The role of organisations of persons with disabilities and National Human Rights Institutions
GANHRI-APF side-event to the 9th session of COSP
NHRIs from across the globe have described their work to
promote the rights of people with disabilities at a special UN side event in
National human rights institutions (NHRIs) from across the
globe have described their work to promote and protect the rights of people
with disabilities at a special side event held in conjunction with the 9th
Session of the UN Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights
of Persons with Disabilities.
Speakers from the NHRIs of Costa Rica (Americas), Finland
(Europe), Morocco (Africa) and New Zealand (Asia Pacific) shared stories of
working in partnership with disabled peoples' organisations, advocating for
greater respect for the rights of people with disabilities, and monitoring
domestic implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Disability Discrimination Commissioner Paul Gibson from the New Zealand Human
Rights Commission spoke of his Commission's work to "add
value" in complex areas of law and policy, such as supported decision
making for people with disabilities, and in relation to bioethical questions
that range from pre-natal issues to end-of-life matters.
He also highlighted the Commission's initiative to promote
the election of the first
person with an intellectual disability to serve on the UN Committee on
the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which he said reflected the
Commission's commitment to fostering there was a broad range of voices speaking
on issues that concern people with disabilities.
Representatives from civil society also addressed the side
event and noted the value of forming genuine partnerships with NHRIs in their
The side event also sought to promote the value of NHRI
participation in the Conference of State Parties and in other New York-based UN
bodies and mechanisms.
The participation of NHRIs in international human rights
discussions was warmly welcomed by the Government of Australia, who praised the
"transparency and accountability" that NHRIs generate through their
domestic monitoring efforts.
These comments were echoed by the Government of Germany who
described the involvement of NHRIs in helping to draft the Convention on the
Rights of Persons with Disabilities as "exemplary of what NHRIs can
contribute when they get the opportunity".
Professor Gerard Quin, who represented NHRIs in that
drafting process, said the Convention helps "put in place an architecture
for sustained change" by establishing clear roles for government, civil
society and NHRIs, the latter who can use their monitoring responsibilities to
provide a "reality check" on the human rights situation of people
Professor Quinn also discussed the draft
guidelines developed by the UN Committee on
the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on the establishment of
independent monitoring frameworks and on their participation in the work of the
Professor Beate Rudolf, GANHRI Chairperson and Director of
the German Institute for Human Rights, chaired the side event, while Rosemary
Kayess, human rights lawyer andDirector of the Human Rights and Disability
Project, facilitated the general discussion.
The well attended side-event – held on 14 June 2016 – was
hosted by the APF and the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions
(GANHRI) and co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Australia, Germany,
Ireland, Morocco, Mongolia and New Zealand.
Date: 17 June 2016
Source: Asia Pacific Forum
Picture: Ombudswomen of Costa Rica and Secretary of GANHRI, Montserrat Solano Carboni, addressing the side-event
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