25 March 2022
The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities this afternoon closed its twenty-sixth session after adopting its concluding observations on the reports of Hungary, Jamaica, Mexico, Switzerland and Venezuela. The Committee also adopted the report of its twenty-sixth session.
In closing remarks, Rosemary Kayess, Committee Chairperson, thanked the States parties for their willingness to participate in a hybrid manner and the positive attitudes of the delegations. The session had been undertaken with the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, instigated by the Russian Federation, and the Committee had received distressing reports about the situation of people with disabilities in Ukraine. The Committee was profoundly concerned about the situation of persons with disabilities in Ukraine and their extremely vulnerable situation. The Committee would continue to participate in measures to highlight those issues, as well as States parties’ obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law, including the Convention.
Amalia Gamio, Committee Vice-Chair, informed the Committee and the public about the decisions adopted by the Committee during the twenty-sixth session and contained in the session report. In addition to adopting the concluding observations on Hungary, Jamaica, Mexico, Switzerland and Venezuela, the Committee had adopted the list of issues prior to the submission of the combined second and third periodic report of the European Union. The Committee had considered five individual communications, finding violations of the Convention in two of them. The Committee had decided to establish an inquiry pursuant to article 6 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention. The Committee had approved the work plan of its working group on women and girls with disabilities.
The Committee had discussed its first draft of a general comment on the rights of persons with disabilities to work and employment. Having discussed during its session draft guidelines on deinstitutionalisation, the Committee would publish them and launch in May a call for submissions. The Committee had engaged with the World Health Organization and the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities concerning the draft guidelines on mental health legislation and human rights.
The Committee’s twenty-seventh session would be held in Geneva from 15 August to 9 September 2022, subject to confirmation by the Secretariat. At that session, the Committee would consider the reports of Bangladesh; China; Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China; Macau, Special Administrative Region of China; Indonesia; Japan; Lao People’s Democratic Republic; New Zealand; Republic of Korea and Singapore.
At the beginning of the meeting, civil society members who could not be accommodated at the opening meeting spoke.
Juan Angel Gouveia, Board Member of the International Disability Alliance, said events unfolding in Eastern Europe were shocking, noting their impact on the lives of thousands of people, including persons with disabilities, and underscoring that humanitarian responses were still not inclusive.
Sue Swenson, President of Inclusion International in a video message expressed support for the development of the guidelines on deinstitutionalisation, noting that in times of pandemic and armed conflicts, it was clear that people with disabilities in institutions were exposed to higher risks. It was more urgent than ever to close institutions and ensure people with disabilities were included in the community.
Dragana Ciric Milovanovic of Disability Rights International said hundreds of thousands of children and adults with disabilities were trapped in Ukrainian institutions and under imminent harm to their lives, urgently calling on all State and non-State actors to immediately protect the lives of children and adults with disabilities currently placed in institutions.
Balázs Könnyid, Secretary General of the Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights of Hungary said the Commissioner considered it important to promote supported decision-making, deinstitutionalisation and accessibility.
In a statement read by the Secretariat, Paula Tesoriero, Disability Rights Commissioner at the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, on behalf of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, said it was important that neighbouring and other States providing refuge for those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine prioritised persons with disabilities including removing any exclusions in current refugee policies.
The twenty-seventh session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is scheduled to be held in Geneva from 15 August to 9 September 2022.
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not an official record