20.08.2015

Reporting back on the first leg of the Geneva marathon

The opening of the 14th session of the UN CRPD committee covered:

  • A summary of the work we did in between the 13th and 14th sessions, including the 8thConference of States Parties
  • Addresses from the Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility and the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • Updates from UN agencies and bodies including: OHCHR, DESA, UNICEF, WIPO & UN Women. Information shared included the theme for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities ‘implementation of the SDGs’; OHCHR announced a forthcoming thematic study on article 11 & the UN Social Forum in Geneva in October 2016 will focus on the CRPD.
  • Updates form NGOs including: International Disability Alliance, International Disability and Development Consortium, World Federation of the Deaf, the European Disability Forum and Human Rights Watch to name a few! Read more detailed information here.


The Committee considered the initial report of Kenya on 18th August, who brought the highest ranking delegation to date, including the country’s Attorney-General. The constructive dialogue included questions on barriers to women and children with disabilities, legal remedies in the justice system, accessibility standards, monitoring and implementation of the Convention and social protection amongst others. To read a summary of the 6-hour dialogue click here. To view and listen to the archive of the live webcast, click here. The Concluding Observations (recommendations to Kenya) will be adopted on 28th August.

Following Kenya was the consideration of the initial report of Ukraine. There were of course many questions about the emergency situation in the east of the country. These included questions with regard to including persons with disabilities in accessing bomb shelters and evacuation from institutions etc.

There were also questions on segregation, abandonment and institutionalisation of children. We also discussed coercive medical measures, violence against women with disabilities, reasonable accommodation, and the use of the term ‘invalidity’ to describe persons with disabilities. To read a summary of the 6-hour dialogue click here. To view and listen to the archive of the live webcast, click here.

The Concluding Observations (recommendations to Ukraine) will be adopted by the Committee on the 31st August.

Our final consideration of an initial report for the week came from Gabon. As Country Rapporteur, I made an opening statement and supported my colleagues in asking questions. The questions ranged from the under estimation of the population of persons with disabilities (2%) to segregated education to inaccessible health care.

I closed the 6-hour dialogue with some key areas of concern and some proposals for moving forward. To read a summary of the dialogue click here. To view and listen to the archive of the live webcast, click here. The Concluding Observations (recommendations to Gabon) will be adopted by the Committee on August 31st.

Now the weekend is upon us, it is time to rest and recover!