Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Concludes Twenty-Eighth Session after Adopting Concluding Observations on Reports of Angola, Georgia, Tunisia, Argentina, Peru and Togo
The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities this afternoon concluded its twenty-eighth session after adopting concluding observations on the reports of Angola, Georgia, Tunisia, Argentina, Peru and Togo.
During the session, the Committee also adopted the report of its twenty-eight session and its seventh biennial report to the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, and held a day of general discussion related to its draft General Comment Nine on persons with disabilities in situations of risk.
Vivian Fernández De Torrijos, Committee Rapporteur, said the Committee had, in addition to adopting concluding observations on the State party reports reviewed, considered three individual communications submitted for its consideration under the Optional Protocol to the Convention. It had found violations of the Convention in two of them and declared the third inadmissible. A summary of the Views and decisions of the Committee could be found in the Committee’s report on its twenty-eighth session. The Views and decisions would be transmitted to the parties as soon as possible and would subsequently be made public. The Committee had also adopted a follow-up report on Views.
Ms. De Torrijos added that the Committee had also adopted a provisional programme of work for its twenty-ninth session. It had decided to streamline its methods of work in private briefings, carry out inter-sessional work and conduct testing during the next session. It also decided to establish, on a pilot basis, task forces for the preparation and facilitation of constructive dialogues with States parties. Further, the Committee would continue to work to improve the provision of accessible conference services and reasonable accommodation to members of the Committee and participants with disabilities at its meetings. It had also decided to continue implementing, on a pilot basis, a database project offered by Fundación Saraki, and had continued its consideration of a request of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to provide comments and advice on a bill on the rights of persons with disabilities.
The Committee then heard remarks from several speakers.
United Nations Fund for Victims of Torture said the intersection between torture and the rights of persons with disabilities was significant, but often overlooked. Persons with disabilities were sometimes subjected to torture because they had disabilities, and survivors of torture might develop disabilities because of the abuse they suffered. The Fund had organised a workshop to foster a human rights-based approach to the provision of services to persons with disabilities who had survived torture. The importance reaching out to organizations led by persons with disabilities had been underscored, as well as the need to foster agency in recovery and ensure informed consent, by avoiding ableist perceptions. The Fund also had held a public event in which had been heard from István Cservenka, a survivor of torture who had been institutionalised for 55 years and was now living independently, thanks to the support of the Fund. Members of the Committee and its Secretariat had participated in these events. The Fund hoped that collaboration with Committee would continue.
United Nations Population Fund thanked the Committee for the opportunity to contribute to the discussion regarding the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk.
Women and girls with disabilities were disproportionately impacted by conflict and humanitarian emergencies, due to multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. Women with disabilities, particularly those with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities, were more vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence before, during, and after conflict and in humanitarian situations. A study by the Population Fund had revealed that women and girls were insufficiently protected from specific forms of gender-based violence, including violence perpetrated in refugee camps and emergency shelters. Young women and adolescent girls who had been displaced were also often targets of sex traffickers and others. It was also during these periods that young persons with disabilities experienced the greatest barriers to sexual and reproductive health and rights. The Fund, through its global, regional, and country level presence in over 130 countries, advocated to ensure persons with disabilities everywhere were free from violence and discrimination and were able to exercise their sexual and reproductive health and rights. The Fund stood ready to support the work of the Committee.
International Disability Alliance congratulated the Committee on its day of general discussion and its six intense State reviews held during the session. The Alliance had been glad to collaborate with States of the Group of Friends on the Convention, and to join Committee members in engaging with organisations of persons with disabilities from the six countries under review. The Alliance believed that the reviews of Peru and Argentina had shed light on some relevant points. Peru’s 2018 legal capacity reform had been a great achievement, but changes in concrete practice had not necessarily followed as had been expected. Likewise, Argentina’s 2010 Mental Health Law was considered a step forward, having set the goal of closing large institutions by 2020, however not much had been done in this regard. The Alliance expected the Committee’s concluding observations to tackle these issues. It called on the Committee to engage proactively and frequently with States and national human rights institutes and hold follow-up reviews between comprehensive State party report reviews. The Alliance would continue its work with other treaty bodies in trying to mainstream Convention standards, and remained fully committed to supporting the work of the Committee and its Secretariat.
In closing remarks, Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame, Committee Chairperson, highlighted the participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in the session and the general discussion on article 11 of the Convention on the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, held on 7 and 8 March, in which about 70 participants had taken the floor. The Committee had interacted with several United Nations agencies, international organisations, organisations of persons with disabilities and civil society organisations regarding article 11.
During the session, the Committee had held interactions with 37 participants in 15 bilateral private meetings, engaged with several State parties, and held a discussion with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs around the implementation of General Assembly resolution A/RES/77/240 on easy-to-understand documentation. Ms. Fefoame thanked all who had made possible the smooth running of the session.
The Committee’s concluding observations for the reports reviewed this session will soon be transmitted to the relevant States and made available on the webpage of the session.
Meeting summary releases can be found here. The webcast of the Committee’s public meetings can be accessed via the UN Web TV webpage.
The twenty-ninth session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is scheduled to be held in Geneva from 14 August to 8 September 2023.
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