International Human Rights Law

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

I. Introduction🔗

The Convention follows decades of work by the United Nations to change attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities. It takes to a new height the movement from viewing persons with disabilities as “objects” of charity, medical treatment and social protection towards viewing persons with disabilities as “subjects” with rights, who are capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active members of society.1

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 13 December 2006 and entered into force on 3 May 2008.2 The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities monitors States’ implementation of the CRPD.3

Note to reader
For an explanation of the Committee’s powers and other international legal mechanisms that may be available to enforce a State’s obligations under the CRPD, please consult the “Ratification and Enforcement of Treaties” chapter, “International Human Rights Law” subsection.

I.1 CRSV under the CRPD🔗

The Convention enshrines and protects the rights of all persons with disabilities, a group that includes ‘those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others’.4 Such barriers are particularly strong during conflicts: conflicts ‘heighten the risks faced by persons with disabilities as they seek assistance, support and protection, and they impact access to and may lead to the collapse of essential services. Where services exist, inaccessible communication strategies often exclude persons with disabilities from identifying and utilizing them’.5

CRSV is one of the many risks affecting persons with disabilities,6 especially women and children. In its Preamble, the CRPD highlights ‘that women and girls with disabilities are often at greater risk, both within and outside the home, of violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation’, and emphasises the need to incorporate a gender perspective in the promotion of persons with disabilities’ human rights and fundamental freedoms.

CRSV, as a form of violence against persons with disabilities, may violate articles 11 (on the protection of persons with disabilities during situations of risk), 15 (on freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment), 16 (on the right of persons with disabilities to be free from exploitation, violence and abuse) and/or 17 (on protecting the integrity of persons with disabilities). A failure to address CRSV is a failure ‘to ensure and promote the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities’.7

II. Legal Framework🔗

Note to reader
On the authoritativeness and the question of bindingness of the Committee’s work, consult the “International Human Rights Law” chapter, “Introduction” section, and the “Introduction” chapter, “Methodology” section.

III. Obligations🔗


III.1 States must criminalise CRSV🔗

III.2 States’ obligations under the CRPD apply both within and outside their territory🔗

III.3 States must address CRSV committed by private actors🔗

III.4 States must ensure an inclusive environment for people with disabilities to eradicate CRSV effectively🔗

III.5 Special protection against CRSV is owed to persons with disabilities facing multiple, intersecting forms of discrimination🔗

III.6 States must educate the population on CRSV and persons with disabilities🔗

III.7 States must allow persons with disabilities to participate in the eradication of CRSV🔗

III.8 States must establish a national human rights mechanism to implement their obligations under the CRPD and help eradicate CRSV🔗

III.9 States should cooperate with other actors at the international level to eradicate CRSV🔗

III.10 States should ratify other instruments of international law to eradicate CRSV effectively🔗

III.11 States must collect data on the measures adopted to eradicate CRSV and report on them to the Committee🔗

Justice and Accountability🔗

III.12 States must investigate and prosecute CRSV🔗

III.13 States must provide victims/survivors of CRSV with access to justice🔗

Humanitarian Response🔗

III.14 States must provide persons with disabilities at risk of or who have been subjected to CRSV with appropriate care🔗


III.15 States must provide victims/survivors of CRSV with remedies🔗

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