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The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Last week, the Committee met to talk about Peru, Hungary, Argentina and China.
The 7th session of the UN Committee on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD Committee) was held on 16-20 April 2012 in Geneva. It reviewed the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Peru, Hungary, Argentina and China.
After the opening statements the Committee examined the initial report of Peru in a public meeting. The Committee then adopted lists of issues for the initial reports of China, Argentina and Hungary, which will be considered at the next session.
The Committee congratulated Peru on the efforts made to implement the Convention through the adoption of laws, policies, plans and programmes, including among others, the adoption of the Plan on Equality of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities 2009-2018, a draft bill on the rights of persons with disabilities and an increase in funding for programmes for persons with disabilities.
Nonetheless the Committee also conveyed their worry over some crucial issues that still need to be worked on by the State. Fundamental rights such as the right to an identity or the right to participate in political and public life are still being denied to a lot of people with disabilities living in rural areas of psychiatric hospital for lack of proper identification documents. The Committee found the conditions of those institutions rather lacking and worrisome especially after a visit to one of the biggest hospitals were patients were not given proper rehabilitation services for years. The committee brought forth many other issues such as the lack of social security protection for people with disabilities and the directives still in existence permitting forced sterilisation of people qualified as “mentally incompetent”.
After the public meetings on the Peru report, the Committee held a series of private meetings to discuss other more general matters. At the session, the Committee decided to endorse the outcomes of the Dublin II meeting. The Dublin II outcome document is a text to strengthen the United Nations Human Rights Treaty body system. This means to strengthen the independent bodies mandated to review a State’s implementation of its human rights obligations.The committee also decided that an annual half-day of General Discussion would commence in the ninth session, to be held in April 2013. The first theme will be Women and Girls with Disabilities.
Up until now there has been only one session per year however the General Assembly has granted in a resolution an additional week of work per year to the Committee. That is why there will also be another Committee session from 17 to 28 September in 2012, during which it will review the initial reports of China, Argentina and Hungary and adopt a list of issues for Paraguay.
These extra sessions are very necessary. According to Ronald Mc Callum, Chairperson of the Committee 27 reports have been handed in since 2011, there is a 7 year backlog. Also 49 countries are overdue in presenting their reports.
To see the full text of concluding observation of the initial report on Peru, please click here.