GENEVA (29 March 2023) – The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) today issued its findings on Angola, Argentina, Georgia, Peru, Togo and Tunisia, after reviewing the six States parties during its latest session.
The findings contain the Committee’s main concerns and recommendations on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as positive aspects. Key highlights include:
In Angola, substituted decision-making is still permitted, which allows others to act on behalf of people with disabilities in property and financial management, legal contracts and health issues, denying people with disabilities their rights to make certain decisions due to their psychosocial and/or intellectual disability. The Committee asked Angola to guarantee people with disabilities equal recognition before the law. It also recommended that the State party establish supported decision-making mechanisms in all areas of life.
Despite the provision in the Presidential Decree for a minimum of 4 per cent of public sector jobs and 2 per cent of private sector jobs to be reserved for people with disabilities, according to available estimates, these targets have not been met. The Committee called on Angola to enforce the implementation of such employment quotas for people with disabilities in both the public and private sectors, such as through the imposition of penalties.
The Committee was concerned about the limited progress in the deinstitutionalisation of people with disabilities, the limited efforts in closing psychiatric hospitals in accordance with the Mental Health Law, and the lack of support for independent living in the community. It asked Argentina to adopt a comprehensive plan for the deinstitutionalisation, with specific goals, time frames, evaluation measures and the necessary resources, and guarantee support for independent living, including personal assistance, accessible and affordable housing, as well as home-based and community-based mental health services.
The Committee expressed concern that, within the framework of the National Civil and Commercial Code, judicial designation of supports implies the restriction of the legal capacity of people with disabilities. The Committee recommended that Argentina ensure equal recognition before the law for all people with disabilities, eliminate the legal provisions allowing the restriction of their legal capacity, and implement supported decision-making mechanisms and safeguards to ensure their will and preferences are respected.
The Committee was concerned that national funding for organisations of people with disabilities is limited and that organisations of people with disabilities mainly rely on international cooperation to function and carry out their advocacy work. It asked Georgia to ensure the freedom of association of people with disabilities, including by ensuring access to national and legitimate foreign funding.
Regarding meaningful participation in public decision-making, the Committee raised concerns that the opinions of people with disabilities are often disregarded in consultations and that there is a lack of timely and accessible information about matters subject to public discussion. It recommended that Georgia introduce mandatory and regular consultations, provide due weight to the opinions of people with disabilities, and ensure the participation of organisations representing women and girls with disabilities, people with intellectual disabilities, as well as children with disabilities. It also underlined the requirement of developing information in Easy Read and other accessible formats for people with disabilities in public consultation.
The Committee was particularly alarmed by authorities’ plans to build more Residential Care Centers, which function as closed institutions for a large population of children and adults with disabilities. The Committee was also concerned about the lack of a national strategy to enable people with disabilities to live independently and to be included in the community. It urged Peru to adopt a national, multisectoral and comprehensive plan for the deinstitutionalisation with specific time frames and necessary financial resources. It also called on the State party to ensure that people with disabilities have access to housing alternatives in the community, support networks and services.
The Committee questioned the significant percentage of students with disabilities who are not enrolled or retained in educational programs due to their limited economic resources and the persistent denial of admission based on disability. The Committee urged Peru to allocate more financial resources for the provision of reasonable accommodation for students with disabilities, as well as for the implementation and expansion of the Educational Support Service, and to create a permanent monitoring mechanism to ensure access to school for all students with disabilities. It also asked Peru to increase human and financial resources to enhance coverage of the Early Intervention Programs (PRITE).
The Committee expressed concerns about the absence of an anti-discrimination framework prohibiting discrimination based on disability, the denial of reasonable accommodation, and the ongoing intersectional discrimination against people with disabilities. It called on Togo to take legislative measures to explicitly recognise that the denial of reasonable accommodation constitutes discrimination based on disability. It also asked Togo to review the existing anti-discrimination legislation to acknowledge multiple and intersectional forms of discrimination.
The Committee noted with concern the lack of inclusion of disability perspective in gender-related legislation and policies, such as a national policy on equity and gender equality, which would lead to further marginalisation and exclusion of women and girls with disabilities in public and political life. The Committee recommended that Togo mainstream the rights of women and girls with disabilities into all gender legislation and incorporate a gender perspective in disability policies and programmes.
The Committee queried the country’s guardianship system and substituted decision-making policy for people with disability. It also raised concern that the existing legislation allows banks to limit the access of people with disabilities, including deaf and blind persons, to their own money and assets when they are not accompanied by a witness. The Committee urged Tunisia to review its legislation to ensure that people with disabilities, including people with intellectual disabilities and people with psychosocial disabilities, have autonomy, privacy and independence in their financial transactions.
Concerning that people with disabilities have not been meaningfully involved in the design and implementation of the awareness-raising programmes run by the Government, the Committee recommended that Tunisia take steps to ensure that people with disabilities, including women and children, are effectively and meaningfully engaged in planning and executing such policy and programmes.