabled People’s International,
Down Syndrome International, European Disability Forum,
Inclusion International, International Federation of Hard of Hearing People,
Latin American Network of Non-Governmental Organizations of Persons with
Disabilities and their Families, Pacific Disability Forum,
World Blind Union, World Federation of the Deaf,
World Federation of the DeafBlind,
World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry

Information Note

28 February 2014

25th Session of the Human Rights Council

On 3 March 2014, the Human Rights Council will open its 25th regular session (3-28 March 2014) in which the Council will adopt a resolution on the right of persons with disabilities to education.

The Human Rights Council (HRC) is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system made up of 47 States responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe. The HRC holds three regular sessions per year in Geneva, including a main session in March, in which the Council holds an annual discussion and adopts a resolution on the rights of persons with disabilities.

Annual Panel on Human Rights and Persons with Disabilities

The annual panel on the rights of persons with disabilities will take place on 19 March from 12:00 to 3:00 in Room 20, Palais des Nations. The panel will focus on the right to education of persons with disabilities. Central to the discussion will be a study done by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the right of persons with disabilities to education (art. 24 CRPD), done according to the request in Human Rights Council resolution A/HRC/RES/22/3. The report identifies some best practices, highlights the need for measures to prevent discrimination, and to transform structures and systems to establish inclusive education. The report is available on the website of the OHCHR (in Arabic, Chinese, English, French and Russian) along with contributions to the study, including one from IDA. IDA’s contribution includes recommendations on making constitutional and legislative reforms, and ensuring gender equality for women and girls with disabilities in education and vocational training, among others.

At the panel, Madam Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, will present, followed by 5 panellists. The panellists will be:

  • Ms. Ana Peláez Narváez, Member of the CRPD Committee
  • Ms. Maria Magdalena Orlando, Independent Expert, Argentina
  • Ms. Marie Schoeman, Chief Education Specialist, Department of Basic Education, South Africa 
  • Mr. Gordon Porter, Senior Advisor of the Ministry of Education of New Brunswick, Canada
  • Mr. Philippe Testot-Ferry, Senior Education Advisor, UNICEF Regional Office CEE/CIS 

A resolution on the right of persons with disabilities to education will also be negotiated during the session. Among other things, it will determine the topic of the next annual panel, OHCHR study for the March 2015 Human Rights Council session, which is typically also the topic of the resolution on the rights of persons with disabilities in the same session. The panel will be accessible in format, with International Sign interpretation, and real time captioning, which will be available in the room and on the webcast. Concept note for the annual panel on the rights of persons with disabilities

Side Events

Many side events are scheduled to take place during the session, including several on the rights of persons with disabilities. On 5 March, from 12 to 2:00 pm in room 24, Palais des Nations, there will be a side event of Finland, cosponsored by IDA and other partners, on inclusive education. The side event will focus on inclusive education as a means to realize the universal right to education without discrimination of any kind. The panelists will bring forward existing strategies and good practices, as well as highlight existing challenges for the implementation of inclusive education. Among the panellists is Dr. Liisa Kauppinen, Awardee of the 2013 UN Human Rights Prize, president emeritus of the World Federation of the Deaf, and former board member of IDA.

A side event on Torture in Psychiatry is being organized by IDA member, World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry, to take place in room 8 of Palais des Nations, on 14 March from 3: 00 pm to 4:30 pm, in Room 8, Palais des Nations.

On 20 March, Austria, IDA and the Zero Project and cosponsors will have a side event on Accessibility, in Room 27, Palais des Nations, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. Speakers will present from the IDA, Zero Project, the International Telecommunication, and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. The side event will draw attention to increasing efforts by the international community but also by the private sector with regard to accessibility, including by identifying and sharing good practices, which can be enhanced by greater cooperation among different stakeholders.

Other Panels

During the session, the following additional panels will take place.

Accessible panels:

The remaining panels:

  • Mainstreaming of human rights, in connection with the rights of migrants (4 March, 9:00 - 12:00);
  • The promotion of preventative approaches within the UN system (4 March, 15:00 - 18:00);
  • The question of the death penalty (5 March, 15:00 – 18:00);
  • The 65th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention of Genocide (7 March, 12:00 - 15:00);
  • Access of children to the justice system, which will look at international norms and standards (13 March, 9:00 - 12:00), and ways to empower children to claim their rights (13 March, 15:00 - 18:00);
  • Sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (25 March, 9:00 - 12:00). 


The Council will adopt the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) outcomes for the 17th session of the UPR (21 October – 1 November 2013), tentatively scheduled for the 19th, 20th and 21st of March, as follows:

  • Saudi Arabia, Senegal, China (19 March, 15:00 - 18:00)
  • Nigeria, Mexico, Mauritius (20 March, 9:00 - 12:00)
  • Jordan, Malaysia, Central African Republic (20 March, 12:00 - 15:00)
  • Israel, Belize, Chad (20 March, 15:00 - 18:00)
  • Monaco, Congo, Malta (21 March, 10:00 - 13:00). 

The adoptions of the UPR outcomes will be webcast (however, without International Sign and webcasting). To see pending recommendations from the UPR 17th session, which will be commented on the HRC 25th session, click on IDA's disability analysis of the UPR 17th session recommendations. Of special note among these are that Mauritius will indicate whether it is accepting or rejecting recommendations it received on withdrawing reservations to the CRPD, which it voluntarily committed to doing during its UPR review meeting.

Special Procedures

During the session, interactive dialogues will take place with 18 special procedures mandate holders. Interactive dialogues with the respective Special Representatives of the Secretary General on violence against children, and on children and armed conflict will also take place (12 March, from 12:00 - 15:00).

The Council will consider reports of independent experts on Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti, and Mali. The Independent Expert on the Central African Republic will provide an oral update, followed by a debate.

At the end of the session, the Council will consider the appointment of 17 special procedure mandate holders. Information about this has been posted - in Word and in PDF both - on the web page of OHCHR on the current special procedures nominations. At the end of the Council session, the Council will also consider election of members of the Advisory Committee, to fill Latin-American vacant seats.

Reports of Commissions of Inquiry

Reports of the respective commissions of inquiry on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and the Syrian Arab Republic will be discussed.

Other Resolutions and Initiatives

Among other initiatives or resolutions to be discussed during the session include: the right to adequate housing; the right to privacy with regard to domestic and extraterritorial surveillance; sustainable development and the environment; the role of good governance in the promotion and protection of human rights; freedom of expression; protection of human rights in the context of counter-terrorism; a cross-regional initiative calling for a global study on children deprived of liberty; and children's access to justice will feature in the work of the Council. As well, during the session, Denmark and others will launch a cross-regional global initiative for a ten-year engagement regarding ratification of the Convention Against Torture, to help countries overcome obstacles in ratification, identify good practices, and implementation.


Persons with disabilities who are participating in the session (whether NGOs representatives, press, government, etc.) can use the Accessibility guide to the Human Rights Council for persons with disabilities to make an accommodation request related to their participation in the Council session.

Additional information on accessibility for persons with disabilities can be found at the website of the United Nations Office at Geneva.


The webcast of the session will be available here:

Additional Information

Website of OHCHR on the Human Rights Council's 25th session        
Programme of Work for the Human Rights Council's 25th session          
List of reports prepared for this Session of the HRC          
Accessibility guide to the Human Rights Council for persons with disabilities          
Easy to read version- About the Human Rights Council        
Information on accessibility at the Palais des Nations from the United Nations Office at Geneva

The International Disability Alliance (IDA) is a network of eight global and four regional organisations of persons with disabilities and their families (DPOs), representing the estimated one billion persons with disabilities worldwide. Founded in 1999, as a network of international disability rights organisations, a unique composition, that allows IDA to act as an authoritative and representative voice of persons with disabilities in the United Nations (UN) system in New York, Geneva and worldwide. IDA’s Advocacy seeks to advance Human Rights utilising the UNCRPD and other Conventions, harnessing the strengthened united voice of its members, forging working relationships with partners to achieve common goals inclusive of persons with disabilities worldwide.

Geneva Office: 150 route de Ferney, PO Box 2100, CH 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
New York Office: 245 Park Avenue, 39th Floor, New York, NY 10167, United States
Contact: Ellen Walker at ewalker [at]
IDA Website:

Information Note in Word Version

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