The 2016 Social Forum

The 2016 Social Forum took place from 3 to 5 October 2016 in Room XX, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, in accordance with paragraph 6 of Human Rights Council resolution 29/19 entitled “The Social Forum.”

The Social Forum is an annual three-day meeting convened by the Human Rights Council. It is a unique space for open and interactive dialogue between civil society actors, representatives of Member States, and intergovernmental organizations, on a theme chosen by the Council each year.

The theme of the 2016 session of the Social Forum was the promotion and full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities in the context of the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Among other human rights concerns, statistics show that around fifty per cent of persons with disabilities cannot afford appropriate health care; and they are more likely to be unemployed than persons without disabilities. Persons with disabilities have, on average, worse living conditions and less participation rates in public affairs than other groups. 

Realizing the right to development of persons with disabilities requires the adoption of a human rights-based approach to disability which respects their active, free and meaningful participation in development, the fair distribution of resulting benefits, and their inclusion in society on an equal basis with others. States parties to the CRPD have agreed to cooperate internationally, including through making development cooperation inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities (Article 32 CRPD). The Social Forum provides an inclusive platform to continue moving the international human rights agenda in that direction. 

Practical information

Simultaneous interpretation in the six official languages of the United Nations (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish), closed captioning in English (through the live Webcast), and simultaneous International Sign Language Interpretation were provided during the sessions of the 2016 Social Forum. Additionally, Braille embedding was available upon request to the Secretariat during the three days of sessions. 

All sessions were webcast through the following link:

Click here for the Accessibility Guide to the Human Rights Council for person with disabilities.

The interactive accessibility map offers useful information about accessible services in Geneva: The following website from the Association Handicap Architecture Urbanisme provides information on mobility and accessibility in Geneva:

For enquiries, please contact the Secretariat of the Social Forum (

  • Programme of work of the 2016 Social Forum
  • Background note with thematic overview
  • Biographies of speakers
  • List of side events
  • Human Rights Council Resolution 29/19 “The Social Forum” (PDF)
    A C E F R S
  • Provisional agenda
    A C E F R S
  • Guide to Social Forum (PDF)
    A  C  E  F  R  S 
  • Statements from the Social Forum New!!

  • Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
    Arabic | Chinese | English | French | Russian | Spanish  
  • Training guide on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • Monitoring the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Guidance for Human Rights Monitors
  • Thematic studies of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Thematic reports of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities
  • General Comments of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
  • High-Level Political Forum
  • Information note on the RTD and Disability

For further enquiries, please contact