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Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Concludes Thirtieth Session After Adopting Concluding Observations on Reports of Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Kazakhstan, Nicaragua, Sweden and Zambia

22 March 2024

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities this afternoon concluded its thirtieth session after adopting concluding observations on the reports of Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Kazakhstan, Nicaragua, Sweden and Zambia.

Laverne Jacobs, Committee Rapporteur, said the Committee regretted that Nicaragua had not sent a delegation to engage in a constructive dialogue. The Committee had, in addition to adopting concluding observations on the State party reports reviewed, considered four individual communications submitted for its consideration under the Optional Protocol to the Convention. It had found violations of the Convention in one of them, discontinued two, and declared one inadmissible. A summary of the views and decisions of the Committee could be found in the Committee’s report on its thirtieth session. The views and decisions would be transmitted to the parties as soon as possible and would subsequently be made public. The Committee had also adopted a follow-up report on views, and a report regarding individual communications. Two follow-up dialogues on inquiries were held and the Committee adopted follow-up reports.

Ms. Jacobs said the Committee continued with the drafting process of general comment no. 9. It had discussions with United Nations agencies and partners on persons with disabilities affected by disasters and on children with disabilities affected by armed conflicts. The Committee also amended its rules of procedure in matters related to communications, simplified reporting procedure, and follow up to inquiries. The Committee decided to adopt the methodology of task forces for the preparation and conduct of constructive dialogues with States parties as the default methodology for all dialogues. It also adopted a statement on achieving gender and equitable geographical representation in the 2024 elections of Committee members.

The Committee welcomed recent ratifications of the Convention and its Optional Protocol. With 191 ratifications, the Convention was the second largest ratified human rights treaty. However, meeting time and resources allocated to the Committee did not match the large number of ratifications. All competent United Nations bodies were called on to rectify this situation, by the granting of a third session of at least three weeks of meeting time. The Committee also called upon States parties with long overdue reports to submit these as soon as possible. Finally, the Committee adopted the report on its thirty-first session.

The Committee then heard remarks from several speakers.

Juan Ignacio Pérez Bello, International Disability Alliance, thanked the Committee Experts for their work over the session. International Disability Alliance had provided support to the national organizations of persons with disabilities engaging with five State review processes. The methodology piloted with Kazakhstan, Zambia and Sweden was appreciated. While some adjustments would be useful, this methodology seemed fit for purpose. International Disability Alliance was concerned about the ongoing situation of the United Nations in terms of lack of sufficient resources for its basic operations. The sudden end of remote participation in official meetings was also regretful. International Disability Alliance would keep advocating for increased resources within the United Nations, and accessibility for persons with disabilities in all procedures. In less than three months, the Committee’s elections would take place at the Conference of States parties. International Disability Alliance would contact the nominated 10 candidates for collaboration to increase visibility and transparency of the elections. International Disability Alliance was glad that general comment no. 9 continued to advance, and looked forward to contributing to the process. The Alliance remained fully committed to support the work of the Committee.

Alan Robinson, REDESFERA, said national and local governments had recently been promoting laws and policies that promoted repression, confinement, and the institutionalisation of neurodiverse persons and those with psychosocial disabilities. Reports had been received of people being shot by the police following a hallucination or during a bad trip on drugs. Independent living with support in society and the proper participation in culture would not be guaranteed until people with psychosocial disabilities could live without fear of being locked up, or of having laws passed which stripped their autonomy, independence and freedom. The Committee was called on to pay special attention to the Latin American region, and to consider following up on the urgent recommendations made to the countries across the region regarding the deinstitutionalisation and deprivation of freedom of persons who were diverse and those with psychosocial disabilities.

Amalia Gamio, Committee Expert, and a representative of the Inter-American Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities provided an overview of a joint statement launched on article 29 of the Convention. The statement declared that States should repeal provisions that deprived persons with disabilities of the right to equal recognition before the law, and develop a system of support that was respectful of the social model of disability, with a human rights approach. States must ensure that persons with disabilities had mechanisms for access to communication and complete information during all electoral stages, to exercise their political rights. Persons with disabilities needed to be able to run for elected office on an equal basis with other persons. States should also facilitate the right to vote for persons with disabilities, applying support mechanisms and reasonable accommodations throughout the electoral process. It was urgent to implement these guidelines to reduce the inequality gap in relation to the political and electoral rights of persons with disabilities.

In closing remarks, Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame, Committee Chairperson, reiterated the fact that the Convention had reached 191 ratifications, meaning it was now the second largest ratified human rights treaty. Persons with disabilities continued to play a key role as agents of change at local, national and international levels. The need to ensure the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in the post 2030 Development Agenda was a challenge which lay ahead. Ms. Oforiwa Fefoame thanked all Committee members, members of the Secretariat, civil society and others who had participated in the thirtieth session.

Summaries of the public meetings of the Committee can be found here, while webcasts of the public meetings can be found here. The programme of work of the Committee’s thirtieth session and other documents related to the session can be found here.

The thirty-first session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is scheduled to be held in Geneva from 12 August to 6 September 2024, when it is scheduled to review the reports of Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Denmark, Ghana, Mauritius, Netherlands and Ukraine.

Produced by the United Nations Information Service in Geneva for use of the information media; not an official record.
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