Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD): disability rights are human rights

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD): disability rights are human rights

Today, we celebrate the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) by the United Nations. Adopted in 2006, this year marks 15 years of the first international, legally binding instrument setting minimum standards for rights of persons with disabilities.

What does the CRPD mean for persons with disabilities?

We spoke with two different generations and they told us how important the CRPD has been and continues to be for the advancement of the rights of persons with disabilities.

On this anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, I wish to pay tribute to Mr. Pekka Tuominen, former Treasurer of EDF, who passed away last week. He was an experienced negotiator and a staunch defender of disability rights, at home in the UN.

The achievement of the conclusion of the Convention, after a long process, was a victory. I remember the excitement: we finally had the lasting instrument to use in our effort to promote the rights of persons with disabilities. The full potential needs to be harnessed in the spirit of our motto: Nothing about us, without us!

Pirkko Mahlamäki, member of the EDF Executive Committee

Disabled people still face a lot of barriers and discrimination, and we have a long way to go in order to call our societies fair and inclusive. At the same time, we have to acknowledge that the situation is constantly improving, and overall we, disabled people, are in better position than ever (though far from perfect as I said). This is thanks to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), a great tool we have got to fight for our rights (if interpreterd correctly). Let’s empower and inform even more people about it and build together the societies we want and deserve!

Kamil Goungor, Chair of the EDF Youth Committee

What is the role of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities?

The principal task of the CRPD Committee is the review of the progress in implementation of the Convention. States Parties are obliged to submit to the Committee reports on measures taken to implement the Convention two years after the entry into force of the Convention.

The Committee also adopts documents called “General Comments” to explain how the Convention must be understood and applied by States Parties. It is currently working on a General Comment on Work and Employment.

How can I engage with the CRPD Committee?

You can consult EDF’s guide for organisations of persons with disabilities on how to engage with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It gives information including how to participate in a country review and/or submit a complaint.

Read it here:

EDF’s work on the CRPD

In 2010, the European Union (EU) became a Party to the CRPD. As the main umbrella organisation of persons with disabilities in Europe, EDF plays an important role in monitoring the implementation of the Convention by the EU.

EDF alternative reports

Our alternative reports gave information to the CRPD Committee about how the EU implements the Convention. Our first alternative report was prepared for the first review of the EU in 2015. It have the view of 100 million Europeans with disabilities on the enjoyment of their political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights in the EU.  The report was the result of collective work with EDF’s members, civil society organisations and other stakeholders. Giving a clear view of the situation of persons with disabilities all over Europe would not have been possible without their contribution and expertise.

In 2022, the CRPD Committee will start the second review of the EU. EDF is currently preparing its second Alternative Report for the review.

Information notes to the CRPD Committee

EDF provides the CRPD Committee with information on the main issues faced by persons with disabilities in Europe before Committee’s session. It suggests questions and recommendations the Committee can adopt related to European-wide issues, for example about ratification of the Istanbul Convention on combating gender-based and domestic violence, transposition of the European Accessibility Act, or measures to implement the Victims’ Rights Directive. Read our last information note.

Participation in consultations organized by the CRPD Committee

EDF brings the European perspective in the work of the CRPD Committee by participating in consultations. For example, EDF sent written contributions on:

Working closing with the International Disability Alliance

The International Disability Alliance (IDA) is an alliance of networks of persons with disabilities at the international level. IDA brings together over 1,100 organisations of persons with disabilities and their families from across eight global and six regional networks. EDF is a member of IDA.

EDF is working together with IDA to:

  • Raise awareness of persons with disabilities and their organisations about the CRPD and their rights under the Convention
  • Provide information on the work of the CRPD Committee and how civil society can contribute to it, e.g., for example by taking part in consultations organised by the Committee
  • Supporting organisations of persons with disabilities to contribute to the review of their country by the Committee, i.e. preparing alternative reports, attending meetings with the Committee

EDF and IDA have given in person and online workshops to organisations of persons with disabilities on the CRPD and other related international instruments. For example, this year, an online workshop focused on the Optional Protocols to the CRPD and the UN Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The Optional Protocols establish individual complaints mechanism for individuals or groups of individuals who have seen their rights violated in their country.

Watch EDF-IDA workshop on Using the UN Optional Protocols to defend the rights of women and girls with disabilities:

Do you want to know more on the CRPD? Visit our page

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities