Full implementation of the Convention - our time at the Conference of State Parties

28 June 2018

Several EDF members attended the 11th session of the Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which took place from 12-14 June 2018 in New York under the theme “Leaving no one behind through the full implementation of the CRPD”. It brought together government representatives, organisations of persons with disabilities and international experts in the field of disability rights, such as Theresia Degener, Chair of the CRPD Committee, Catalina Devandas Aguilar, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Maria Soledad Cisternas Reyes, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Disability and Accessibility.


The Conference was preceded by the Civil Society Forum on Monday 11 June, which was the Day of General Discussion on draft general comment No 7 on articles 4.3 and 33.3 of the CRPD.


This year highlights included the election of nine experts for the CRPD Committee, the opening by the U.N. Secretary General and a roundtable on women and girls with disabilities, in which our Vice-President, and newly elected member of the CEDAW Committee, Ana Peláez Narváez, participated. 

View of the plenary

View of the Civil Society Forum Plenary

Articles 4.3 and 33.3 of the CRPD.

The draft general comment No. 7 should be adopted by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in September 2018. This document will bring clarification on the rights of persons with disabilities and their representatives organisations to participate in decision-making processes and in the implementation and monitoring of the Convention. EDF had advocated for the adoption of such document and sent its inputs to the Committee in April. Our president Yannis Vardakastanis reiterated most of our comments at a panel focusing on article 4.3 of the CRPD (involvement of persons with disabilities through representative organisations), stressing that

"we do not only speak about consultation and participation but democracy, transparency, accountability and inclusion!"

Yannis Vardakastanis addresses the plenary

Yannis Vardakastanis speaks at the Civil Society Forum

Opening by U.N Secretary-General

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, opened the Conference with a strong statement calling State Parties to fully implement the Convention. He stated that

Implementation is essential. Countries must apply the Convention to the development policies, investments and legal systems if we are to fulfil the central pledge of 2030 Agenda for sustainable development: to leave no one behind.


Election of the CRPD Committee

On Tuesday, the States parties elected nine experts – six women and three men – who will start working in the Committee in January 2019. The outcome, which increases by five the number of women members of the Committee, was very well welcomed by States parties, experts and the disability movement. While the number of members from European States decreases, it was the opportunity for members from Central and South America to be elected. EDF is already advocating for the nomination of a EU candidate at the 2020 elections.

Results are annouced by the President of the Conference

Results of the election are read by the President of the Conference.

Intervention of Ana Pelaez Narvaez in roundtable

Ana Peláez Narváez made an intervention in the second day of the Conference on the roundtable “Women and girls with disabilities“. She drew attention to the need of full inclusion of women and girls with disabilities in all aspects of society. She stated “Women and girls with disabilities have to participated! Nothing (can be decided) without women and girls with disabilities!”


Additional protocol to the Oviedo Convention

In its concluding statement of the COSP, Theresia Degener, Chair of the CRPD Committee called Member States of the Council of Europe to follow the example of Portugal and not ratify the additional protocol to the Oviedo Convention on forced treatment and placement. Our board member Jolijn Santegoeds, also spoke out against the Protocol in her role as co-chair of the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry. She stated that “The protocol is a medical model-based instrument that runs counter to the CRPD by authorizing mental health detention and non-consensual psychiatric treatment.”


EDF participation

Our President, Yannis Vardakastanis, our vice-president Pat Clarke and some of our Board members spoke in eight side-events and in one panel. The two side-events organised by EDF, namely on accessibility standards coherence and on social dialogue  in partnership with the European Commission were well-attended.

EDF staff members and partners enjoy a short break in New York


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