Report on statistics and data collection under article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

28 December 2021
Issued by:
Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
To be presented:
To the HRC at its 49th session, March 2022


In its resolution 43/23, the Human Rights Council requested the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) prepare a thematic study on statistics and data collection under article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) for consideration at its 49th session.


Under article 31 of the treaty, States commit to “undertake to collect appropriate information, including statistical and research data, to enable them to formulate and implement policies to give effect to the present Convention.” Hence, data collection should aim at fulfilling the purpose of the treaty and measurement should address both dimensions of disability, the individual dimension, identifying persons with disabilities and, the social dimension, the barriers that hinder their effective participation on an equal basis with others.

Across the globe, persons with disabilities continue to be left behind and overlooked in policy reform and development due to the absence of information and data about them. Efforts to collect data, such as censuses and household surveys, fail to systematically disaggregate by disability, thereby losing important opportunities to establish a baseline to know, compare and advance the situation of persons with disabilities in relation with the broader population. Where disaggregation and/or disability assessments are undertaken, they may not always serve their purpose and data collection and analysis do not commonly link human rights obligations, development commitments and concrete actions to advance policy implementation in line with the Convention. Disability-specific surveys are also difficult to implement and their infrequent practice propagates data gaps. The lack of consistency and harmonization of data across different instruments hinders reliable data collection and usage. Furthermore, there is a need to strengthen privacy of data concerning persons with disabilities and to better monitor disclosure of disability-related data, particularly given the risks associated with big data. Persons with disabilities also have the right to information on an equal basis with others, yet often face barriers due to inaccessible data and information and are denied participation to contribute to policy implementation through data analysis and use.

In order to implement article 31 of the Convention, States should ensure systematic disaggregation by disability in their censuses and household surveys, being guided by the Washington Group Short Set questions, conduct regular disability-specific surveys, systematize administrative data collection processes and take steps to harmonize disability data collection across diverse data tools. Human rights indicators can also help States to measure and monitor action to implement national plans and programmes related to persons with disabilities, as well as the Convention and policy commitments enshrined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Disability assessment tools should be fit for purpose to ensure that all eligible persons with disabilities can access services and support to exercise their rights on an equal basis with others. States should strengthen data protection laws to include persons with disabilities and ensure statistical confidentiality, and promote access to accessible information to enable persons with disabilities to participate in the design, implementation and monitoring of data-related policies and, more broadly, the Convention.

Inputs received

Member states


Intergovernmental Organizations

NGOs and Civil Society Organizations