The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is an international legal agreement. It exists to protect and promote the human rights of disabled people.
The UK signed the treaty in 2009 – a commitment to promote and protect the human rights of disabled people.
The Convention covers a wide range of areas including:
- access to justice
- personal security
- independent living
- access to information
The CRPD treaty cycle
Our work related to CRPD
We worked jointly with the Scottish Human Rights Commission, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland to produce an update report for the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The report notes the progress that has been made by UK governments to put in place the recommendations made by the Committee in 2017 to improve the lives of disabled people in the UK, as well as the areas where improvement is needed.
We produced a plain English version of the UN's recommendations for the UK, as well as an easy read summary, a British Sign Language (BSL) video and a Welsh translation, so that disabled people know what the government has been asked to do.
Read the report: How well is the UK performing on disability rights
The UK Independent Mechanism (UKIM) – made up of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Scottish Human Rights Commission, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland – provided a shadow report to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We made 130 recommendations for change across 14 priority areas.
Read the submission: Disability rights in the UK: updated submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (includes links to PDF, Word, easy read, BSL and Welsh language versions).
The four UK Equality and Human Rights Commissions submitted reports to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:
- United Kingdom main submission (PDF)
- United Kingdom main submission (Word)
- United Kingdom main submission Welsh language executive summary (Word)
The commissions also produced supplementary reports relating to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, asking questions about problems affecting disabled people in each country:
- England supplementary submission (PDF)
- England supplementary submission (Word)
- Wales supplementary submission (PDF)
- Wales supplementary submission (Word)
- Wales supplementary submission: Welsh language version (Word)
- Scotland supplementary submission (PDF)
- Scotland supplementary submission (Word)
- Northern Ireland supplementary submission (PDF)
- Northern Ireland supplementary submission (Word)
Accessible versions are also available:
We received a response in January 2017.
For more information about CRPD Committee inquiries, see below information on 'UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities'.
Find out more
The Committee sometimes issues ‘general comments’ which explain how CRPD can be applied in specific situations.
You can find these on the UN website.
Individual complaints and inquiries
The UK government has signed the CRPD Optional Protocol.
This means that disabled people can complain to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities if they feel their Convention rights have been breached, and if they have already tried all other ways to achieve justice.
It also means the Committee can investigate allegations of serious or common violations of Convention rights.
In 2014 the UN Committee launched an inquiry into the UK under Article 6 of the CRPD Optional Protocol.
A variety or organisations, such as disabled people’s organisations, submitted information to the inquiry. We also made submissions.
The inquiry examined the impact of changes to law and policy adopted by the UK Government since 2010 on disabled people’s rights. This included disabled people's rights to:
- live independently
- be included in the community
- have an adequate standard of living
- have social protection
- work and employment
In November 2016 the UN Committee published its report, which concluded that there was reliable evidence of serious or systematic violations of the rights of disabled people in the UK.
It made a number of recommendations, including a recommendation for the UK government to carry out an assessment of the impact of their policies since 2010 on disabled people.
The UK government's response to the inquiry rejected the inquiry’s conclusions.
It is too early to judge the impact of the inquiry for disabled people’s rights in the UK.
However, the inquiry process provided an independent platform for disabled people to voice their grievances.
The inquiry can also be used in ongoing efforts to seek action from the UK government.
States that ratify the CRPD are required to set up or appoint an independent body known as an ‘independent mechanism’ to monitor the implementation of the Convention.
The Commission is a member of the UK’s independent mechanism, alongside the Scottish Human Rights Commission, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.
In its work on the CRPD, the Commission often works jointly with the other members of the UK Independent Mechanism, for example when producing our shadow reports to submit to the UN Committee.
In 2014 the UN Human Rights Council created the role of UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of disabled people.
Part of this role is to report annually to the UN Human Rights Council and General Assembly with recommendations on how to better promote and protect the rights of disabled people.
The Commission has made submissions to a number of studies conducted by the Special Rapporteur, including contributions on:
The Commission is chair of the CRPD Working Group of the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI). One of the Group’s main aims is to support international cooperation on promoting, protecting and monitoring the implementation of the Convention.
Last updated: 12 Oct 2018