'Nothing About Us Without Us'

’ Nothing about us without us’ was the slogan often repeated during the negotiations of the Ad Hoc Committee that worked towards the CRPD. The slogan has its basis in the point of view that persons with disabilities themselves need to be included in processes involving them with the aim of avoiding dependence, control and paternalism of society. The slogan brings explicit the well founded fear that the needs of this group of people neither can nor will be taken note of if persons with disabilities are not included in decision-making.

The UN CRPD lays a solid platform for this obligation, starting from the General Principles in Article 3 (c) which pinpoints full and effective participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities in society and from General Obligations in Article 4 (1), which mandates the State Parties to closely consult with and actively involve persons with disabilities through their representative organizations, and ending in the duty to include organizations of persons with disabilities in some of the specific areas, such as international co-operation (Article 32) and National implementation and monitoring of the UN CRPD (Article 33). In the specific context of Article 33 of the CRPD, the mandate to include organizations of persons with disabilities is very strong.

As a conclusion; there is a normative mandate to include organizations of persons with disabilities in all the bodies that will be maintained or established in the context of Article 33 of the CRPD. Many governments are planning how to make the CRPD part of their legal systems. The level of participation of persons with disabilities in the planning processes and in the planned organizational models is varying between states. The topic is extremely relevant especially in the development context, as it is crucial that persons with disabilities are included everywhere to enable the inclusion of global disability rights issues in the agendas of government bodies working with the CRPD.

There are already 109 ratifications of the CRPD and even more, 153, signatures to the CRPD, so there are so many different models!

‘Nothing about us without us’!