12.08.2015 Limbering up for the Geneva marathon – week one

The countdown has begun with only four days before the opening of the 14th session of the UN CRPD Committee .  I’ve done my preparation, and now I have a 4-week marathon in Geneva of back-to- back examinations, side events and briefings, all in the company of my 17 outstanding colleagues.

I’ll blog with a list of events each week, so you don’t get exhausted reading!

Week one
On the start line on Monday 17th August the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) will have the opportunity to brief the Committee on its engagement with UN agencies and bodies.  We will also hear an update from the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Catalina Devandas.  Organisations of persons with disabilities from Portugal will brief the Committee at lunchtime, then the Committee will agree on a list of questions for Portugal to answer ahead of their examination in March 2016.  To finish the day the working group on article 6 (women and girls with disabilities), which I am a member, will discuss the 70 or so contributions we have received on our draft general comment.

On Tuesday 18th August we’ll start the day with a briefing by the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights, followed by presentations and Q&A’s with organisations of persons with disabilities from Kenya, Ukraine and Gabon.  As the Country Rapporteur leading the constructive dialogue (exam) for Gabon, meeting persons with disabilities and hearing about their situation is critical.   In the afternoon, Martin Babu, Committee member from Uganda will lead the constructive dialogue with Kenya.

After a briefing by the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (WNUSP) on women with disabilities, we continue the exam of Kenya on Wednesday 19th Augustmorning – each country has a 6 hour dialogue with the whole Committee.  In the afternoon the Ukrainian delegation will have its dialogue with the Committee, led by Safak Pavey, Committee member from Turkey.  It will be the first country we examine who are in a conflict situation.

On Thursday 20th August the Ukraine examination continues in the morning, followed by the Gabon constructive dialogue in the afternoon.  The Gabonese delegation will make an opening presentation, and then as the Country Rapporteur, I will make an opening speech, which gives me the opportunity to highlight key positive areas and areas needing improvement in the country.

The Gabon exam continues on Friday 21st August morning, followed by a closed session where the Committee members discuss any communications received under its Optional Protocol (OP).  This is where individuals or groups of people from countries which have ratified the OP can petition the CRPD committee with complaints about their human rights.

Thanks to the International Disability Alliance (IDA), you can watch all the examinations live at: www.treatybodywebcast.org

I will be tweeting from @Diane_CBM with precise timings to tune in.

You can also read summaries of the examinations on the UN media website in Geneva.

Catch me again for the second leg – week two (24th -28th August)