Article 33: Coordinate! Monitor! Participate!

12 April 2011, Geneva (Switzerland) and Budapest (Hungary). At the United Nations in Geneva today, MDAC launched a 60-page publication entitled, “Building the Architecture for Change: Guidelines on Article 33 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).”

Today’s panel discussion on Article 33 of the CRPD took place during the 5th session of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD Committee) in Geneva. As expressed by MDAC Executive Director Oliver Lewis, “Article 33 of the Convention has the potential to close the startling gap between the promise of human rights and people’s lived experiences. We hope that these guidelines assist governments in implementing human rights, and assist civil society as well as the Committee to monitor such implementation.”

In addition to launching the Article 33 guidelines, today, MDAC presented a written submission to the CRPD Committee with recommendations that the Committee focus attention on Article 33 including through consideration of issuing a general comment and ensuring Article 33 issues are a regular feature when examining each State’s compliance with the CRPD.    

MDAC’s guidelines are the culmination of a one-year project focusing on Article 33 of the CRPD, a provision which ensures that:

1.    Laws and policies to implement the CRPD are coordinated across government;
2.    An independent mechanism promotes and protects the rights of people with disabilities;
3.    An independent mechanism monitors the implementation of the Convention; and
4.    Civil society, particularly people with disabilities and their representative organisations, are included in the monitoring.

Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, wrote the foreword to the guidelines, recommending it both for authorities and civil society groups.  The guidelines are available for free download in English, Croatian, Czech, Easy-to-Read English, French, German, Hungarian, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.

MDAC is grateful to the Strategic Programme Fund of the UK Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office for funding of the project and the publication, and to the Disability Rights Initiative of the Open Society Foundations for funding today’s side event in Geneva.

For full disclosure Gábor Gombos, who has been involved in this project from its conception as MDAC's Senior Advocacy Officer, was elected in September 2010 to be a Member of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, serving a two-year term starting 1 January 2011. The Committee has not influenced the development of these guidelines.

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