The eighth Conference of States Parties (COSP) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was held at the United Nations headquarters in New York City from 9-11 June 2015.
Civil Society Global Forum
The Civil Society Global Forum was held on 8th June. This forum is a space where Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) and other relevant stakeholders meet annually to discuss gaps, opportunities and challenges faced by persons with disabilities at a global level. The Forum was a great space to discuss and promote dialogue between various stakeholders of the disability movement. It also laid the ground for the 8th session of the COSP to the COSP to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
COSP opening address
The 8th session of the COSP was formally inaugurated by the UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson. Mr. Eliasson emphasised the importance of the CRPD especially in the post-2015 process, which he called ‘a time for action’. He encouraged all State Parties to shape an inclusive, accessible and sustainable society for all by adopting laws and policies which give effect to the rights enshrined in the Convention, hence translating rights into reality.
CBM staff participated in a number of side events.
Diane Kingston, Deputy Director – Advocacy and Alliances and Expert Committee Member of the CRPD, spoke about preventing violence against women and girls with disabilities. According to her, this is a crucial topic which is ignored by both the disability community as well as women groups. Underlining the lack of a gender perspective in disability policies, Diane listed the following three main concerns:
1) Violence against women and girls with disabilities (for example forced sterilisation, sexual abuse, rape, involuntary abortion etc)
2) Restriction of their sexual and reproductive rights (for example removal of children from parents with disabilities especially women with disabilities, substituted decision making, lack of sexual and reproductive health services, family planning etc)
3) Intersectional discrimination
Diane also presented on the main panel and spoke about new pathways for cooperation between national human rights institutions and the CRPD Committee in monitoring the CRPD.
Valerie Scherrer (Director of the Emergency Response Unit) spoke about successful multilateral partnerships that led to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). Emphasising CBM’s work is bridging the gap between grassroot organisations and coordination mechanismsin emergency response, Valerie highlighted the importance of working on preparedness in emergencies for persons with disabilities.
Elizabeth Lockwood, CBM representative at the UN, also spoke about leveraging partnerships for children with disabilities in the context of DRR and humanitarian action.
CBM side event
CBM also hosted a side event at the Ugandan Mission on the intersectionality between the CRPD and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in relation to persons with disabilities. Both Conventions are human rights documents promoting dignity, fundamental freedom and eliminating discrimination. All stakeholders emphasized the need to move beyond policy making and programming levels
The Conference of States Parties to the CRPD this year provided an excellent space for persons with disabilities, particularly from the global South to discuss key global issues, including the post-2015 development agenda, disaster risk reduction and humanitarian response, women and girls with disabilities, Indigenous persons with disabilities, and children and youth with disabilities.Elizabeth Lockwood