Appendix 1 Background information on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, including reporting, monitoring and parallel reporting
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Convention) was ratified by UK Government on 8 June 2009. It makes it explicit that disabled people have and should enjoy the same human rights as everyone else. It applies to all disabled people and covers all areas of life including education, employment, health, culture, liberty and accessibility.
An Easyread version of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is available here.
The Convention does not establish new human rights for disabled people. It builds on existing international human rights instruments in order to explicitly reaffirm the human rights of disabled people. It sets an internationally recognised benchmark for the human rights of disabled people against which States, including the UK, will be measured.
The Convention is binding on the UK as a matter of international law but does not form part of domestic UK law. There are no mechanisms for an individual to enforce convention obligations, and no sanctions, other than the political/presentational ones of being alleged to be in breach, or being found in breach. However, it may have an interpretative influence in both domestic and human rights jurisprudence, in particular in human rights cases and before the European Court of Human Rights .
The Convention sets out with greater clarity the obligation on States to promote, protect, and ensure the human rights that disabled people already have, so that they are treated on an equal basis with other people. This will help shape protection of disabled people's human rights for the future, and ensure that disabled people can enjoy the human rights that non-disabled people already enjoy.
The Convention has a wide field of application. It encompasses civil and political, as well as economic, social and cultural rights. These rights cover all areas of life including: the right to life, liberty and security of the person; access to justice; personal mobility; health; education; work; recreation; and provision for equal recognition of disabled people before the law. It also makes specific provision in respect of the rights of disabled women and disabled children.
The text of the Convention can be found on the UN Enable website at http://www.un.org/disabilities/. Background can also be found on the ODI website at http://www.odi.gov.uk/working/un-convention/.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Scottish Human Rights Commission have been designated to provide an independent mechanism to 'promote, protect and monitor implementation of the Convention'. They will submit their independent report to the UN in 2011.
In addition, other organisations, including those of disabled people themselves, may chose to submit parallel or 'shadow' reports to the UN. The UN can be expected to take these reports seriously and to base any examination of the UK Government - and Devolved Administrations - on the issues they raise, as well as what may be contained in the Government report.
Anyone, individuals or organisations, wishing to submit a parallel report (sometimes called 'shadow' report) can do so. This is intended to ensure that the Committee has a complete picture of law, policy and practice. There is no set form but there is good practice. A good general (short) guide to working with UN treaty bodies is prepared by the International Service for Human Rights www.ishr.ch/guides-to-the-un-system/simple-guide-to-treaty-bodies.
Parallel reports should be submitted to the secretariat of the CRPD at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights:
CRPD secretariat, UNOG- OHCHR, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Visiting address: Palais Wilson, 52 Rue des Pâquis, 1201, Geneva, Switzerland
Mr. Robert Ouko, Administrative Assistant - CRPD: 0041229179703