Strengthening the inclusion of the rights of persons with disabilities in the United Nations - UNDIS



Background

Since early on in her mandate, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities has advocated for improved coordination and cohesion within the United Nations system to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities.

In 2017, the Special Rapporteur advocated for the inclusion of disability as a component of the work of all United Nations human rights mechanisms, especially treaty bodies and special procedures, promoting common strategies for the inclusion of disability in the agendas of other experts. For instance, in July 2017, she convened an Expert Group Meeting on the inclusion of the rights of persons with disabilities in the work of the United Nations human rights mechanisms in Madrid.

More broadly, the Special Rapporteur actively promoted a process to strengthen system-wide accessibility, inclusion and mainstreaming of the rights of persons with disabilities in the United Nations, and advocated for the establishment of a United Nations system-wide action plan on disability first with the Inter-Agency Support Group on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (IASG-CRPD), and then with the Executive Office of the Secretary-General (EOSG).

In April 2018, the Executive Committee of the Secretary-General, through decision 2018/20, tasked the EOSG to coordinate an institutional review of the United Nations system’s approach to disability mainstreaming across the Organization’s operations. It also tasked the IASG-CRPD and the Department of General Assembly and Conference Management (DGACM) to develop a policy, action plan and accountability framework to strengthen system-wide accessibility and mainstreaming of the rights of persons with disabilities across the Organization’s operations.

At the request of EOSG, in July 2018 the Special Rapporteur conducted a baseline institutional review of United Nations action to mainstream accessibility and disability inclusion. The findings and recommendations of this review were discussed and endorsed at a meeting of the Secretary-General’s Senior Management Group in December 2018, and informed the development of the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy (UNDIS).

In 2019, the Special Rapporteur continued to actively engage in the process leading to the development of the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy, including with the Secretary-General, the Deputy Secretary-General and the IASG-CRPD.

In June 2019, the UN Secretary-General officially launched the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy (UNDIS). Following its adoption, the Special Rapporteur continued her advocacy with the SG’s Senior Adviser on Policy, the President of the General Assembly, United Nations entities and Member States on the need to secure the long-term sustainability of the strategy and maintain it as a top-level priority across all pillars of the United Nations system.

With the adoption of Resolution 44/10, in July 2020 the Human Rights Council formally mandated the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities to “contribute closely in the implementation of the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy and other efforts for ensuring that the United Nations system is fit for purpose in relation to disability inclusion” (para 3(f)).