India signed the CRPD on 30 March 2007, the day it opened for signatures. On 1 October 2007, the government ratified the CRPD, and in doing so, made a commitment to the people of India and to the international community on its obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, by all people with disabilities, on equal basis with others.
Every country in the Asian Region which has ratified or is poised to ratify the CRPD re-iterates this promise to all people with disabilities, including people with psychosocial disabilities.
As on date, you may yourself check and verify the status of your country with respect to ratification of the UNCRPD at the following URL:
The CRPD is like the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Child Rights Convention (CRC), Convention against Torture, etc. It is
considered “hard law”, relative to the Standard Principles, Rules, Declarations, and other instruments that UN bodies adopt every now and then. A special convention on people with disabilities was envisioned in order to fill the huge gap that other conventions left.
For example, while CEDAW gave a more specific international legal framework for concepts such as “legal capacity” and “discrimination”, it did not specifically address
issues of people/women with disabilities.
The CRPD promises a “shift of paradigm”. It shifts the policy gaze away from the medical model to a more encompassing social paradigm, where long-term impairment (physical, mental, sensory, or intellectual) combined with social barriers creates disability.
While the CRPD has been considered as not providing for any new rights, it melds together socio-economic and civil-political rights in ways that makes human rights truly
indivisible, inalienable and universal for all people with disabilities. The CRPD also, in its preamble, recognises multiple discrimination against people with disabilities, especially
women and children.
The CRPD inscribed the principle of participation for people with disabilities in its Article 4.3.4 It also recognises the existing and potential contributions made by persons with disabilities to the overall well-being, and diversity of communities. By introducing the new concept of “reasonable accommodation”, an operational term for all people with disabilities, the CRPD placed an obligation on communities (see Article 2, on ‘Definitions’)
including private agencies:
“to provide necessary and appropriate modifi cations and adjustments,
not imposing a disproportionate or undue burden, where needed in a
particular case, to ensure equal enjoyment of all human rights and
fundamental freedoms on equal basis with others.”
Not providing “reasonable accommodation” to a person with a disability is considered discrimination, taking the notion of discrimination to a higher level of inclusion.
According to many experts in the field, the CRPD is a “coming of age” as far as UN conventions go, in the interpretive breadth and depth of insight on the notion of personal identity, equality and non-discrimination, and the general human rights discourse. It places the person with a dis ability at the centre of the discourse.
Disability is considered evidence of human diversity and potential. When all the CRPD rights are ensured by a state, we can expect a world where people with disabilities are fully included and participating in their communities, living independently, with dignity, and able to make their own choices and contributions.
There is a view expressed in international advocacy that Article 19, embodying the “right to live independently and being fully included in the community” is perhaps a new right offered by the CRPD. For people with psychosocial disabilities, this could be the foundational right on which to pitch all advocacy efforts. For example, the state can no longer use the argument, “no one is claiming these people”, for the indefinite incarceration of people with disabilities in mental asylums and other places of penal custody.
Serving on the Committee from Asia presently, are a Member from Thailand and one from Korea.
Please feel free to add a few of the most useful resources that you know of.