Ms Catalina Devandas Aguilar, Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities
Ms. Catalina Devandas Aguilar (Costa Rica) is a lawyer by training and human rights advocate, who has worked extensively on disability issues at the national, regional and international level. Before taking up her duties as first Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities on 1 December 2014, she was working as a Program Officer for Strategic Partnerships with the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund, and was formerly with the United Nations Secretariat unit responsible for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the World Bank as a consultant for the Disability and Inclusive Development team for Latin America and the Caribbean region. Ms. Devandas Aguilar has previously served as a Board Member of the Latin American Network of Persons with Disabilities representing the region in the International Disability Alliance.
Her work has focused on the rights of women with disabilities and the rights of indigenous peoples with disabilities, and she has experience supporting capacity building and technical assistance projects with Governments, United Nations system actors, national human rights institutions, and organizations of persons with disabilities.
As Special Rapporteur, Ms. Devandas Aguilar wishes to emphasize the importance of supporting states to fulfil their obligations as outlined in the CRPD, acting as a system-wide catalyst and connector.
What are Special Rapporteurs?
Special Rapporteurs are appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council to examine a particular human rights issue and report back on a thematic or country-specific perspective in all parts of the world. This position is honorary, and thus they are not members of staff of the United Nations, nor paid for their work. They express their views in an independent capacity and do not represent their respective Governments. The independent status of the Special Rapporteur is crucial in order to be able to fulfil his/her functions in all impartiality.
These experts constitute what are known as the United Nations human rights mechanisms or mandates, or the system of Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council.