The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - Human Rights Joint Committee Contents

Memorandum submitted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission


  1.1  The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is an independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain. The Commission aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights.

  1.2  The Commission incorporates a statutory decision-making Disability Committee with extensive powers.

  1.3  The Commission has accepted the UK Government's proposed designation of EHRC as an "independent mechanism" in Britain, tasking the Commission with "promoting, protecting and monitoring" implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)in accordance with Article 33 of CRPD.

  1.4  In discharging its responsibilities, the Commission will work in partnership and collaboration, with disabled people's organisations including capacity building, with the Scottish Human Rights Commission, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Northern Ireland Equalities Commission.

  1.5  The Commission will engage in international cooperation including through the UN, though informal relationship building with National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI's) and with others such as the European Disability Forum.

  1.6  The Commission believes that the CRPD offers a major opportunity to achieve a paradigm shift in the way disabled people are perceived and treated across the world, from objects of charity and welfare to equal human beings with the full set of rights that status confers. Given the UK's progress on disability rights, it should use the opportunity of CRPD to lead by example internationally by ratifying without further delay.


    —  The Commission wishes to see the Convention ratified by the UK at the earliest opportunity. Already, delays have cost the UK an opportunity for early and important representation on and influence in relation to the UN Expert Committee on CRPD.

    —  The Commission does not believe reservations or interpretative declarations are appropriate in ratifying the Convention, as evidenced by the decisions or plans of Governments of similarly placed countries to Britain, including Australia, New Zealand, Austria, France and Germany to ratify without them.

    —  The UK's decision to express reservations and interpretative declarations is undermining its deserved position internationally as a leader in the field of disability rights and has the effect of depressing the impact of the Convention globally.

    —  The Commission believes Government has failed to be transparent and to properly consult disabled people and others concerning proposed reservations and interpretative declarations. This is also not consistent with enabling the Commission to fulfil its role as the independent national monitoring body and monitoring the implementation of the Convention The Commission believes Government should publish for consultation its assessment of the UK's compliance with the Convention articles, the draft text of the reservations and interpretative declarations, and its rationale for expressing all reservations and interpretative declarations.

    —  The Commission strongly believes the UK should ratify the Optional Protocol which would allow individuals who allege that their rights under the Convention have been breached to petition the CRPD Committee and to ask the Committee to give its opinion. This would also be consistent with the EU proposal to for the European Community to ratify the Optional Protocol.

    —  The Commission is concerned about the effectiveness of arrangements concerning Convention Article 33 including the absence of robust focal points and coordinating mechanisms in the devolved administrations, inadequate resourcing of the respective NHRI's of Scotland and Northern Ireland and no defined action to increase the capacity of disabled people's organisations to participate in the promotion and monitoring process.

    —  The Convention reflects and promotes further a paradigm shift in the way disability is perceived and dealt with in public policy from a primary focus on and preoccupation with health and welfare to one of human rights. This shift should be reflected in the choice of focal point and coordination mechanism within Government. Whilst the Commission believes the Office for Disability Issues provides the best focal point and point of coordination with other delivery agents, assurances are sought that in executing this task it is genuinely independent of interference by its parent Department of Work and Pensions.

    —  The Commission believes Government should develop and consult with a range of stakeholders on an action plan for implementation of the Convention and share this best practice internationally. The Commission, along with other parts of the promotion and monitoring framework, should monitor implementation of the Action Plan.

    —  The Commission also believes the UK Government should play a more active role in UN studies, for example the current study of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on key legal measures for the ratification and effective implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


Reservations and Interpretative Declarations

  3.1  The Commission wishes to see the Convention ratified by the UK government at the earliest opportunity.

  3.2  The Australian Human Rights and Equality of Opportunity Commission deliberately brought forward ratification in order to secure a place on the first UN Expert Committee on CRPD. It is unfortunate that the UK has missed the opportunity for representation on the Committee at this important early stage.

  3.3  The Commission acknowledges and welcomes the progress made to date by Government, and in particular the leadership of the Office for Disability Issues in deciding not to pursue a series of proposed reservations and interpretative declarations.

  3.4  The Commission's Disability Committee does not believe reservations or interpretative declarations are a necessary for ratification. This belief has been re-affirmed in the light of several countries including New Zealand, Australia, Austria, Germany and France ratifying or planning to ratify without reservation. The Commission highlights these countries given their broadly similar social and economic position, legislative and public policy frameworks and pressures from sometimes conflicting stakeholders over matters such as education policy.

  3.5  The Commission has proposed to the United Nations High Commissioner that it should consider carrying out a comparative analysis of the rationale underpinning the different approaches of States Parties to ratification and the use of reservations or interpretative declarations.

  3.6  For example, like the UK Germany, France, Austria, New Zealand and Australia all have education policies which promote the progressive realisation of educational inclusion, whilst maintaining special schools as part of the general education system. However, whereas each of these countries has concluded that their legislation and approach is compatible with the framework provided by Article 24, the UK has not and wishes to enter both a reservation and an interpretative declaration. The UK does not appear to have taken into account the overwhelming conclusion of other Governments in coming to its position and the Commission suggests that the UK Government is allowing over cautiousness and a failure to acknowledge the emphasis on progressive realisation to damage its international standing.

  3.7  The Commission believes the time has come to lift the exemption of the armed forces from the Disability Discrimination Act in the light of a positive change in attitudes towards equality and diversity in the military and this possibility has been raised with Ministers at the MOD. The previous Secretary of State for Defence Rt Hon Des Browne committed to asking officials to reconsider the position during his last meeting with the Commission and this is an area we are pursuing with the new Secretary of State Rt Hon John Hutton. Were the exemption lifted in the Single Equality Act, this would enable Government to revoke its proposed reservation relating to the employment provisions of the Convention in the next few years.

  3.8  Whilst the Commission has not been appraised of the precise nature of the Home Office's proposals for reservations and interpretative declarations in relation to Article 18 of the Convention—Liberty of movement and nationality—the Commission is concerned that a reservation in relation to Article 18(1)[42] of the Convention may be incompatible with the principle of non-discrimination under article 5 of the Convention and the basic purposes of the present Convention (see Article 46 (1)).[43]

  3.9  The Commission does not believe that Article 18 affects the right of Member States to regulate who and in what circumstances a person gains citizenship or the right to enter the United Kingdom. Rather it seeks to ensure that in exercising immigration functions, Member States do not discriminate against persons based on any disability. A reservation is therefore unnecessary. In addition, we note that in relation to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UK government recently announced that it will be withdrawing an equivalent reservation regarding immigration under article 22 of that Convention.[44] The Commission believes the government is acting inconsistently when it is going to withdraw an equivalent reservation under another UN Convention.

  3.10  The Commission finds the lack of transparency and consultation by Government concerning proposed reservations and interpretative declarations deeply regrettable and out of keeping with the Convention's emphasis on disabled people's involvement at all levels as required by article 4(3) of the Convention. Whilst the Commission has been appraised of the general detail of other proposed reservations and interpretative declarations the confidential nature of this information has had an extremely limiting effect upon the Commission's ability to act on it. This is also not consistent with developing our role as the national monitoring body. We cannot properly and fully fulfil our role in monitoring the implementation of the Convention if we are not provided with full details of the proposed reservations and interpretative declarations.

  3.11  The Commission therefore proposes that the outcome of the Government's review of compatibility of domestic legislation, policies, practices and procedures, including proposed reservations and interpretative declarations, actions plans and plans for promotion is published for consultation prior to ratification.

  3.12  Finally, we note that whilst the Commission's Disability Committee is opposed to reservations and interpretative declarations, it does not favour opposing indefinitely ratification on these grounds and wishes to see ratification at the earliest opportunity. A statement of the Committee's position is included in the Appendix.

The Optional Protocol

  3.13  The Commission believes the Optional Protocol to be an important dimension of the Convention and urges the Government to ratify it, especially in the light of the trial run with CEDAW. The Optional Protocol would allow individuals who allege that their rights under the Convention have been breached to petition the CRPD Committee and to ask the Committee to give its decision. As with all international treaty mechanisms any individual will have had to exhaust any domestic national processes before doing so (this rule usually results in the fact that the numbers taking up cases using international mechanisms remains small and that the domestic law is able to develop properly). This will usually mean using any complaints mechanisms and/or seeking redress in the courts. As the Convention will not become part of domestic law this will mean taking proceedings under any domestic laws that might create similar rights (including, of course, the Disability Discrimination Act).

  Adopting the Optional Protocol is important because:

    —  for the rights under the Convention to be meaningful they need to be accompanied by a remedy;

    —  it is likely that however careful government and public sector is to ensure compliance they are unlikely to get it 100% right and where there are omissions individuals should be able seek redress;

    —  allowing cases to go to the Committee will ensure that any systemic or policy issues are highlighted;

    —  this will help the UK to be seen as an exemplar of good practice;

    —  actual real examples will illustrate to policy makers, NGOs and the wider public why the Convention is important;

    —  the opinions from the Committee will create greater understanding of how the Convention should be developed and interpreted and the UK is in a good place to help with this (the Committee will be able to praise examples of good practice as well as to help to develop further any inadequate policies);

    —  it will allow the domestic courts to start to take account of the Convention once the Committee starts being asked for its views of decisions from the UK courts; and

    —  it is difficult to see any arguments against granting this extra right to people with disabilities—after all if the government is confident that the UK laws and policies comply then there will be very few successful cases.

EU developments regarding the Convention

  3.14  Whilst the Commission recognises and respects the Government's desire to align with the European Union on ratification of the Convention, it is clear that doing so is now a primary cause of delay. We would wish to know what degree of tolerance the UK Government has for delaying ratification past its target of the "end of 2008" in order to work within the wider EU's timetable for conclusion.

  3.15  In September 2008 the European Commission released its proposals for a Council Decision to conclude the Convention and the Optional Protocol.[45] We have not had an opportunity to consider in detail the implications of the proposals, particularly those where there is an overlap between the competences of the EU and Member States.

  3.16  However we wish to point out several important developments in the proposals. Firstly, in relation to the ratification of the Convention the proposal contains a reservation concerning article 27.1 of the Convention and employment of disabled persons in the armed forces. The reservation is proposed in light of the exception under article 3(4) of the Employment Directive 2000/78/EC which provides Member States with the discretion to legislate such that the Directive does not apply to employment of disabled persons in the armed services. For the reasons stated above (3.7), we do not believe that the exception relating to the armed forces is appropriate any longer, at least in relation to combat forces. We will consider making submissions to the European Commission on removing or amending the article 3(4) exception when the Directive is next reviewed in 2010. In any event, as article 3(4) is in any event permissive and not obligatory, we do not believe that a reservation by the UK government to the Convention is necessary.

  3.17  Secondly we are pleased that the European Commission has proposed to adopt the Optional Protocol, as previously it indicated that it would not. The UK government should follow the example of the European Commission and adopt the Optional Protocol.


  4.1  The Commission is pleased that the Office of Disability Issues (ODI) will be the primary focal point and coordination mechanism, as required by Article 33 of the Convention.

  4.2  Whilst disability is relatively well-established as an issue of equality and human rights in the UK, it is still important that the location of the focal point and coordination mechanism in Government aids rather than challenges the paradigm shift from a health or social welfare perspective to one of human rights and equality. Currently the ODI is housed within the Department for Work and Pensions. Whilst it may not be desirable or practicable to change this arrangement in the immediate term, a statement of independence of DWP, especially in respect of work connected with the Convention, would be desirable.

  4.3  The Commission is concerned to ensure that robust focal points and coordination mechanisms are established in the devolved administration. This is especially important given the increasingly distinct political and policy frameworks in each country of Britain and the UK.

  4.4  The Commission believes the ODI should, working with Government departments, devolved administrations, disabled people's organisations and others, produce an action plan for implementation of the Convention. The duties on Secretaries of State to produce reports outlining progress on disability equality in their policy sectors and to detail the action they propose to take to deal with barriers or lack of progress provide an ideal opportunity to kick-start this process in December 2008, as does the development by the Office of Disability Issues of a "road-map" towards delivery of the Government's goal of equality for disabled people by 2025. The Commission is particularly pleased to note the Department for International Development's proactive approach to the Convention.

  4.5  In delivering our responsibilities under Article 33, the Commission and other "independent mechanisms" along with disabled people's organisations should promote and monitor implementation of the Action Plan as well as the Convention generally.

  4.6  The Commission's work on the Disability Discrimination Act Secretary of State duties has revealed widespread gaps in statistics and data concerning disability. The Commission welcomes the ODI's efforts, in partnership with Government Departments to plug this gap, which will be essential for the effective implementation of the Convention, especially Article 31.


  5.1  The Commission is pleased to be designated by Government as an independent mechanism alongside the Scottish Human Rights Commission, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and Northern Ireland Equalities Commission.

  5.2  The Commission takes this responsibility seriously. The Commission's Disability Committee agreed the Commission's broad approach to this task at its meeting in September (attached in the appendix).

  5.3  The Commission is particularly mindful of its obligation to collaborate with disabled people and their organisations in executing its role. The Commission's Disability Committee will play a leading role in this respect, including in relation to capacity building.

  5.4  The Government should be able to point to the Commission as evidence of its implementation of the Convention, but doing so requires that Government respects the Commission's statutory independence and the difference between the Commission's role and responsibilities and its own. Whilst the Commission will from time to time work closely with Government on shared objectives relating to the Convention, a clarity must be maintained about those responsibilities which are the Commission's and those which are Government's.


  6.1  The Commission has already expressed its disappointment at the lack of consultation with disabled people and their organisations concerning proposed reservations and interpretative declarations. This is fundamentally at odds with the ethos of the Convention itself and the expressed objective of the UK Government to pioneer new approaches to involving disabled people in policy making.

  6.2  The Commission expects the Government, in delivering its responsibilities under Article 33(3) to carry out specific work to build the capacity of disabled people's organisations to participate fully in the monitoring process. The Commission will also explore options for supporting and building the capacity of disabled people's organisations.

  6.3  The Commission also expect the Government to lead on promoting awareness amongst disabled people of the Convention.



  The EHRC Disability Committee considers the United Nations Convention On The Rights Of People with Disabilities to be a critically important contribution towards the equal treatment and human rights of disabled people across the world.

  The Disability Committee believes that the Convention incorporates many of the aspirations, commitments and tangible actions required to deliver disability equality and human rights in the United Kingdom. The Committee is therefore of the view that the UK Government should ratify the Convention at the earliest possible opportunity. We urge the Government to ratify the Convention by the close of 2008, in line with the ambition to do so set out by Minister for Disabled People, Anne McGuire MP.

  The Convention is only likely to make a real difference if its implementation is actively monitored and pursued.

  The Convention is unique in requiring Governments to designate one or more "independent mechanisms" as part of a framework to promote, protect and monitor its implementation. The EHRC has been approached to be a part of this framework in Britain. We are honoured and enthusiastic to accept this undertaking.

  The active participation of disabled people and their organisations, both independently and in collaboration with the Commission, will be critical to making the Convention a success. The Commission is committed to working with disabled people and will over the coming year explore with disability stakeholders how we can work together most effectively.

  The Disability Committee is aware that a number of government departments have declared that they have concerns about particular elements of the convention and wish to express either "reservations" or "interpretative declarations" in relation to particular articles.

  The Disability Committee is of the opinion that neither "reservations" nor "interpretative declarations" are necessary prerequisites for ratifying the Convention. The Committee will therefore be working with the Government to ensure, as far as they are able, that the current proposed reservations or interpretive declarations are withdrawn.

  The possibility cannot be ruled out however, that the Government will reach the target date for ratification at the end of 2008, and remain insistent on some reservations and interpretive declarations. In this situation, the Disability Committee position is that early ratification should take precedence over a small number of reservations and interpretive declarations, providing that explicit plans can be put in place to regularly review them and to withdraw them if it can be shown they are no longer necessary or relevant.

  Should the Government ratify with reservations, the Disability Committee will formally request from Government written justification and a plan of action concerning how Departments intend to address the issues underlying the reservations or interpretive declarations.



Disability Committee—10 September 2008

Title:  Equality and Human Rights Commission's approach to promoting and monitoring implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Britain and the UK

Author:  Neil Crowther

Purpose:  To set out proposals for discussion and agreement by the Disability Committee


  1.1  The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ("CRPD") was opened for signature on 30 March 2007 and has already been signed by over 100 States.

  1.2  The Minister for Disabled People, Anne McGuire, has signaled her desire for the UK to ratify the Convention by the close of 2008.

  1.3  In order to ratify, "States Parties" are required to satisfy Article 33 of the Convention:

    Article 33—National implementation and monitoring

    1.  States Parties, in accordance with their system of organization, shall designate one or more focal points within government for matters relating to the implementation of the present Convention, and shall give due consideration to the establishment or designation of a coordination mechanism within government to facilitate related action in different sectors and at different levels.

    2.  States Parties shall, in accordance with their legal and administrative systems, maintain, strengthen, designate or establish within the State Party, a framework, including one or more independent mechanisms, as appropriate, to promote, protect and monitor implementation of the present Convention. When designating or establishing such a mechanism, States Parties shall take into account the principles relating to the status and functioning of national institutions for protection and promotion of human rights.

    3.  Civil society, in particular persons with disabilities and their representative organizations, shall be involved and participate fully in the monitoring process.

  1.4  This is much more specific than the general obligations clauses contained in previous human rights instruments, which require States to use "all appropriate means, including particularly the adoption of legislative measures" (ICESCR) or to "to adopt such legislative or other measures as may be necessary to give effect to the rights recognized in the present Covenant" (ICCPR). The CRPD goes further than previous human rights instruments in reflecting the truth of the important observation made (by Rene Cassin) during the drafting of the Covenants, that

    "it would be deceiving the peoples of the world to let them think that a legal provision was all that was required ... when in fact an entire social structure had to be transformed".

  1.5  The EHRC has accepted the Office of Disability Issues proposal that it become an "independent mechanism" in relation to the Convention.

  1.6  In the UK, this role will be shared with the Scottish Human Rights Commission, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and Northern Ireland Equality Commission. It will be important to co-ordinate activity between the Commissions, and other bodies such as the Children's Commissioners.

  1.7  The Office of Disability Issues will provide both a focal point and co-ordination mechanism within Government. Focal points in the Scottish and Welsh Governments would be beneficial.

  1.8  In undertaking the role of independent mechanism it is critical that the Commission takes account of and seek to ensure Government takes account of Article 4.3 of the CPRD:

    In the development and implementation of legislation and policies to implement the present Convention, and in other decision-making processes concerning issues relating to persons with disabilities, States Parties shall closely consult with and actively involve persons with disabilities, including children with disabilities, through their representative organization.

  1.9  The Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission has produced helpful advice for National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI's) concerning the practical implications of acting as an independent mechanism to "promote, protect and monitor" implementation of the Convention:


    Promotion of implementation is not identical with promotion of public awareness and acceptance of rights of people with disability, obligations on which are set out in Article 8 and regarding which NHRIs will also clearly have a role (although as with other aspects of the Convention it is recommended that this role not be seen as one solely for an NHRI).

    Promotion of implementation involves a strategic rather than a purely informational role— although clearly necessary strategies would include identification of, and achieving measures to address, information needs in achieving implementation (for example, information needs for employers or education providers in making reasonable adjustments, or information needs for consumers with disability in seeking to purchase accessible products).

    Determining approaches to promotion of implementation appears to require:

    —  Detailed analysis of each of the obligations set out in the Convention by reference to each of the rights recognised.

    —  Consideration in national circumstances of implementation methods and tools available to government and other agencies with potential roles in implementation.

    —  Determination of strategies for promoting action by these agencies.

    In some contexts promotion of implementation could involve:

    —  Governments requiring regulatory agencies responsible for particular areas to incorporate measures into their regulatory regimes (or improve existing measures within those regimes) to achieve or move towards compliance with the CPRD (for example, inclusion of disability access requirements in regulatory regimes for buildings, transport, information and communications technology, consumer electronics, etc); or

    —  NHRIs persuading relevant regulators to take such measures; and

    —  NHRIs negotiating agreed strategies for action by other agencies or organisations over a period of time—including through NHRIs using, and/or agreeing not to use, enforcement powers where available to them.


    Clearly, there are strong connections between promotion of implementation and issues of monitoring, reporting and data collection—it is not possible to know whether we are succeeding in promotion of implementation unless we know where we are starting from and where we have got to.

    NHRIs acting alone are likely to lack the resources and capacity to undertake comprehensive monitoring of current and future levels of compliance with the CPRD. While monitoring by NHRIs can be expected to make an important contribution to effective and accountable implementation it may likewise be important for NHRIs to make clear to their governments and civil society organisations that monitoring by NHRIs (in particular, within their existing resources and capacities) should not be seen as sufficient fulfilment of the requirements of article 33, but rather as indicated by article 33 should be approached as part of a broader framework.

    It may again be useful to emphasise that monitoring in the context of the CPRD does not involve only monitoring of (hopefully rare) incidents of breaches which can be approached as exceptional cases. While, clearly, national circumstances vary widely on some issues covered by the CRPD it should be equally clear—including from the input of disability representatives worldwide during the drafting process—that in all States the starting position is that majorsocial structures really do have to be transformed—physical and communications environments, education and employment, housing and accommodation and so on—and that monitoring these processes will also involve major tasks.

    NHRIs currently will have different areas and levels of capacity and experience in monitoring relevant to various areas covered by the CRPD.

    Some for example may have more experience in monitoring human rights in institutional settings such as prisons which may be transferable to monitoring human rights in relation to institutional settings relevant to the CRPD, as well as being applicable to monitoring human rights of people with disability themselves in the criminal justice system. Other NHRIs whose jurisdiction and experience has been based on narrower models of anti discrimination law may have less experience and capability in this respect.

    Similarly, some may have had more detailed involvement in issues of physical or communications access to date than others; and so on.

    Some NHRIs may have experience with development and application of human rights indicators and of the conduct of human rights audits which could be usefully applied to monitoring of implementation of the CRPD, and shared with other NHRIs whose experience is more concentrated in investigation and resolution of individual complaints and/or litigation based enforcement.

    However broad the range of experience and capability of NHRIs may be, taking into account the range of issues covered by the Convention it appears likely to be most effective to approach monitoring, as Article 33 does, as being performed through a framework which includes NHRIs as well as other relevant agencies and mechanisms, rather than through a NHRI being seen as solely responsible.

    Participation in, or initiation of, discussions with governments, with agencies with relevant responsibilities, and with disability representative organisations on the most effective roles for different organisations within a framework appears to be an early task for NHRIs to undertake.


    The same point made above in relation to promotion and monitoring—that NHRIs have important roles as part of a framework for implementation of the CRPD rather than being appropriately assigned sole responsibility—applies even more obviously regarding measures for protection of rights.

    Many of the civil and political rights restated or expanded upon in the CRPD will in all States be covered by legislation which is primarily the responsibility of mechanisms beyond NHRIs—in areas such as criminal law, guardianship, family law etc. NHRIs may however have an important role as part of a national framework (or, to the extent possible within their existing resources and jurisdiction, on their own initiative) in examining needs and possibilities for any additional measures in these areas—such as the development of guidelines and strategies (whether by NHRIs or by the agencies responsible, or both) regarding disability issues in law enforcement and the administration of justice.

    Regarding economic social and cultural rights, the CRPD acknowledges (Article 4.2) that this class of rights may be subject to progressive implementation, rather than being required to be immediately realised in full. This has led to perceptions that economic social and cultural rights are not classed as real rights and in particular are not capable of being justiciable.

    Although many NHRIs may not currently have direct or comprehensive jurisdiction in relation to the Convenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights they may nonetheless have important contributions to make to realisation of these rights, and to consideration by governments of measures for protection of these rights:

    In particular, many NHRIs do already exercise jurisdiction in relation to economic social and cultural rights through administering anti-discrimination laws applying to these rights and thus are familiar with issues of rights which are justiciable and yet are subject to progressive implementation (for example the requirements for accessibility of public transport which exist in several States and which include timelines for compliance).

    Discrimination laws in some States draw a distinction between a right to have non-discriminatory access to those services and facilities which exist (recognised in law), and a right of access to needed services and facilities (not recognised). In other States however legislation appears to go further towards recognising rights to needed services, supports and adjustments more directly. Exchange of experience between NHRIs in this area would appear particularly valuable.


  The Commission will take a proactive approach to promoting and monitoring implementation of CRDP, both through mainstreamed and dedicated activities.

2.1  Ratification

  The EHRC Disability Committee has issued a statement of its position on the UK Government's ratification of CRPD and the actions it will pursue. This is included in the Appendix.

2.2  Involving and engaging disabled people

  The Commission will directly involve as well as engage with disabled people's organisations in its work on the Convention. This includes:

    —  Setting up an advisory group.

    —  Calling for evidence in relation to monitoring implementation and consulting on draft submissions.

    —  Providing opportunities for disabled peoples organisations to work with the Commission and independently on the Convention via its grants programme.

    —  Engaging and involving disabled people in relation to specific work-streams.

2.3  Co-ordination with and supporting development of the UK's promotion and monitoring framework

  The Commission will set up a co-ordination group, initially involving lead officers from EHRC's England, Scotland and Wales offices, the Scottish Human Rights Commission, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Northern Ireland Equality Commission. Subject to agreement by the Commissions, this group may be widened to include Equality 2025 and other relevant bodies such as the Children's Commissioners.

  The group will be tasked with developing and agreeing a consistent UK wide approach to promoting and monitoring implementation of the Convention taking account of devolved and reserved matters and different organisational competencies.

2.4  Awareness raising

  The Commission will seek to raise awareness and promote understanding of the Convention including:

    —  Through its digital communications strategy including dedicated pages on the Commissions website, through its e-bulletin and its presence on social networking sites including Facebook.

    —  Specific action to promote awareness and understanding of rights amongst people with learning disabilities and amongst children and young people.

    —  Through third party organisations to target information at "hard to reach" groups such as disabled people living in institutions, in ethnic minority and traveller communities.

2.5  Defining the Commissions actions to promote, protect and monitor implementation of CRPD in the 2009-12 Strategy and business plan

  During 2008-09 the Commission will draft, consult on and agree its strategy for the period 2009-12. Subsequent business plans will focus on achievement of the three year strategy. These will incorporate activities in relation to the Commission's role as part of the CRPD promotion and monitoring framework and may include:

    —  Influencing activities to secure a single equality Act which builds on the DDA and the production and dissemination of guidance to those with rights and responsibilities under the new Act including disabled people, including via the Commission's website and Helpline.

    —  Pursuing a new EU Directive on Goods, Facilities and Services.

    —  Integrating the Convention into the Commission's Legal Strategy, including enforcement of the Disability Equality Duty, investigation and inquiries, judicial review and intervention, casework and litigation, through legal policy work and capacity building via the Commissions Grants Programme.

    —  Research, policy development and influencing activities in relation to key areas including poverty, employment, independent living, health inequalities, targeted violence and abuse, criminal justice, education, access to goods and services and in relation to democratic participation and voice.

    —  The promotion of human rights generally, following the Commission's Human Rights Inquiry.

  The Commission will produce a report detailing precisely how its 3 year strategy and plans aim to support implementation of relevant Convention Articles.

2.6  Monitoring

  Working collaboratively with other parts of the monitoring framework, the Commission will:

    —  Through its work on data gathering and the development of an equalities measurement framework, seek to improve the quality, depth and consistency of data on equalities and human rights as it relates to disabled people.

    —  Publish a baseline assessment of Britain and the United Kingdom's performance against the Convention articles within 18 months of the UK's ratification, ahead of the official timetable for reporting.

    —  Seek to influence the UK Government's report to the United Nation's Committee, and that of the European Union.

    —  Submit and present its own report to the UN Committee.

    —  Adapt its own strategy and work-plans to respond to the findings and recommendations of the Committee.

2.7  International co-operation

  Article 32 of the CPRD recognises the importance of international co-operation and calls for States to undertake appropriate measures:

    Facilitating and supporting capacity-building, including through the exchange and sharing of information, experiences, training programmes and best practices.

    Facilitating cooperation in research and access to scientific and technical knowledge.

    In the immediate term it is proposed that the Commission develops informal relationships with NHRI's in similarly placed country's including Australia, Canada and across the European Union.

    The Commission may in time wish to partner one or more NHRI's and/or NGO's in Country's with less well developed legislation, policy and programmes.

31 October 2008

1. States Parties shall recognize the rights of persons with disabilities to liberty of movement, to freedom to choose their residence and to a nationality, on an equal basis with others, including by ensuring that persons with disabilities:++para++(a) have the right to acquire and change a nationality and are not deprived of their nationality arbitrarily or on the basis of disability;++para++(b) are not deprived, on the basis of disability, of their ability to obtain, possess and utilize documentation of their nationality or other documentation of identification, or to utilize relevant processes such as immigration proceedings, that may be needed to facilitate exercise of the right to liberty of movement;++para++(c) are free to leave any country, including their own; and++para++(d) are not deprived, arbitrarily or on the basis of disability, of the right to enter their own country. Back

43   1. Reservations incompatible with the object and purpose of the present Convention shall not be permitted. Back

44   Department for Children, Schools and Families, Press Release, "UK Lifts Reservations on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child", 22 September 2008: Back

45   COM(2008) 530/final/2. Back

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