Thematic study on equality and non-discrimination under article 5 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Convention advances substantive equality for persons with disabilities as enshrined in Article 5, including equality of opportunities and equality of outcomes.  It requires the transformation of existing social structures, systems and conceptions that perpetuate discrimination against persons with disabilities. In particular, Article 5 of the CRPD reinforces and specifies States’ obligations to provide for equality and non-discrimination of persons with disabilities.

Article 5 of the CRPD calls for both the elimination of discriminatory laws, policies and practices, as well as the development of proactive policies for achieving equality for persons with disabilities. Specific measures under Article 5(4), that include affirmative actions measures, should be adopted. Articles 6 and 7 of the Convention reinforce these obligations with regard to women and children with disabilities, respectively. Active policies must be accompanied by a robust non-discrimination framework that address all forms of discrimination, including explicitly the denial of reasonable accommodation.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development presents a unique opportunity for concerted efforts to reduce inequality for persons with disabilities and ensure their inclusion and participation. States, international cooperation actors and other relevant stakeholders must apply the principle of equality and non-discrimination transversally to all goals.

In order to comply with Article 5 of the CRPD, States, in consultation with persons with disabilities and their representative organizations, should:

  • Adopt laws and policies to reduce inequalities, including by implementing accessibility, combatting negative stereotypes, perceptions and attitudes and providing for inclusive environments.
  • Ensure the exercise of enabling rights, e.g. the right to equal recognition before the law, to education and to employment, as well as repeal or revise laws and policies which impede the exercise of rights on an equal basis with others
  • Adopt specific measures to address inequalities and to combat discrimination, particularly structural discrimination, ensuring monitoring of their compliance.
  • Ensure protection against all forms of discrimination on the basis of disability, including the denial of reasonable accommodation and discrimination by association, by:

    (i) incorporating the Convention into national law;
    (ii) providing tools and guidelines to promote its implementation, in particular its innovative aspects;
    (iii) awareness-raising and empowerment of persons with disabilities in regard to their rights;
    (iv) building the capacity of public officials, including judges and monitoring agents; and
    (v) ensuring effective remedies and proper redress and reparation for victims of discrimination.

  • Establish well-developed disaggregated data collection systems, including on cases of discrimination, to inform human rights indicators, allowing for monitoring of equality and identifying structural discrimination.

In its resolution 31/6, the Human Rights Council requested the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a study on the rights of persons with disabilities under article 5 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in consultation with States and other relevant stakeholders. Consequently, OHCHR invited them to present submissions by transmitting a set of questions related to existing legislation and policies regarding equality and non-discrimination of persons with disabilities. As a result, OHCHR received the following responses: 

Submissions to the thematic study article 5 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), on equality and non-discrimination for persons with disabilities:




*Submissions provided in inaccessible formats were not made available in this website as per mandate in paragraph 18 of the Human Rights Council’s resolution 31/6.