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UN expert to assess situation of persons with disabilities in Kuwait

GENEVA / KUWAIT CITY (22 November 2018) – UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, will conduct her first visit to Kuwait from 26 November to 5 December 2018.

“During my visit, I will focus on the steps undertaken by the State of Kuwait on the implementation of Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, especially in the areas of social protection and legal capacity,” she said. “Special attention will be given to the Kuwait National Development Plan 2035 that provides for the inclusion of people with disabilities.”

The Special Rapporteur reports to the UN Human Rights Council and advises on the realisation of the rights of people with disabilities word-wide, including by supporting governments to identify good practices, opportunities, challenges and protection gaps in this area. Her work is guided by the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities* and other international human rights standards.

The expert, who will visit the country at the invitation of the State of Kuwait, will meet with government representatives, as well as with organisations representing persons with disabilities, civil society actors, and UN officials. She will also visit schools, psychiatric hospitals and residential facilities.

“I look forward to engaging with policymakers, government authorities, persons with disabilities and civil society actors to better understand issues of inclusive education, access to justice, social inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities to decision-making processes,” Devandas-Aguilar said.

On 5 December 2018 at 2 p.m., Devandas-Aguilar will hold a news conference at United Nations House, Meshref Area Block 7a, Diplomatic Square, Kuwait City to share with the media her preliminary observations on the visit. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.
The Special Rapporteur will submit a comprehensive report to the UN Human Rights Council, including her findings and recommendations, in March 2020.


Ms. Catalina Devandas-Aguilar (Costa Rica) was designated as the first Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities in June 2014 by the UN Human Rights Council. Ms. Devandas-Aguilar has worked extensively on disability issues at the national, regional and international level with the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund, the UN unit responsible for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the World Bank. Her work has focused on the rights of women with disabilities and the rights of indigenous peoples with disabilities.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, country page – Kuwait

In Kuwait (during the visit): Ms. Cristina Michels (+96597549319, cmichels@ohchr.org)

In Geneva (before and during the visit): Ms. Maria Roberta Serrentino (+41229179915; mserrentino@ohchr.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+41 22 917 9383)  jlaurence@ohchr.org

This year is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rightswww.standup4humanrights.org