Ms Catalina Devandas Aguilar, Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities

Ms. Catalina Devandas Aguilar the first Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with DisabilitiesMs. Catalina Devandas Aguilar (Costa Rica) is a lawyer by training and a human rights advocate.

She has worked extensively on disability rights and inclusive development for the past 20 years, including with the World Bank, the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs, and international donor organizations that supported the work of organizations of persons with disabilities to promote the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  Ms. Devandas Aguilar was previously part of the disability rights movement at national, regional and international level and continues to work closely with organisations of persons with disabilities.

Her work priorities as a Special Rapporteur include socioeconomic inclusion, the promotion of full citizenship of persons with disabilities, and embracing diversity/understanding that persons with disabilities are part of human diversity. 

She is married, mother of three daughters, and has spina bifida.

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.