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General Comment No. 2 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Article 9: Accessibility (2014)

United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities International Human Rights Instruments and Resources General Comments of UN Treaties United Nations 22 May 2014 Policy document CRPD/C/GC/2 CRPD, human rights

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Description

Accessibility is a precondition for persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully and equally in society. Without access to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communication, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, persons with disabilities would not have equal opportunities for participation in their respective societies. It is no coincidence that accessibility is one of the principles on which the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is based (art. 3 (f)). Historically, the persons with disabilities movement has argued that access to the physical environment and public transport for persons with disabilities is a precondition for freedom of movement, as guaranteed under article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Similarly, access to information and communication is seen as a precondition for freedom of opinion and expression, as guaranteed under article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 19, paragraph 2, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has considered accessibility as one of the key issues in each of the 10 interactive dialogues it has held with States parties during the consideration of their initial reports, prior to the drafting of the present general comment. The concluding observations on those reports all contain recommendations concerning accessibility. One common challenge has been the lack of an adequate monitoring mechanism to ensure the practical implementation of accessibility standards and relevant legislation. Another common challenge has been the lack of training provided to the relevant stakeholders and insufficient involvement of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in the process of ensuring access to the physical environment, transport, information and communication.

Given these precedents and the fact that accessibility is indeed a vital precondition for persons with disabilities to participate fully and equally in society and enjoy effectively all their human rights and fundamental freedoms, the Committee finds it necessary to adopt a general comment on article 9 of the Convention on accessibility, in accordance with its rules of procedure and the established practice of the human rights treaty bodies.

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