The Committee on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is drafting a General Comment on the rights of persons with disabilities to equality and non-discrimination. It notes that ‘although equality and non-discrimination are principles of international law, disability-based discrimination continues to exist.’ Article 5 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) enshrines the the right to equality and non-discrimination. Equality requires the transformation of existing social structures, systems and perceptions that perpetuate the discrimination of persons with disabilities. The General Comment is intended to clarify the meaning of equality and non-discrimination.
Under the auspices of the Oxford Human Rights Hub, Director Sandra Fredman (Oxford) and Deputy-Director Meghan Campbell (Birmingham) joined with Shreya Atrey (Bristol) and Oxford DPhil Candidates Sanya Samtani (OxHRH Associate), Jason Brickhill (OxHRH Research Director) and Nomfundo Ramalekana (OxHRH Blog Editor) have made a submission to the CRPD Committee on the Article 5 of the Convention.
The report recommends that:
- the meaning of equality in the Convention needs to be clearly defined and consistently applied. We recommend that the Committee adopt the four dimensional model of transformative equality;
- specific measures need to be considered an essential element of achieving transformative equality;
- intersectional discrimination be defined as being based on two or more grounds that is inextricably synergistic and cannot be separated out into discrimination based on each ground individually; and
- reasonable accommodation and undue burden need to be assessed from the perspective of the persons with disabilities.
The Committee’s draft General Comment is an important chance to contribute to the evolution as equality in international human rights law and we welcome the opportunity to participate in this development.
The report can be found here.