GENEVA (9 September 2022) — The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on Friday issued its country reviews on Bangladesh, China*, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic**, New Zealand and Singapore**, as well as a special report on the situation of people with disabilities in Ukraine.
The Committee reviewed the nine State parties during its latest session. The findings contain the Committee’s main concerns and recommendations on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as positive aspects. Key highlights include :
Concerning the extreme poverty in the disability community and the absence of social protection measures, the Committee called on Bangladesh to adopt and implement a national strategy to alleviate poverty among people with disabilities. The Committee recommended that the State party develop a robust social protection scheme that guarantees an adequate living standard, including support for disability-related expenses.
The Committee was concerned that people with disabilities, especially women and members of religious and indigenous groups, are deprived of their legal capacity to enter into contracts or inherit property in the Country. The Committee requested that Bangladesh amend its legislation to introduce decision-making measures that duly respect the autonomy, will and preferences of people with disabilities.
The Committee was deeply concerned about reports of people with disabilities from Uyghur and other Muslim minorities being detained in vocational education and training centres and that their disability-related needs are not supported. It urged China to take prompt action to release Uyghur and other Muslim minorities with disabilities from vocational education and training centres, and to ensure that all their disability-related needs are immediately met while in detention.
The Committee was also disturbed by reports of reprisals against civil society organizations in Mainland China and Hong Kong for their advocacy work on disability rights, particularly in relation to their cooperation with the United Nations. It requested that China take all necessary measures to ensure that people with disabilities can exercise their right to freedom of expression and opinion, including in their collaboration with the UN.
The Committee was gravely concerned about the prolonged use of harmful and forced practices against people with psychosocial disabilities, such as shackling, seclusion and restraints. It called on Indonesia to prohibit shackling, seclusion and all forms of restraints within families and social care institutions. It also asked the State party to develop non-coercive, community-based mental health services and establish an independent monitoring and complaints mechanism accessible to people with disabilities.
Regarding people with disabilities, including children, who are placed in residential or social care institutions, hospitals, halfway homes and rehabilitation centres, the Committee recommended that Indonesia adopt a deinstitutionalisation strategy and strengthen its support for the National Commission for Disability.
The Committee noted with concern that people with disabilities, especially people with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities, older people and children who require more intensive support, have been placed in institutions for long periods, thus being deprived of family and community life. It asked Japan to take expedited measures to end institutionalisation by reallocating its budgets from residential institutions to arrangements to support people with disabilities to live independently in the community.
The Committee also expressed concerns about children with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities, and those who require more intensive support are segregated from regular schools. It recommended that Japan cease segregated special education, and adopt a national action plan on quality inclusive education, with specific targets, time frames and sufficient budget to ensure that all students with disabilities are provided with individualised support at all levels of education.
Republic of Korea
The Committee was deeply concerned about the lack of progress in abolishing the guardianship system on the information that some 16,000 people with disabilities are still under such system. It called on the State party to replace guardianships and wardships with supported decision-making systems and to provide individualised support while respecting the autonomy, will and preferences of people with disabilities.
Concerning the continuous institutionalisation of persons with disabilities, CRPD recommended that the State party review its Roadmap for Independent Living Support and bring it in line with the Convention. It also suggested that the State party strengthen its measures to deinstitutionalise adults and children with disabilities who remain in residential settings and increase the availability of community-based services to enable them to live independently and participate in the community.
Lao People’s Democratic Republic**
In the public dialogue during the session, the Committee raised its concern that people with disabilities have limited involvement in consultations concerning legislation and public policies.
The Committee was also disturbed by the high illiteracy rate among people with disabilities and the high dropout number of students with disabilities.
The Committee was concerned about the disproportionately high poverty level among persons with disabilities, especially Māori people, who are twice to three times as likely to live in poverty as the general population. It asked New Zealand to expedite its implementation of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group’s recommendations to address the inequity and complexity within the social security system for people with disabilities.
With regard to the lack of a comprehensive strategy to close all residential institutions and the inadequate supply of affordable and accessible housing for people with disabilities, the Committee recommended that New Zealand develop a comprehensive deinstitutionalisation strategy, with specific timeframes and adequate budgets, to close all residential institutions, including group homes and residential specialist schools. It also asked New Zealand to enhance community support for people with disabilities to live independently in the community.
In the public dialogue during the session, the Committee was gravely concerned about the legality, imposition and execution of the death penalty on people with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities in Singapore.
The Committee was also concerned about the infringement on freedom of expression and opinion, peaceful assembly and freedom of association of people with disabilities, and reports of reprisals against civil society organizations for their advocacy work on disability rights.
The Committee was gravely concerned that people with disabilities were reportedly trapped in the conflict zones and that the evacuation of the institutions in conflict areas was not prioritised. It urged Ukraine and the Russian Federation to immediately evacuate people with disabilities who remain in residential institutions on the Ukrainian territory under their respective control, and to ensure that the evacuation process is monitored by independent parties.
The Committee was further concerned about reports that people with disabilities who remain in residential institutions are at severe risk, as their access to basic rights such as food and acceptable standard of living, including access to heating in the upcoming winter months, are jeopardised. It reminded all concerned parties of their obligation to ensure that people with disabilities, including in the current situation, have access to accessible services and relief in the community on an equal basis with others, are not institutionalised and are included in decision-making processes when international cooperation funds are used.
Findings of the above country reviews, officially known as Concluding Observations, as well as the special report on Ukraine, are available on the session webpage.
*Including Hong Kong and Macao
** Findings and recommendations on Singapore and Lao will be posted online on 12 September.
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