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.
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".
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.
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.
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
104 See for example Ev 60 Back
Ev 42 para 4.3 Back
Nineteenth Report of Session 2004-05, The Work of the Committee
in the 2001-05 Parliament, paragraph 185. Back
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