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Ireland’s first report to the UN under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

December 7th, 2020

PRESS RELEASE

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Ireland’s first report to the UN under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Consultation draft published by Disabilities Minister Anne Rabbitte on International Day of People with Disabilities

  • Ireland’s Initial State Report under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is published for consultation today, 3 December 2020.
  • The report describes recent advances in the rights of people with disabilities in Ireland, including:
    • Adoption and Implementation of National Disability Inclusion Strategy 2017-2020
    • A new Disability Participation and Consultation Network established in 2020
    • The Irish Sign Language Act 2017 gives ISL official language status
    • Adoption and Implementation of the Second Action Plan under the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities 2015-2024 focused on opening up employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
  • Submissions on the draft report can be made to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth until 3 March 2021.
  • A series of consultation events will take place early next year.
  • The report will then be finalised and submitted to the United Nations.
  • Easy to Read and Braille Versions of the Report will be published shortly.

 

Thursday 3rd December 2020

The Minister of State with responsibility for Disability, Ms. Anne Rabbitte T.D. today published a consultation draft of Ireland’s Initial State report under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Publication of the Report marks the start of a three-month consultation period where stakeholders and members of the public can make submissions on the report, which will then be finalised for submission to the United Nations next year.

This is Ireland’s first report under the Convention, which was ratified here in March 2018.

Announcing the publication, Minister Rabbitte said:

“I am delighted to mark the International Day of People with Disabilities by publishing Ireland’s Initial State Report under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In this Report, we take stock of how we are implementing the Convention here since we ratified it over two years ago. We also look ahead at the steps that we plan to take to meet all of our obligations under the Convention. It is important that we hear from those whose rights are protected and promoted by the Convention. Over the three month consultation period that starts today, people with disabilities have an opportunity to make their views known on the report and the issues covered in it, with the support of the Disability Participation and Consultation Network that I established recently.”

Ireland’s Initial State Report under Article 35 of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities describes how each article of the Convention is being implemented in Ireland. It notes significant recent developments in public policy and legislation that contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the Convention.

Government policy on advancing the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities is co-ordinated through two whole-of-government strategies: the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities 2015-2024, which sets an agenda for increasing access to employment for people with disabilities; and the National Disability Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021, which addresses broader equality and inclusion issues such as the need for joined up public services to meet the needs of people with disabilities. Both these policy frameworks were developed in consultation with disability stakeholder groups and wider civil society. The monitoring mechanisms for both strategies also include disability stakeholders.

The report also describes recent legal changes to protect the rights of people with disabilities. The Assisted Decision Making Act 2015 provides for a range of options to support the rights and interests of people who may need help with decision making. The Irish Sign Language Act 2017 conferred official language status on Irish Sign Language. Since 2014, all public authorities in Ireland have been bound by a positive legal duty to protect human rights, promote equality and eliminate discrimination against certain protected groups and this includes people with disabilities.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth provided government funding to establish a new Disability Participation and Consultation Network in October 2020 to support people with disabilities to become involved in influencing policymaking. This Network is comprised primarily of Disabled Persons Organisations. It will link organisations and individuals in all regions and provide opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in the development of public policy and programmes.

Ireland has adopted an approach of progressive realisation with the respect to the Convention. In this initial report therefore, information is given both on the current implementation status and on planned initiatives to be undertaken in the short and medium term future.

The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention. All States Parties to the Convention are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how it is being implemented. This is Ireland’s first such report. After the report has been submitted to the UN Committee, Ireland will attend a public examination by the Committee. Following this examination, the Committee will make observations and recommendations to Ireland on the implementation of the Convention here.

Prior to the finalisation of the report for submission to the CRPD, a consultation process is now being launched to ensure that the input of stakeholders is captured and accounted for in the final document.

Consultation will take place in a number of ways.

  • Firstly, written submissions on the State Report are invited from interested parties and can be submitted to the Department at the following email address: disability_policy@equality.gov.ie.
  • In addition, in February 2021, the Department will undertake a number of consultation events with stakeholder groups. These will most likely be online events as a result of public health measures and more details will follow in the New Year.
  • Following the establishment of the Disability Participation and Consultation Network, that group has been tasked with carrying out consultation with people with disabilities and their representative bodies, to ensure that the State report captures this most important group of stakeholder voices.

On the consultation process Minister Rabbitte added:

Meaningful consultation is a critical part of our preparation of the Initial State Report. I would welcome submissions to the Department in whatever format suits the person.  I hope that the many key stakeholders that we have in the area of disability will be take part in the consultation events that we are planning for early next year. In particular, I’d like to emphasise that consultation with people with disabilities and their representative groups and Disabled Persons Organisations is an essential part of this process and I believe that we have put in place an innovative mechanism to make sure this happens as it needs to.

Concluding, Minister Rabbitte stated:

“I would like to ensure stakeholders that Easy to Read, and Braille versions of the State Report will be made available very shortly.”

Details of the Consultation Process are posted here and information will be updated throughout the consultation period.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

  • The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the UN in 2006. Ireland signed the Convention in 2007 and ratified the Convention in 2018.
  • Ireland is due to submit its Initial State Report to the Committee. The report published today will now go through a public consultation process before being finalised and submitted to the United Nations.
  • This report has been prepared by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, which is responsible for co-ordinating disability policy across government, and acts as National Focal Point for the Convention. In preparing the draft report, the Department consulted with other government departments and agencies.
  • This work has been supported by the National Disability Authority, which is an independent statutory body that provides information and advice to government on policy and practice relevant to the lives of persons with disabilities.
  • A new Disability Participation and Consultation Network has been established to ensure that persons with disabilities and their representative groups have input into the formation of policy and legislation in Ireland. A first task for the Network will be to carry out consultation on the Initial State report. Inclusion Ireland is leading the development of the Network, in partnership with AsIAm, the Coalition of Disabled Person’s Organisations, Disability Federation Ireland, and Mental Health Reform.
  • In addition to the submission of the Initial State Report, the preparation and submission of what are known as ‘alternative State reports’ to the CRPD is an important part of the reporting process and Civil Society organisations will prepare and submit their own reports to the Committee in this regard.

Issued by the Press and Communications Office at the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.
Tel: 01 647 – 3153/3114

Email: 
media@dcya.gov.ie

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