Implementing article 33 of the Convention: cases, positions and lessons
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Implementing article 33 of the Convention: cases, positions and lessons Linnéa Arvidsson Regional Office for Europe UN Human Rights.

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National mechanisms

Implementing article 33 of the Convention: cases, positions and lessonsLinnéa ArvidssonRegional Office for EuropeUN Human Rights

National mechanisms

Yet the experience of other human rights treaties teaches us that ratification alone will not make a tangible change in the life of people. What need to happen, as you know, if for States to implement the treaty at the national level through the adoption of all relevant legislative, judicial, administrative, and educational measures. Only then societies truly “own” a human rights treaty, and through this ensure that positive change happens.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Opening Statement

Panel Discussion on National Frameworks for the Implementation and Monitoring of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Human Rights Council 13th Session, 5 March 2010

national mechanisms

National mechanisms

national mechanisms

parliament oversight

courts & tribunals

National mechanisms

national mechanisms

“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.”

art. 33 (1)

  • Focal point or focal points? Ex. South Africa, Australia

  • Coordination mechanism? Australia

National mechanisms

National monitoring framework level

national mechanisms

“States Parties shall…

…maintain, strengthen, designate or establish… a framework, including one or more independent mechanisms…

…to promote, protect and monitor implementation of the…Convention

…take into account the principles relating to the status and functioning of national institutions for protection and promotion of human rights.

Art.33 (2)


civil society involvement

adequate resources

National mechanisms

The organizational structure of the monitoring framework: alternatives and preferences

national mechanisms

Option A

One national human rights institution: link between framework and Paris Principles i.e. Germany

Option B

More than one independent mechanism: “mechanism of mechanisms” i.e. Northern Ireland

Option C

‘Cocktail’ of independent mechanisms and other entities (ex. parliamentary committees, judiciary, the media…)

Requires guarantee of independence; not applied yet

National mechanisms

The Paris Principles in the context of the CRPD alternatives and preferences

national mechanisms

  • Independence guaranteed either by statutory law or constitutional provisions

  • Pluralism in roles and membership

  • Broad mandate

  • Adequate powers of investigation (mediation & conciliation; quasi judicial HR tribunal, intervention in proceedings)

  • Regular and effective functioning

  • Adequate funds not subject to financial control which might affect independence

  • Accessibility

National mechanisms

Functions of the national monitoring framework alternatives and preferences

national mechanisms

National Human Rights Institution (NHRI)




  • awareness-raising

  • encourage ratification

  • human rights education programmes

  • training of public officials and NGOs

  • individual complaints

  • participation in litigation

  • combat discrimination

  • intervention

  • link with media and parliament

  • conduct of public inquiries

  • harmonization of legislation with international standards

  • contribute to UPR and reports to treaty bodies

  • field monitoring

  • cooperation with regional and United Nations orgs

  • report annually (at least)

  • recommendations to the Government

National mechanisms

Participation and involvement of civil society and persons with disabilities

national mechanisms

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

art. 33 (3)

disability power

National mechanisms

Role of parliaments with disabilities

national mechanisms

  • Parliamentary committees

  • Commissions of inquiry

  • Direct questioning of ministers

  • Scrutiny of executive appointments

  • Oversight over non-governmental public agencies

  • Budgetary scrutiny and financial control

National mechanisms

national mechanisms with disabilities

  • Roles of national courts & tribunals

  • inform courts’ decision-making through CRPD provisions;

  • support treaty implementation (disability-related judgments as indicators of success);

  • monitor compliance of national legislations with CRPD;

  • issue judgments that prevent unlawful measures and attitudes;

  • visit key institutions to prevent abuses against persons with disabilities

  • national monitoring mechanism & judiciary -> complementary and mutually support

  • Issues:

  • Case referral

  • Principle sharing (independence and de-politicization)

  • Accountability (of state officers including judges, prosecutors and lawyers)

  • Redress for PWDs

Sources references websites
sources, references & websites with disabilities

Ref &web

OHCHR Thematic study to enhance awareness structure and role of national mechanisms for the implementation and monitoring of the CRPD

A/HRC/13/29, 22.12.2009

From Exclusion to Equality

Realizing the rights of persons with disabilities

Handbook for Parliamentarians on the

Convention on the Rights of Persons

with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol

UN/OHCHR/IPU, 2007, Chapter 7

  • Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

  • Human Rights Council Resolution 10/7

  • Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (General Assembly resolution 48/96), available at:

  • Human Rights Council, Interactive Panel Discussion, National frameworks for the Implementation and Monitoring of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Friday 05 March 2010; Geneva, Palais des Nations

  • Thematic Study by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on enhancing awareness and understanding of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, A/HRC/10/48 , 26 January 2009

  • Informal report of the OHCHR consultation on national frameworks for the implementation and monitoring of the Convention held on 26 October 2009:

  • Paris Principles, adopted by the General Assembly in resolution 48/134