Our work on the UN's CRPD
What is the CRPD?
The purpose of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) is to 'promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.'
This vital disability rights document is an important part of the work of The Leprosy Mission as we use it as a foundation from which to ensure all persons affected by leprosy can access their rights.
Persons affected by leprosy and many of their family members are entitled to the rights provided under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on the basis of not only physical and psychosocial impairments, but also of the impairing effects of leprosy-related stigmatization. -Alice Cruz, Special Rapporteur on discrimination against persons with leprosy
TLM at the CRPD Conference
Each year the UN hosts a Conference of the State Parties to the CRPD. This Conference (also known as COSP) is an opportunity for governments, organisations of persons with disability, and civil society to come together and consider how the Convention is being implemented and what more can be done to ensure the rights of persons with disabilities. TLM has attended the Conference every year since 2018 as part of our efforts to ensure that the voices of persons affected by leprosy are heard in the wider disability rights discourse.
Giving speeches at the Conference
Each year, TLM looks for opportunities to address the Conference. We do this either through speaking at one of the Conference's plenary sessions, or by speaking at a roundtable event. Our commitment is always to ensuring that persons affected by leprosy have their voices heard directly, so we have seen Mr Amar Timalsina and Mr U Soe Win, two persons affected by leprosy, address the conference in previous years.
Hosting side events at the Conference
Civil Society organisations like TLM are able to host side events at the Conference. We look to host a side event each year, something we take very seriously as our side events are often the only side events that will consider the rights of persons affected by leprosy.
In 2020, as the Conference was hosted online due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our side event was held via video conference for the first time. You can watch that side event below and hear about the challenges that women affected by leprosy.
Working with the CRPD Committee
As with any UN Convention, the CRPD has a corresponding committee, which is responsible for holding governments accountable on issues related to the Convention. This includes regular reviews of each nation that signed the CRPD. The Committee will consider whether the government of a nation has lived up to its commitments to protect the rights of persons with disabilities and civil society organisations are invited to contribute to these reviews.
TLM aims to submit reports to the Committee whenever it is reviewing one of our Member Countries. Through these submissions we highlight the issues that persons affected by leprosy are facing in accessing their rights.