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Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities adopts General Comments on the right to inclusive education, and on women and girls with disabilities

Committee on the Rights of Persons

  26 August 2016

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities today adopted two General Comments, on Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on the right to inclusive education, and on Article 6 on women and girls with disabilities.

According to Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, States parties must ensure the realization of the right of persons with disabilities to education through an inclusive education system at all levels, including pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary education, vocational training and lifelong learning, extracurricular and social activities, and for all students, including persons with disabilities, without discrimination and on equal terms with others.  The right to inclusive education encompasses a transformation in culture, policy and practice in all formal and informal educational environments to accommodate the differing requirements and identities of individual students, together with a commitment to remove the barriers that impeded that possibility.

The Committee had decided to develop its General Comment N° 4 in response to State parties’ initial reports in which it observed profound challenges in the comprehensive implementation of the equal right to education for persons with disabilities.  Many millions of persons with disabilities continued to be denied a right to education, and for many more, such education only existed in settings where they were isolated from their peers and received an inferior quality of provision of education.

This General Comment N° 4 provided guidance to States parties in fulfilling their obligations under Article 24 of the Convention by providing an interpretative definition of the right to inclusive education and other key concepts, together with an elaboration of the core obligations of States parties and the measures required to implement inclusive education systems that guaranteed the right to education for all persons with disabilities.  The Committee drew on its jurisprudence developed in earlier General Comments and concluding observations.

The General Comment N° 4 contained in document CRPD/C/GC/4 will be shortly available here; its draft version can be accessed here.

In Article 6 of the Convention on women and girls with disabilities, States parties to the Convention recognized that women and girls with disabilities are subject to multiple discrimination, and agreed to take measures to ensure the full and equal enjoyment by them of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.  They also agreed to take all appropriate measures to ensure full development, advancement and empowerment of women, for the purpose of guaranteeing them the exercise and enjoyment of the human rights and fundamental freedoms set out in the Convention.  Article 6 is a binding non-discrimination and equality provision that unequivocally outlaws discrimination against women with disabilities and promotes equality of opportunity and equality of outcomes.

Based on the initial reports of State parties, and the contributions to the half day of general discussion on women and girls with disabilities, which took place in April 2013, the Committee observed three main issues of concern with respect to the protection of the human rights of women and girls with disabilities: (1) violence against women and girls with disabilities, (2) restriction of sexual and reproductive rights of women with disabilities, including the right to motherhood and child-rearing responsibilities, and (3) intersectional discrimination against women and girls with disabilities.

In its General Comment N° 3, the Committee therefore provides guidance to States parties in fulfilling their obligations under Article 6 of the Convention.  It explains this article premised on the general principles of the Convention; provides interpretative definition of discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of disability, discrimination against women and girls, and intersectional discrimination; explains  the vulnerability of women with disabilities to violence, exploitation and abuse; and points to the Committee’s jurisprudence which references measures to address multiple discrimination and violence against women and girls with disabilities.

The General Comment Number 3 contained in document CRPD/C/GC/3 will be shortly available here; its draft version can be accessed here.

The Committee’s public meetings in English and Spanish, with closed captioning and International Sign Language, are webcast at http://webtv.un.org/

The Committee will next meet in public at 5 p.m. on Friday, 2 September, to officially close its sixteenth session. 

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For use of the information media; not an official record

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