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Part 2: UK and UN CRPD - Article 33 Implementation & Monitoring

un-logo.jpegIn a previous post, we said that we'd go through relevant articles in UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The UK will be implementing this Convention in Spring 2009.

In this post we will focus on Article 33: National Implementation and Monitoring.

It might seem an odd way of approaching the Convention, since we've not gone through other relevant articles yet. However, for people to take the forthcoming posts more seriously, we need to highlight what the role of deaf people could be.

The relevant text is (you don't have to read it, this will be broken down below):

Article 33 - National implementation and monitoring

1. States Parties, in accordance with their system of organization, shall designate one or more focal points within government for matters relating to the implementation of the present Convention, and shall give due consideration to the establishment or designation of a coordination mechanism within government to facilitate related action in different sectors and at different levels.

2. States Parties shall, in accordance with their legal and administrative systems, maintain, strengthen, designate or establish within the State Party, a framework, including one or more independent mechanisms, as appropriate, to promote, protect and monitor implementation of the present Convention. When designating or establishing such a mechanism, States Parties shall take into account the principles relating to the status and functioning of national institutions for protection and promotion of human rights.

3. Civil society, in particular persons with disabilities and their representative organizations, shall be involved and participate fully in the monitoring process.

Point 1:
There needs to be a focal point(s) in the government. i.e. central point(s) to co-ordinate to make implementation happen. There are different levels of goverment. E.g. local authority, government departments like the Department of Health and other services such as the police, etc. The Convention will apply to all of these levels.

Point 2:
There needs to be framework (plan / outline) set up by the government. The framework needs to include independent mechanisms. The setting up the framework needs to follow the principes in the Convention. The aim of this framework is to promote, protect and monitor implementation of the Convention.

Point 3:
This one is important, and is relevant to you.

It says that:
(a) disabled people (which includes deaf) and;
(b) their representative organisations

shall be:
- involved
- participate fully

in monitoring.

In other words, to check if the Convention is working in practice. So, this Convention is going to be effective in the UK, you need to try and understand it, plus participate. Representative organisations need to be involved too.

Who are the Reprsentative Organisations?
So what does representative organisations mean (under point 3)? For deaf input, many deaf organisations can claim to have a membership base, thus can go running to the government and say that it is representative of us. "We have a membership base, so we represent deaf people!". They might have the numbers to prove it because their base might consist of people who are 70+ a little bit hard of hearing, and subscribe to their magazine. Not that I am dismissing older people here, just trying to get a point across that numbers are not the same as democratic processes or involement. Would such an organisation be qualified to represent BSL users, etc? Who decides on representation, how is this defined and how can power be placed in the hands of deaf people themselves?

Who are likely to be the UK government institutions?
It appears that the co-ordination role for implementing the UN Convention in the UK is being done by the Office for Disability Issues (ODI). The ODI has an Equality 2025 committee, described as a "network of disabled people which advises the Westminster Government on how to achieve disability equality.

Secondly, we think that the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) will part(?) take on the role of independent monitoring. The Convention requires something called National Human Rights Institutions (NRIs). The EHRC achieved this status in February.

International Monitoring
This Convention is also being monitored on an international level. This is the responsiblity of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This is a body of independent experts which monitors implementation of the Convention by countries (state parties). Countries have to send regular reports to the Committee, about implementation. They must report within two years after implementation. Afterwards, every four years.

The international Committee will examine the report, and can make suggestions and general recommendations, and send this to the country concerned.

Their first session of this Committee was held in February 2009. The agenda for this meeting is here. The minutes don't seem to be available online yet.

From the membership list of the Committee I don't recognise any of those names as being deaf people? Please correct me if I'm wrong. Can hearing people monitor and make recommendations on articles relating to sign language?

Comment and Ask the Readers:
We could say much more about monitoring, but trying to keep to the basics. What do you think of the above? Do you think effective monitoring will be achieved, and do you think that deaf people will be involved in the process?

Question. Who is actually getting UK deaf people involved at this stage, and letting them know about the Convention? This has to happen to meet the requirement of Article 33.

This blog is independent, and if you weren't reading about this here, would you know about it? Its not WFD's responsibility (they are an international organisation). So what are UK deaf organisations and the government doing? Deaf people cannot participate fully unless they have the basic information!

What are your views on representative organisations, and how do you define representation?

See also:
Part 1: UK and UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Comments (1)

We are peeing in the wind here. The charitable commission has overruled european and indeed our concers regarding 'representative' groups for deaf or HI People (I am assuming the crux of this point is targeted at the worst example in Britain, the RNID ?). The basic remit of ALL supportive groups and charities in the hearing loss respect, has to be laid down via their services being aimed at "Deaf and HI", even the BDA has this remit. The RNID has many many HI People as members so, not in any violation of representations there, you see how they do it, there is NO law to say how MANY of each sector has to be a member of a group.

The RNID can have 20 deaf people and 30,000 Hard of hearing ones. The CEO of the RNID simply stated it is our fault for not joining. But, the RNID is NOT alone in exploiting 'representation', albeit it brags the most ! The whole system whereby charities claim to 'represent the interests of Deaf/deaf/Hi people' is a total misnomer, since statistically only less than 1 per cent of any deaf area will belong to any group and represent that way. The charity guidelines are being met by the RNID, I questioned your point with them, they had no BSL people there and had admitted as much, they still backed the RNID. Also BSL users have refused point blank to ever join this group, so this gives the RNID case a base too. You're damned if you join the RNID, damned if you don't.

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