Ms. Catalina Devandas Aguilar (Costa Rica) took office as the first Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 1 December 2014, following Human Rights Council resolution 26/20 establishing the new special procedures mandate.
The creation of this mandate recalls the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and the need for persons with disabilities to be guaranteed the full enjoyment of these rights and freedoms without discrimination. It signals that further attention is needed to address the barriers that persons with disabilities continue to face in all parts of the world in their participation as equal members of society.
With this new mandate the UN system continues to strengthen its efforts to recognize, promote, implement and monitor the rights of persons with disabilities from a human rights-based approach, in line with the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the broader human rights framework.
Mandate of the Special Rapporteur
The Special Rapporteur is mandated to:
- Develop a regular dialogue with States and other stakeholders for the identification, exchange and promotion of good practices related to the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities;
- Receive and exchange information and communications on violations of the rights of persons with disabilities;
- Consult with and involve persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in a participatory manner in the conduct of her work;
- Make concrete recommendations on how to better promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities, including on how to promote development that is inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities;
- Provide technical assistance in support of national efforts for the effective realization of the rights of persons with disabilities;
- Raise awareness of the rights of persons with disabilities;
- Closely cooperate with other UN human rights mechanisms and UN entities to advance the rights of persons with disabilities in a coherent manner;
- Integrate a gender perspective throughout the work of the mandate;
- Report annually to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.
In the discharge of these functions, the Special Rapporteur:
- Acts on information submitted to her regarding alleged violations of the human rights of persons with disabilities by sending urgent appeals and communications to concerned States to clarify and/or bring this information to their attention. See Communications.
- Conducts country visits upon the invitation of the Government, to examine the state of protection of the human rights of persons with disabilities in the given country. The Special Rapporteur submits a report of the visit to the Human Rights Council, presenting her findings, conclusions and recommendations. See Country Visits.
- Participates in conferences, seminars and panels on disability-related matters and issues press releases.
- Reports annually to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly, in accessible formats, about the global state of protection of persons with disabilities, her main concerns and the good practices observed in relation to the rights of persons with disabilities. The Special Rapporteur formulates specific recommendations with a view to enhancing the protection of the human rights of persons with disabilities. See Annual Reports.