Protecting and empowering persons with disabilities in the COVID-19 context: the role and experiences of national human rights institutions
Webinar hosted by GANHRI with the participation of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the former Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Thursday | 3 September 2020 | 11.00 – 12.30 hours CET
Persons with disabilities are distinctively impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak and states’ responses to the contain the pandemic. They represent a diverse population of people with different impairments and support requirements, who face significant barriers in exercising their rights in general, and as a result of the pandemic emergency in particular. These barriers can be mitigated if appropriate actions and protective measures are taken by duty-bearers.
National human rights institutions (NHRIs) are mandated and well-placed to monitor experiences of people with disabilities, and to advise and hold duty-bearers to account for maintaining disabled peoples’ rights throughout emergency measures.
Whilst all NHRIs are mandated under the Paris Principles and their national enabling legislation to promote and protect the rights of disabled persons, some NHRIs have a specific role and mandate as designated monitoring mechanism under article 33 II of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Convention).
Their role and guiding authority – together with that of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Committee) and other global, regional and national bodies – is vital especially during this emergency.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, NHRIs in all regions are undertaking a range of engagement, advisory and monitoring activities, and are identifying common gaps such as lack of accessible information, heightened risks for persons with disabilities in situations of congregate living and a lack of continuity of essential supports.
Another concern is the lack of available, reliable disaggregated data on disability. Without this data, government cannot monitor any disproportionate burden that may fall on disabled people and ensure individualised and holistic support to disabled people affected by the pandemic and reponses to it. Collecting disability-disaggregated data is also a legal obligation of all State parties to the Convention.
This crisis also underscores how vital it is to have the full and meaningful involvement of persons with disabilities in the implementation and monitoring of the Convention, and conversely how grave the consequences when there is a failure to do so.
As noted by the Committee in its statement on June 9, 2020 “critical and urgent action is required to ensure that those most at risk, including persons with disabilities are explicitly included in public emergency planning and health response and recovery efforts”.
This webinar will discuss the roles and experiences of NHRIs from all regions in protecting and empowering persons with disabilities in the COVID-19 pandemic context.
Specifically, the webinar will be an opportunity for participants:
- To exchange on the range of engagement, advisory and monitoring activities that NHRIs in all regions are undertaking;
- To identify common gaps, and lessons;
- To develop practical strategies for NHRIs to employ to address the situation of persons with disabilties in the COVID-19 context and the common gaps identified; and
- To draw from the guidance and experience from the Special Rapporteur and the Committee, and identify opportunities for collaboration in support of persons with disabilities.
The webinar will also formally launch the study into the role and experiences of NHRIs as national monitoring mechanisms under article 33 II of the Convention, commissioned by GANHRI and conducted by the Canadian Human Rights Commisssion.
Members and staff of NHRIs from all regions
1,5 hour is allocated for this webinar.
NHRI participants are encouraged to participate in the GANHRI-hosted community of practice for NHRIs on the human rights dimensions of COVID-19 which provides an opportunity for NHRIs to exchange experiences, discuss approaches and seek advice and assistance (for login please email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
A link will be sent to registered participants.
At the GANHRI Head Office: email@example.com
11:00 -11:10 Welcome by GANHRI
11.10-11.15 Catalina Devandas, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the UN and former Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
11.15-11.25 Miyeon Kim and Rosemary Kayess, members and NHRI focal points, Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
11.25-11.30 Bokankatla Malatji, Commissioner, South Africa Human Rights Commission
11.30-11.35 Iris Elliott, Head of Policy and Research, Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission
11.50-11.55 Survey report on NHRIs and article 33 II CRPD, video presentation, Carleen McGuinty, Canadian Human Rights Commission
11.55-12.15 Q&A (continued)
12.15-12.20 Katharina Rose, GANHRI Geneva Representative – Concluding Remarks
12.20-12.30 Paula Tesoriero, Commissioner, New Zealand Human Rights Commission and GANHRI WG Chair – summary and way forward
12.30 Close of webinar