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The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at a glance

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The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at a glance

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The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) promotes and protects the rights of people with disabilities. It is an indispensable document for our society because it brought about a fundamental change in political attitudes towards people with disabilities when it was introduced. According to the German Institute for Human Rightsit established a human rights approach:

People with disabilities are bearers of human rights and the state has a duty to respect, guarantee and protect the rights of people with disabilities. In this understanding, disability is seen as an enrichment of human diversity.

The progress made by the various nations that adhere to this convention is monitored and criticized in so-called state reviews. The second and third country reviews took place in August last year. A federal conference is to be held in Germany in the near future. The original date, February 27, 2024, is no longer valid and we have not yet been able to find a new date.

What is the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities?

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, or "Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities", is an international treaty that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 13, 2006.
Its main objective is to protect and promote the rights and dignity of people with disabilities worldwide. The convention aims to enable participation and equal rights, and applies the human rights already recognized in other human rights conventions to people with disabilities.
Internationally, it came into force on May 3, 2008. According to the provisions of the Convention, it came into force in Germany on March 26, 2009 and has been applicable law here since then and must be implemented by all state institutions. To ensure that the UN CRPD is implemented and to monitor progress or shortcomings, the "Monitoring Body" of the German Institute for Human Rights was established in 2009.

The second and third state examinations: something needs to be done here

"We are different distances away from full participation and self-determination in different areas. In some areas, there are more legal regulations and political efforts, such as the accessibility of official buildings, but life doesn't just take place in offices," says Dr. Britta Schlegel, Head of the Monitoring Institute for Human Rights.


The challenges in the education sector are reflected in the lack of motivation and rejection of inclusion. "In the school sector, we can clearly see that there are really large sections of society that are either skeptical or against it because of the prevailing stereotypes about children with disabilities," says Schlegel.

In some federal states, the proportion of pupils in special schools is stagnating or even increasing. Inclusive schools are seen as half-hearted, which leads to segregation and inadequate life courses.

Lack of self-determination:

The Monitoring Body emphasizes a lack of self-determination, particularly in the school sector and in employment in workshops. Self-determination means being able to take advantage of individual offers and not having to operate in a "highly developed system of special structures".
Since 2022, there have been guidelines for deinstitutionalization, i.e. the reduction of inpatient facilities. The system should provide more individual support services for people with disabilities. However, this deinstitutionalization has made little progress. There is a lack of a clear strategy and financial resources continue to flow mainly into inpatient facilities.

No protection against violence:

People with disabilities, especially in closed systems, are exposed to a higher risk of violence. There is still no independent monitoring body for the protection against violence in institutions, as required by Article 16 of the UN CRPD.
There is no effective access to justice, no accessibility in women's shelters, and although SGB paragraph 37a requires violence protection concepts, there are no effective controls or minimum criteria.

All these shortcomings are also mentioned in the concluding observations of the Committee which were published in English on 08.09.2023.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has significantly changed the way in which people with disabilities are treated. It contributes to an inclusive and equal society. The upcoming conference to review the second and third state review provides an opportunity to address challenges and work together towards a world in which the rights of persons with disabilities are protected and respected. This process is not only a review of the States Parties, but also a collective commitment to a world without barriers and discrimination.

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