Realising Rights! The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

DESSA are working with the DPO Coalition on the development of a Shadow Report to the UN in relation to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 

The DPO Coalition is an alliance of disabled people and disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) which was established in 2020 to develop and submit a report to the UN on Ireland’s implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Jacqui Browne is leading this work as the independent Chair of the DPO Coalition. Jacqui is also Chairperson of DESSA. 

The Shadow Report will identify and highlight the barriers and issues of concern that prevent disabled people in Ireland from enjoying their human rights. 

This work is funded by IHREC, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. 

The DPO Coalition’s Shadow Report on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Ireland to the United Nations

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a United Nations document which sets out a series of rights and principles which obliges Governments (States) to ensure that those rights can be exercised. Ireland adopted the Convention in 2018. This means Ireland has made a commitment to protect and promote the rights of disabled people.

The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention by States Parties.  All countries must submit their first report to the UN Committee within 2 years of adopting the Convention. Ireland’s first report will be submitted to the UN Committee in 2021. 

What is a Shadow Report?

Disabled people, through their representative organisations, can report to the UN to help the Committee review the progress Ireland has made to protect, respect and fulfil the rights set out in the Convention. This report is known as a Shadow Report (formally an Alternative Report) – an independent report that ‘shadows’ the State’s report and presents a stand-alone view of how the State has honoured its obligations under the Convention. 

Why take part in the Shadow Reporting process? 

The aim of the Shadow Report is to provide the UN Committee with accurate information on Ireland’s disability rights record and to make recommendations for improving the protection of disabled people’s human rights. This information will help the UN Committee in assessing Ireland’s compliance with the Convention. 

The Shadow Report also allows you to draw the UN Committee’s attention to issues which the State has not or will not address adequately to allow disabled people to exercise their rights fully and provides an international forum for raising concerns.

How you can be involved

The DPO Coalition is seeking to gather information from people with lived experience of disability and their representative organisations. 

There are a number of ways you can engage with the DPO Coalition in the developing the Shadow Report:

1. Complete an online survey. The surveys will group questions into themes relating to different aspects of life, broadly linking to the Articles of the Convention. The survey will be available in March through the DPO Coalition member organisations. 

2. Participate in a focus group discussion. The focus groups will be conducted with each DPO Coalition member organisation and will take place in May 2021. 

What happens to your contributions? 

Our research and consultation team will be compiling information from the consultation events and survey and building a case for strong recommendations to improve the State’s compliance with the Convention, supporting disabled people across Ireland to exercise their rights fully. 

The report will include a wide selection of evidence from your experiences, alongside data on large-scale problems, and recommendations on how the State should review or extend its support of disabled people’s full participation in society. 

A draft report will be produced in June, and revised for submission by September to the UN Committee. 

What does the UN do with the report? 

This report will be considered alongside the State Report and all other Shadow Reports submitted. 

The report is first reviewed by the UN Committee, who compile a series of questions to put to the Irish Government on its compliance. A public hearing is then held in Geneva which is attended by the Irish Government and representatives of organisations who have submitted a Shadow Report. Questions are then put to the Government. This hearing is likely to be held online in late 2021. 

Following the hearing, the UN Committee produces a set of recommendations, called Concluding Observations, which set out actions that the State should implement in the next 4 year cycle of reporting. The UN Committee will review progress on these in 2025. The UN Committee also makes recommendations on actions that should be undertaken within 12 months, i.e. by end of 2022, and the State must report on their progress at the end of that 12 month period. 

What can the DPO Coalition achieve? 

  • Prioritise the voices of disabled people in holding the State to account for its compliance or otherwise with the Convention
  • Reflect the lived experiences of disabled people – from our own point of view – in the Committee’s discussions with the State
  • Ensure that our priorities are reflected in the Concluding Observations (recommendations) to the State, including in the 12 month priorities. 

Have your say!

Complete the online survey – Click here.
ISL version of the survey – Click here.

Further information on the DPO Coalition and the UN CRPD

The DPO Coalition 
The Coalition of Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs), also called the DPO Coalition, is an alliance of six national DPOs who have joined together for a specific purpose, to create a shadow report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on Ireland’s implementation of the UN CRPD.

The DPO Coalition’s current members are (click on an organisation’s name to be redirected to their website):

You can find out more about the UN CRPD here.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is the independent monitoring mechanism for the CRPD in Ireland. Click here for more information.

You can read Ireland’s Initial State Party Report and get information about how you can comment on the report here.