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Call for submissions: Draft General Comment on the right of persons with disabilities to equality and non-discrimination (article 5)

During its 17th session (20 March- 12 April 2017) the Committee decided to start the drafting process of its General Comment No. 6 on the right of persons with disabilities to equality and non-discrimination. In this regard, the Committee held a Day of General Discussion on 25 August 2017 during its 18th session in Geneva, Switzerland and a related call for submissions to all interested stakeholders.  At the end of its 18th session, the Committee issued its first draft for consultation with the wider public, available in English and Spanish versions. To read the submissions received in response to the draft General Comment No. 6, please click here.

Although equality and non-discrimination are international law principles, the Committee has identified implementation gaps with regard to article 5 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Throughout the more than 60 State party reviews it has carried out, the Committee has observed that disability-based differential treatment with detrimental consequences persists. It also notes that such treatment is wrongly justified and carried out in the guise of “protection”, “beneficial treatment” or being “in the best interests” of persons with disabilities and is not in line with the human rights model of disability.

Furthermore, the Committee notes the perpetuation of negative portrayals of disability affecting women and children with disabilities and persons with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities in particular. Examples include the enduring prejudice, stigma and misperceptions against persons with disabilities in society, including harmful and negative stereotypes of disability in the media, and the promotion of charity, welfare and medical approaches to disability, despite their incompatibility with the Convention.   

With this General Comment, the Committee intends to clarify, among others:

  1. Equality and non-discrimination on the basis of the human rights model of disability and defining elements of article 5, among others:
    a. Formal equality, substantive equality, and transformative equality / inclusive equality model of the Convention;
    b. Equality before and under the law;
    c. Equal protection of the law; prohibition of all forms of discrimination (direct and indirect discrimination; intersectional discrimination, multiple discrimination, discrimination on the grounds of disability, including discrimination by association, denial of reasonable accommodation);
    d. The limits, processes and duties relating to the provision of reasonable accommodation; 
    e. Specific measures;
  2. General obligations of States: including accessibility, procedural accommodation and age-appropriate support;
  3. Concrete guidance on the implementation of article 5 at the national level as a crosscutting provision of the Convention, including the disaggregation of data, the development of indicators, and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In order to detail its position and jurisprudence, the Committee has endorsed a Draft General Comment on equality and non-discrimination during its 18th session. The Committee invites interested States parties, focal points, coordination mechanisms, independent monitoring frameworks, national human rights institutions, equality bodies, United Nations funds, programmes, and specialized agencies, entities in the private sector, civil society organizations, and particularly representative organizations of persons with disabilities, academia and any other interested party to provide written input on the issues highlighted above and to contribute to the development of the draft in the following format.

Format of the written submissions to the draft General Comment on art. 5:

  1. Less than 5,300 words;
  2. In English, Spanish, or French. Submissions will not be translated;
  3. In Word format;
  4. Please do not include comments in the text of the draft general comment but submit them in a separate document including:

a) Identification of the submitting entity;
b) The paragraph number(s) to which the submission refers;
c) Concise comments;
d) Proposed text for amendment, if relevant;
e) Additional topic(s) to be included/left out of the draft general comment, with a short explanation and, if relevant, proposed text.

Please send submissions electronically to: Ms. Harumi Fuentes at, copying  Mr. Jorge Araya, Secretary of the Committee, at indicating in the subject line “Draft general comment on art. 5”by 30 November 2017.  Due to the large number of submissions expected, the Secretariat will not acknowledge receipt of individual submissions, but proceed to post them on the Committee’s webpage. 

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