Expert Group Meeting on the inclusion of the rights of persons with disabilities in the work of the United Nations human rights mechanisms


Held:
3-4 July 2017, Madrid
Convened by:
The Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities
Purpose:
Expert Group Meeting on the inclusion of the rights of persons with disabilities in the work of the United Nations human rights mechanisms

Background

Since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006 and its subsequent entry into force, UN treaty bodies took more action on the protection of the human rights of persons with disabilities. On the one hand, the Convention created the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which has been monitoring the progress made by the States Parties in implementing the treaty. On the other hand, there is an increasingly widespread practice of other UN treaty bodies to mainstream disability and include such rights within their ordinary work, including in the reviews of the States Parties (concluding observations), in general comments, and in the consideration of individual communications for violation of the rights of persons with disabilities. Similarly, more and more special procedures of the Human Rights Council (working groups, special rapporteurs and independent experts) have begun to include the rights of persons with disabilities in their thematic and country visit reports, in addition to the work of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, whose mandate was created in 2014.

On 3 and 4 July 2017, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Ms. Catalina Devandas Aguilar convened an Expert Group Meeting on the inclusion of the rights of persons with disabilities in the work of the United Nations human rights mechanisms  in Madrid, with the support of the Government of Spain, the University Carlos III of Madrid and the ONCE Foundation.

As indicated in the attached concept note (in Spanish only), the specific objectives of the meeting were to:

i. Discuss the contributions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to the International Human Rights System;

ii. Identify progress, gaps and challenges in protecting the rights of persons with disabilities by UN treaty bodies and special procedures mechanisms;

iii. Formulate concrete solutions to improve the coherence of the human rights protection system for the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities;

iv. Strengthen collaboration between the different Spanish-speaking experts of the United Nations treaty bodies and the special procedures systems for the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities.

This two-days expert meeting brought together 24 participants , including academics and experts from the various UN treaty bodies and special procedures mechanisms.

Experts reflected on the challenges of the international human rights system, and in particular the UN treaty body system, in protecting the rights of persons with disabilities. They acknowledged that although progress is generally positive, the growth in recommendations and jurisprudence experienced in recent years has also affected the coherence of the UN human rights system as a whole on the rights of persons with disabilities, and the ability of different actors to coordinate work. Thus, in some cases there are divergences, explicit or implicit, in the interpretation of certain rights, as well as an overlap of criteria regarding the same State action.