100413 UNOHCR Monitoring CRPD

100413 Monitoring the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Guidance for human rights monitors
Professional training series No. 17

Women, men and children with disabilities are too often amongst the most marginalized in all societies and face unique challenges in the enjoyment of their human rights. For a long time it was assumed that such challenges were the natural and unavoidable consequence of their physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment.

The adoption and the entry into force of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol challenge such attitudes and mark a profound shift in existing approaches towards
disability. In the Convention, the focus is no longer on a perceived “wrongness” of the person, with the impairment seen as a matter of deficiency or disease. On the contrary, the Convention views disability as a “pathology of society”, that is, as the result of the failure of societies to be inclusive and to accommodate individual differences. Societies need to change, not the individual, and the Convention provides a road map for such change.

Human rights monitoring can play a key role in supporting States to effectively implement the Convention at national level and in empowering persons with disabilities to become increasingly aware of their rights, therefore bringing about positive change in the lives of persons with disabilities across regions. Human rights work requires preparation, technical skills and substantive knowledge in order to be effectively conducted.

The purpose of this publication is to assist United Nations human rights officers and other human rights monitors—including from Governments, national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations—to engage in monitoring the rights of persons with disabilities, in line with the Convention. This publication provides an explanation of the paradigm shift that the Convention enshrines and of the scope,
standards and principles recognized by it. Furthermore, it proposes a methodology for monitoring the rights of persons with disabilities, and provides useful advice on issues to consider when working with persons with disabilities.

Persons with disabilities have historically been invisible in the human rights system and have been overlooked in human rights work. This is no longer acceptable. This publication will assist those engaged in human rights monitoring to effectively include the perspective of persons with disabilities in their activities, by not only integrating persons with disabilities in general monitoring work, but also by paying specific attention to monitoring the situation and enjoyment of rights by persons with disabilities where required.