ATC130510: Report on the Select Committee on Women, Children and People with Disabilities on participation in the Fifth State Parties Meeting on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the United Nations, New York, United States of America dated 24 April 2013.
Report on the Select Committee on
Women, Children and People with Disabilities on participation in the Fifth
State Parties Meeting on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons
with Disabilities at the United Nations, New York, United States of America
dated 24 April 2013.
The Select Committee on Women, Children and Persons
with Disabilities, having participated in the Fifth State Parties meeting on
the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons (CRPD) with Disabilities
11- 18 September 2012, reports as follows:
Chairperson, Select Committee on Women, Children and People with Disabilities,
Ms T Matthews, Researcher, Select Committee on Women, Children and People with
This report briefly provides a background,
structure and content of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons
with Disabilities (hereafter referred to as the Convention).
The Convention was one of the fastest treaties ever
negotiated at the United Nations and deals specifically with the needs of
persons with disabilities. It came into force on 3 May 2008 and the
ratification and signatory status is as follows:
signatories to the Convention
ratifications of the Convention
signatories to the Optional Protocol
ratifications of the Optional Protocol
It has been
noted that the Convention marked a major shift in the way societies view
persons with disabilities, with the person being the key decision-maker in his
or her own life. The Convention has makes persons with disabilities rights
holders and subjects of law, with full participation in formulating and
implementing plans and policies affecting them.
This report highlights the
sessions Members of Parliament attended during the Fifth Conference of State
Parties (CRPD) at the United Nations. This report also draws on parallels and
finding that emanated from public hearings on United Nations Convention on the
Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol held in July
2012. These hearings were hosted by the Select and Portfolio Committees on
Women, Children and People with Disabilities.
Structure of Convention
The Convention is comprised of 50
Articles and the Optional Protocol to the Convention contains 18 Articles.
Herewith a summary of the articles
within the Convention, these articles should be borne in mind as it relates to
each session and its key points of discussion.
: Stipulates the purpose of the Convention which is
to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human
rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to
promote respect for their inherent dignity.
Of interest to note, the Convention has not defined disability within
the definitions section but refers to it within the preamble as persons with
disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or
sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their
full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
Provides definitions for communication language;
discrimination on the basis of disability and universal design.
that resonate with
many other human rights treaties these include for example respect for inherent
dignity, non-discrimination and equality.
of State parties to ensure and promote the full realization of the human rights
and fundamental freedoms of persons with disabilities.
Expands on the role of State parties to given
effect to ensuring
for persons with disabilities.
6 & 7:
Deals specifically with role of State parties
in dealing with women and children with disabilities respectively.
Highlights the duties of State parties to in
measures required hereto.
Provides a detailed account of what
entails and the role of
State parties to give effect to it.
Deals with the right to life.
Deals with the
of risk and humanitarian emergencies
These three articles give expression to the
equal recognition of persons with
disabilities before the law
as well as the
of a person.
15 & 16
: Together these two articles deal with
freedom from torture or cruel in human or
degrading treatment or punishment
from exploitation violence and abuse
Stipulates the right which gives expression to
protecting the integrity of a person
: Details what is entailed in terms of
liberty of movement and nationality
Describes the duties of State parties to give
effect to the right of persons with disabilities for living independently and
being included in the community.
: Describes what State parties are required to do
: Deals with freedom of expression and opinion, and
access to information
Deals with respect for privacy.
education, health and
: Deals with Work and employment and the right of
right of persons with disabilities to work and what the duties of State parties
: Describes in detail what is required of State
Parties to recognise the right of persons with disabilities to an
adequate standard of living and social
: Together deals with
Participation in political and public life as well as cultural life,
recreation, leisure and sport respectively
: Highlights the importance of State parties for
the collection, dissemination and reporting of disaggregated statistics and
research data in order to formulate and implement policies to give effect to
: Refers to the importance of
and the promotion thereof by State
parties to support national efforts to giving effect to the Convention.
: Deals specifically with
National implementation and monitoring
of the Convention by State
: Stipulates the role of the
on the Rights of Persons with disabilities. The Committee
on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will hold its first session in
: Deals with the
on the Convention by State
Parties and the
consideration of reports
by the Committee.
37 & 38
: Refers to the
Co-operation between State Parties and the Committee
as well as the
Relationship of the Committee with other
is it within the United Nations or other specialised agencies.
: Deals with the Conference of
: These two articles stipulate the requirement for
the Convention and
: Deals with
: Stipulates what is entailed for
Entry onto force
of the Convention.
: these deals with
49 & 50
: Last two articles deals with Accessible
format and authentic text of the Convention.
Session attended: Sustainable
development: inclusive and accessible
The following are key announcements,
recommendations and challenges raised by delegates and panellists as it relates
to sustainable development as it relates to inclusion and accessibility.
noted that there are approximately 1 billion people living with disabilities in
the world, mostly living in poorer countries.
It was not that Spain and the
Philippines will take the lead on 23 September 2013, where the General Assembly
will convene a
with the overarching theme: The way forward: a disability inclusive
development agenda towards 2015 and beyond. The Meeting will highlight the
requirement for stronger action to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and
Panellists noted that discussions regarding
evelopment priorities for the period beyond 2015
suggest that sustainability, equity and inclusiveness will be central
considerations in the emerging framework.
While accessibility is
particularly relevant to persons with disabilities, it has implications and
benefits for all. It is an essential aspect of inclusive and sustainable
development, and also impacts economic development and growth, as
to participation can cause inconsistencies in allocation of resources,
production of goods and services and distribution of benefits.
It was highlighted that people
with disabilities are often invisible or excluded and actions of accessibility
must include everyone.
The international community should
the issue of
in the context of development
cross-cutting issue, essential
and inclusive development
It was noted that outside of ramps at school there is
a need for advanced and innovative technology such as voice technology devices.
Over and above assistive devices at schools, panellists also highlight a need
for deaf translators within the health sector.
There is a need to establish disability councils at
both national and municipal levels.
The concept of a normative framework was raised.
This relates to
policy guidance on
accessibility is mainly provided by the principal international instruments
concerning persons with disabilities. The World Programme of Action views
accessibility as an essential means to further its goals of full
participation and equality. The Standard Rules on the Equalization of
Opportunity for Persons with Disabilities identifies accessibility of the
physical environment and of information and communication as
target areas to
ensure equalization of opportunities. It also
accessibility as a means and a goal of disability-inclusive development.
Examples of such policies have been implemented in
of the Rio +20 initiative it was noted that the concept of green economy in the
context of sustainable development and poverty eradication currently does not
include issues of accessibility as it is related to people with disabilities.
attended: Involuntary sterilization: developing a WHO (World Health
Women with disabilities experience
higher rates of gender-based violence, sexual abuse, neglect, maltreatment and
exploitation than women without disabilities.
Violence may be experienced in the home and in other settings, including
institutions, and may be perpetrated by care givers, family members or
strangers, among others. Violence against women with disabilities can also take
the form of forced medical treatment or procedures, including forced
sterilization, the incidence of which has been documented in many countries and
Panellists highlighted that that
health care workers often persuade or force women with disabilities to be
sterile. This is partially due to a perception that women with disabilities
cannot be effective parents. Furthermore it was noted that approximately 400
000 women are forcibly sterilised each year.
Studies presented indicated that
children with disabilities are 4.6 times more exposed to violence than other
It was reported that often women
are sterilised without their consent or knowledge after giving birth.
The issue of reproductive rights
were raised with two key factors highlighting the following: 1) a womens
choice to be able to freely decide on matters relating to her body and; 2)
access to information to assist women with making decisions about their
attended: Women with disabilities and employment
It was noted that women with
disabilities have limited access to education and consequently demonstrate
lower educational status than the general population. This inevitably impacts
on the type of employment she has access to.
It was noted that statistics on
the number of women with disabilities is limited. However, panellists noted
that global literacy rate is as low as three per cent for all adults with
disabilities, and one per cent for women with disabilities.
Panellists added that women with
disabilities have often only limited access to vocational and skills
development training and experience lower rates of employment.
It was concluded that there is a
need to use Conventions such as CEDAW and the CRPD to advocate and legislate
for equal opportunities for all citizens as it related to both education and
Session attended: Shadow
reporting: process, prospects and problems
It was presented that the purpose
of disability human rights reposting is to support local and international
disabled peoples organisations (
) and all
mainstream human rights organisations to undertake disability human rights
reporting to track implementation of treaty obligations by States, using the
CRPED as a benchmark.
Reporting should take into account
the following key points:
Credibility and reliability of
information or data presented
A clear and sound methodology used
in the reporting process
Ensure a link to human rights
Reporting must include a responsiveness
to the needs of the local community
Shadow reporting should be done by
individuals outside of government to ensure there isnt a conflict of interest.
However, some panellists saw value in governments providing assistance with
Panellist highlighted the severe
human rights infringements in
Members drew on findings from the conference and
juxtaposed it with the public hearings findings. Most of the findings of these
two events were similar. The following challenges were identified at the
conference and public hearings: Education early childhood development (ECD),
inclusive education, higher education, financial aid; Employment and Economic
Empowerment; Sexual abuse, neglect and maltreatment; Health and rehabilitation
including access to assistive devices; Transport; Accessibility physical
access to buildings, access to information, access to media, access to
assistive technology; Need for strategies and integrated plan;
and Inter-Departmental Collaboration;
Negative attitudes and stereotypes; Special groups intellectual disability,
Downs Syndrome, Dementia; Lack of awareness UNCRPD; and Treaty compliance.
It was recommended that Department of Women, Children and People
with Disabilities fast-track the submission of the Country Report.
It was suggested that organisation such as Disabled People South
Africa (DPSA) are encouraged to liaise and work closer with Committees in
order to further engage with the challenges faced by people with
The Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities
needs to continue working with UN Agencies such as, United Nations
Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), towards capacitating
both government officials and NGOs with regards to improving their
reporting at national, regional and international level.
Report to be considered.
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