Equal Rights Trust Provides Submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Equal Rights Trust has made a submission to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in response to its consultation on the Outline of the Draft General Comment on Article 5 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which guarantees the rights to equality and non-discrimination.

The consultation provides an important opportunity for the Committee to clarify understanding of the rights to equality and non-discrimination under the CRPD. The Trust’s recommendations are based on the unified human rights framework on equality as elaborated in the Declaration of Principles on Equality. The Declaration sets out international best practice standards on the right to equality and was drafted and adopted by 128 prominent equality and human rights experts from more than 40 different countries.

What We Recommend

We call on the Committee to elaborate on the content and scope of Article 5 and for understanding to be clarified in three key respects as outlined in the Declaration:

(1) That the right to equality entails equal participation in all areas of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

(2) That positive action is necessary to ensure the full enjoyment of the right to equality, and that states have an obligation to take positive action measures in cases where substantive inequalities are identified.

(3)  That the right to non-discrimination as protected in the CRPD and other instruments of international law entails protection from direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and failure to make reasonable accommodation.

Our submission provides detailed comments on the proposed Outline of the Draft General Comment, highlighting the most pertinent issues and linking back to these three areas. We conclude by proposing an amended structure to the Outline. To read the submission click here.

Why is the Committee Holding a Consultation?

The Committee decided to open the consultation to interested stakeholders following its 17th Session held earlier this year after dialogue with state parties demonstrated a need to clarify the interpretation of Article 5. Notably the Committee identified a need to clarify the limits and duties of reasonable accommodation; address gaps in intersectional discrimination research; and ensure that disability-based discrimination is interpreted in line with the human rights model of disability.

Next Steps

We will continue to advocate for clarification of the content of the rights to equality and non-discrimination under international human rights law, including by participating further in the Committee’s consultation. The next step in this process is a Day of General Discussion during the 18th Session of the Committee in August 2017.

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