|IDA CRPD FORUM
Disabled Peoples' International, Inclusion International,
International Federation of Hard of Hearing People,
Rehabilitation International, World Blind Union,
World Federation of the Deaf, World Federation of the DeafBlind,
World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry,
Arab Organization of Disabled People, European Disability Forum,
Asia Pacific Disability Forum, Red Latinoamericana de Organizaciones no Gubernamentales de Personas con Discapacidad y sus familias (RIADIS), Secretariat of the Africa Decade of Persons with Disabilities,
Handicap International, Survivor Corps
IDA CRPD Forum Submission to OHCHR Consultation on International Cooperation following HRC resolution 10/6
November 20, 2009
IDA CRPD Forum promotes the effective and full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities worldwide, as well as compliance with the CRPD within the UN system, through the active and coordinated involvement of representative organisations of persons with disabilities at national, regional and international levels.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is the first UN human rights treaty that includes a specific article on international cooperation (article 32).
The initial paragraph of this article, which was subject to very detailed discussion during the negotiation process, establishes a good balance between the obligation each State Party to the CRPD has towards its own citizens and the recognition that international cooperation has a vital role to play in accelerating the effective implementation of the rights recognised in this Convention.
The International Disability Alliance (IDA) and its CRPD Forum consider that the balance struck in article 32 of the CRPD is applicable to the general issue of international cooperation in the field of human rights.
International cooperation can and should play a key role in the promotion of human rights, including the rights of persons with disabilities.
Enhancement of international cooperation and promotion of the human rights of persons with disabilities
IDA believes that more efforts need to be made to ensure that international cooperation is based on a human rights approach. This is not always the case, the exclusion of persons with disabilities in many international cooperation efforts being a prime example. The participation of persons affected by the work done through cooperative efforts should be implicit and real, not simply a token involvement allowing for limited input or input that goes unheeded.
For instance, international cooperation which is undertaken to promote the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) lacks any substantial focus on persons with disabilities, which constitute a substantial percentage of the world’s poor. Ensuring that all international MDG related efforts fully respect the human rights of persons with disabilities (as well as other excluded and discriminated groups) requires a MDG framework that fully embraces non-discrimination, encourages active involvement of the affected parties, and other key principles of the human rights based approach.
An inclusive MDG process is fundamentally important and as such, it has recently been recognized by the UN through adoption of resolution A/C.3/64/L.5/REV.1 by the current 64th General Assembly, calling for implementation of the MDG framework with respect to persons with disabilities and in line with the CRPD.
If international cooperation efforts, including development cooperation, emergency and humanitarian actions, are not pursued in adherence with relevant human rights standards and systematically monitored from a human rights perspective, they will too often fail to improve and could even further deteriorate the rights of the groups in society most commonly faced with discrimination. This is exemplified by the paradigm shift established in the CRPD, which is a transition from viewing disability as a subject to viewing it as a matter of the inherent human rights of persons with disabilities. It is all too common to refer and respond to disability “issues”, a counterproductive term which reduces disability to a set of circumstances that can somehow be solved. But the CRPD has established a disability focus aimed at “persons”, and Article 32 is definitive in calling for international cooperation that benefits the human rights belonging to those persons who have a disability.
Another key contribution international cooperation can make to the promotion of human rights is to increase the capacity of persons with disabilities and other groups at high risk of exclusion. This is best done by supporting the establishment of organisations representing these groups and involving them in all international cooperation related actions. The CRPD gives clear guidance on this issue in Article 32.
Article 32 of the CRPD is based on the so-called twin-track approach, which combines disability-specific actions and ensures that all international cooperation is disability inclusive. Attention to the foundation of Article 32 is imperative, because recent investigation by multiple sources has shown that while many development agencies have adopted policies on the inclusion of persons with disabilities, few have actually included the significant issues of persons with disabilities in their areas of focus.
IDA (CRPD Forum) considers the twin-track approach relevant to the enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights, which it strongly supports and views as needing to include the rights of persons with disabilities, and endorses the notion that all international cooperation should be respectful of a human rights based approach.
Concrete proposals of action for the Human Rights Council
The Human Rights Council could ask the Human Rights Advisory Committee to produce a declaration on how to ensure that mainstream international cooperation respects the human rights based approach, as well as to prepare proposals on how to facilitate exchange of experiences in the area of international cooperation in the field of human rights. The UN Statement of Common Understanding on Human Rights-Based Approaches to Development Cooperation and Programming (the Common Understanding), which was adopted by the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) in 2003, could serve as inspiration for such a declaration.
The Human Rights Council should ensure that the 2010 review conference on the Millennium Development Goals strengthens the human rights based approach to the MDGs, including attention to the rights of persons with disabilities.