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Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2006 and entered into force in 2008. The CRPD promotes and protects the full and equal enjoyment of rights by all persons with disabilities, and clarifies adaptations that are necessary in certain cases in order for persons with disabilities to fully enjoy and exercise these rights. Obligations of state parties under the CRPD include:

  • Fostering respect for the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities;
  • Ensuring that all persons are equal before the law;
  • Combatting prejudices and stereotypes against persons with disabilities; and
  • Enabling persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life.

In addition, the CRPD establishes the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Committee), a group of 18 independent experts on disability rights who meet twice a year in Geneva. The Committee provides guidance for and also monitors each state party’s compliance with the CRPD by drafting general comments on the scope of the treaty obligations, issuing statements on topics related to persons with disabilities, and conducting reviews of state parties’ progress in implementing the treaty.  Under its Optional Protocol, the Committee may also accept individual complaints and communications alleging a state party’s violation of rights under the CRPD and may further confidentially inquire into information indicating grave and systematic violations of the rights of persons with disabilities when signatories authorize them to do so. As of late-2014, China is not yet a party to the Optional Protocol, and therefore the Committee may not accept individual complaints or conduct inquiries related to China.

To comply with the review process, each state party must submit for review a report to the Committee every four years on steps taken to implement the Convention. To prepare for a state party’s review, the Committee appoints one or two members as “Country Rapporteur(s),” who draft a list of issues (LOI) which highlights the Committee’s priority issues and requests additional information that the state party should submit in writing prior to the review. After considering all the materials, the Committee conducts a review of the state party in the form of an interactive dialogue with representatives of the state party. Following the review, the Country Rapporteur(s) will draft the concluding observations to be adopted by the Committee, which include final remarks and recommendations from the review. The Committee may also identify specific areas for follow up and request that the state party provide additional information within one year. In such cases, the Committee appoints a rapporteur to follow-up on the state party’s compliance.

Civil society members may provide input to the Committee at various points by submitting reports, making oral statements, and participating in briefings for Committee members. The Committee also encourages state parties to consult and incorporate information from civil society, especially organizations of persons with disabilities, in their national reports and follow-up procedures, and requires that the concluding observations are widely disseminated following the review. In addition, the Committee also considers information from civil society and other stakeholders, such as UN agencies and national human rights institutes.

China and the CRPD

China signed the CRPD in 2007, and ratified it in 2008. China made no reservations, understandings, or declarations when it became party to the treaty.

Since its ratification, China has been reviewed by the Committee once, in 2012. Its next review is yet to be scheduled. Below are official documents and HRIC contributions related to China’s CRPD review.

Official Documents & HRIC contributions

Initial Review (2012)

  • China’s initial report (2010): EN, CH
  • List of issues to be taken up in connection with the consideration of the initial report of China concerning articles 1 to 33 of the Convention (2012): EN, CH
  • Replies submitted by the government of China to the list of issues (2012): EN, CH
  • HRIC parallel submission in advance of the review of China’s initial report on its implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2012): EN, CH
  • Oral intervention of HRIC to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2012): EN, CH
  • HRIC press release: “State Secrets system hinders effective review of PRC progress on rights for the disabled” (2012): EN, CH
  • Concluding observations on the initial report of China, adopted by the Committee at its eighth session (2012): EN, CH
  • Summary record of the review session on September 18, 2012: EN
  • Summary record of the review session on September 19, 2012: EN
Other Resources
  • Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: EN, CH
  • Full text of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: EN, CH
  • Special Rapporteur on Disability of the Commission for Social Development: EN, CH
  • UN Enable (disabilities resource center): EN, CH
  • Disability Council International: EN
  • International Disability Alliance: EN
  • UN treaty body webcast: EN

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