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Canada: UN expert on disability rights to visit


GENEVA (29 March 2019) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, will conduct an official visit to Canada from 2 to 12 April 2019 to assess the situation of people with disabilities.

“This is my first visit to Canada and I am eager to learn about the concrete measures that the central and provincial authorities are taking to implement the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities,” Devandas-Aguilar said.

“I also intend to identify challenges and gaps in protection for people with disabilities in order to formulate concrete recommendations,” she added.

The Special Rapporteur will meet federal and provincial Government representatives, and independent human rights bodies, as well as people with disabilities and their representative organisations.

Devandas-Aguilar will travel to Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Fredericton and Halifax, where she will visit an inclusive school, an institution for people with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities, a psychiatric facility, and community-based services for people with disabilities.

“My visit will focus primarily on the issues of inclusive education, accessibility, legal capacity and supported decision-making for people with intellectual disabilities, and the particular situation of women, girls and indigenous peoples with disabilities,” the human rights expert said.

Devandas-Aguilar will hold a press conference on 12 April at the end of her mission to share her preliminary observations. It will begin at 12:30 pm local time at the Parliamentary Precinct, Wellington Str., Ottawa, in Room 135-B, West Block. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists accredited by the Parliamentary Press Gallery.

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: Canada

For press enquiries and additional information, please contact:

In Canada (during the visit):
Ms Alina Grigoras, (+41 79 444 4113, agrigoras@ohchr.org)

In Geneva (before and after the visit):
Ms Alina Grigoras, (+41 22 917 9853, agrigoras@ohchr.org), or write to sr.disability@ohchr.org

In Geneva (during the visit):
Ms Cristina Michels (+41 22 928 9866 / cmichels@ohchr.org) or write to sr.disability@ohchr.org

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

Follow news related to the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts.

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