02.03.2017

Equality, non-discrimination and CBM

Each  year the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva has an interactive dialogue on disability. Find out more about the HRC here. You can watch the discussion here.

The theme of this years report is on equality and non discrimination, article 5 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) publishes its thematic report to the HRC on theme as the background to the discussion. Read an easy read version here

The importance of this event is captured by Facundo Chavez, Human Rights and Disability Advisor (OHCHR) ‘Promoting equality and non-discrimination in the UN Human Rights Council is key for the international community to engage on bridging the gap on inequalities within and among countries’.

For CBM, equality and non-discrimination is critical to our mandate to inspire action and transformative change, including challenging discrimination which in the turn leads to reduced opportunities for persons with disabilities to fully participate in economic, social, cultural, civil and political life. CBM promotes strengthening systems and service provision, especially at the national level to ensure equality and non-discrimination. In addition, our mandate includes gender equality which specifically addresses multiple and intersectional discrimination faced by women and girls with disabilities. This is aligned to not only to article 5 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities- CRPD – (as well as article 6 and General Comment No. 3) but also to Sustainable Development Goal goal 5 on gender equality.

If Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals promise to ‘leave no one behind’, the transformative power of a comprehensive approach to discrimination and substantive equality as stated in the CRPD must be harnessed. A non-discrimination approach and/or protection against discrimination alone does not address the rights persons with disabilities. Instead substantive equality demands that social systems and structures transforms and changes. Positive measures must be taken by States and changes must be made to the underlying physical environment, information and communication provision. In additions specific support for persons with disabilities, including reasonable accommodation, must be implemented to achieve equality. The denial of reasonable accommodation must be understood as disability- based discrimination.  And essentially budgets and resources must be allocated to achieve these changes.

In countries where CBM works we must support governments to design responses to difference and diversity that addresses the heterogeneity of persons with disabilities and specifically addresses multiple and intersectional discrimination, for example indigenous women with disabilities living in rural areas. We must ensure reasonable accommodation is provided to enable all persons with disabilities to participate in all aspects of life, including critically in fora where decision- making affects them, from the global to the local levels.

The 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goal 10 on reducing inequality including on the basis of disability, must be based on the concept of discrimination in the CRPD if the implementation is going to address all persons with disabilities in all parts of the world.

CBM is committed to challenging discrimination across its stakeholder constituencies, whether donors, partners, civil society, alliances or governments. Both the CRPD and the 2030 Agenda provide valuable tools and benchmarks to combatting discrimination and achieving substantive equality for persons with disabilities. We must harness them to drive our vision forward.