Monitoring the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Innovations, Lost Opportunities, and Future Potential
Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 31, 2010
36 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2010
Date Written: January 8, 2010
As the first human rights treaty of the twenty-first century, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD, or Convention) has an opportunity to progressively reconfigure the structure and process of human rights oversight. The Convention was opened for signature on March 30, 2007, and entered into force on May 3, 2008. On November 3, 2008, a monitoring Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Committee) was elected during the initial Conference of States Parties to protect the rights of the world’s largest minority, some 650 million persons with disabilities.
The overall framework for monitoring and implementing the Convention resembles existing core human rights instruments, particularly the Enforced Disappearances treaty that was adopted eight days afterwards. At the same time, the Committee is endowed with several notable innovations of significant potential, especially in the breadth of reporting and investigative procedures, thereby offering prospects for other treaty bodies and the human rights system more generally. Accordingly, this Article examines the development of the CRPD Committee and assesses its potential for invigorating future United Nations monitoring reforms.
Part I of the Article describes the Committee established by the United Nations to scrutinize the CRPD and highlights its advances over other human rights treaty bodies. Next, Part II looks at monitoring innovations that were suggested during the CRPD negotiations at a time when treaty body reform was a major subtext, but ultimately were not incorporated into the final instrument. In doing so, Part II considers how adoption of some of these oversight procedures could have affected broader human rights treaty reform efforts at the United Nations. Finally, Part III suggests creative avenues through which the Committee may yet progressively shape the direction of human rights treaty monitoring through innovative practices.
Keywords: disability, human rights, united nations, treaties
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