The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - Human Rights Joint Committee Contents

6.  Monitoring and implementation

99.  The Convention makes provision for States to identify one or more domestic "focal points" for the implementation of the Convention and separate independent mechanisms for monitoring (Article 33). Most witnesses who commented supported the proposals to name the EHRC and their equivalents in the devolved regions as the part of the independent monitoring mechanism for the Convention in the UK.[104]

100.  The Government's focal point will be the ODI. The EHRC has welcomed this approach, but expressed some concerns about their need for independence from the Department for Work and Pensions. It also expressed concern that "robust focal points and coordination mechanisms are established in the devolved administrations. This is especially important given the increasingly different political and policy frameworks in each country of Britain and the UK".[105]

101.  As we have outlined above, we are concerned that the role of the ODI in relation to the process of ratification has been unclear. We consider that the focal point for the implementation of any international Convention should assume the responsibility for ensuring that the Government is taking all steps necessary to comply with the UK's international obligations. This requires a strong presence with clear influence across Government. Monitoring compatibility cannot be left entirely to the domestic independent mechanism, in this case, the UK's equality and human rights commissions. Government must assume a positive role in its approach to compliance. Article 33 of the UNCRPD, in our view, will not be satisfied by anything less.

102.  In the past, our predecessor Committee recommended that the Ministry of Justice should play this role across Government in relation to all of our international obligations.[106] In relation to the UK obligation to implement judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, we have recommended that the Secretary of State for Justice should have Ministerial responsibility for coordination across Government in order to add Cabinet-level credibility to this work. We have not yet received any substantive response to these recommendations.[107] If the ODI is to act as the focal point for the implementation of the UNCPRD, we call on the Government to ensure that the Office has the full cooperation of all departments in its endeavours to ensure that the UK complies with its obligations and that equality, respect and dignity for people with disabilities are mainstream concerns throughout all areas of Government. This must include provision for effective coordination with the devolved assemblies at a high level and, if necessary, the designation of separate focal points.

104   See for example Ev 60 Back

105   Ev 42 para 4.3 Back

106   Nineteenth Report of Session 2004-05, The Work of the Committee in the 2001-05 Parliament, paragraph 185. Back

107   Sixteenth Report of Session 2006-07, Monitoring the Government's Response to Court Judgments Finding Breaches of Human Rights. HL Paper 128/HC 728 Back

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