The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is one of 9 core International Human Rights Instruments.
International Human Rights Instruments are treaties and other international documents relevant to international human rights law and the protection of human rights in general.
They can be classified into two categories:
Declarations, adopted by bodies such as the United Nations General Assembly, which are not legally binding although they may be politically so as soft law; and
Conventions, which are legally binding instruments concluded under international law.
International treaties and even declarations can, over time, obtain the status of customary international law.
International Law is consent-based governance. This means that a state member may choose to not abide by international law, and even to break its treaty. This is an issue of state sovereignty.
Binding instruments, or ‘Hard Law’, establish rules expressly recognized by the contracting States (Article 38 (1) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice). States should explicitly express their consent through a specific procedure to be bound to the terms of a treaty.
The procedure of adoption and entry into force of treaties was codified by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties adopted on 22 may 1969. It is composed of three main stages:
Negotiation (to reach an agreement on the text),
Authentication (formalized by the signature) and
Ratification. (Ratification should be made in accordance with constitutional law of each country).
In general, States must obtain the authorization of their national legislative body (Parliaments) to do so. Once this procedure is accomplished, the Head of State deposits a ratification instrument with the depositary of the treaty (generally the Head of the intergovernmental organization or the hosting country of the international conference by which it was adopted).
When the UK ratified the CRPD, it assumed a legal obligation to implement the rights recognised in that treaty.
But signing up is only the first step, because recognition of rights on paper is not sufficient to guarantee that they will be enjoyed in practice.
So the UK Government incurs an additional obligation to submit regular reports to the monitoring committee set up under that treaty on how the rights are being implemented.
This system of human rights monitoring is common to most of the UN human rights treaties.
To meet their reporting obligation, the UK Government must submit an initial report usually one year after joining (two years in the case of the CRC) and then periodically in accordance with the provisions of the treaty (usually every four or five years).
In addition to the governments report, the treaty bodies may receive information on a country’s human rights situation from other sources, including non-governmental organisations, UN agencies, other intergovernmental organisations, academic institutions and the press.
In the light of all the information available, the Committee examines the report together with government representatives.
Based on this dialogue, the Committee publishes its concerns and recommendations, referred to as “concluding observations”.
This process lead to Sir Philip Alston’s investigation of the UK in 2018.
Through ratification of international human rights treaties, Governments undertake to put into place domestic measures and legislation compatible with their treaty obligations and duties.
The domestic legal system should provide the principal legal protection of human rights guaranteed under international law.
By ratifying the instrument,
States explicitly recognize their obligation to respect the terms of the treaty.
Every treaty contains normative provisions defining the legal obligations, and operating provisions describing the technical conditions for its entry into force, including the minimum required number of ratifications to be obtained.
Once these conditions are satisfied the treaty enters into force and becomes
legally binding for States Parties.
In accordance with the
principle of primacy of the international law over national law, States Parties are bound to adapt their national legislation to the provisions of the treaty
and introduce all relevant measures in their national legal system to implement their obligations under this treaty.
So why hasn’t the CRPD been fully integrated into UK law and decision making including so called “Best Interest Meetings” and any decision making done with or for a person living with Dementia or any other Disability made in accordance with the CRPD ????
Why are our rights not put before moving us from budget to budget, from hospital bed to being siloed in a care home, to removing our personhood and rights via the pathway of BPSD and any other action against International Law ????
It is estimated that over 20% of the worlds population have some form of disability which is roughly equivalent to the population of India or China.
Whether we are a person living with Dementia, a disability, a family member, professional, decision maker, government or society as a whole, we should all know and understand the United Nations Conventions and act in accordance with them.
The lessons of the first world war and before were not learnt, leading to poverty, food banks, the ignoring of peoples rights and the wholesale slaughter of the Disabled, Gypsies and the Jewish and other faiths through to places such as Bosnia and Rwanda.
History teaches us that to not treat people in a humane, rights based and dignified matter leads to a breakdown of civilised society and the insidious introduction of extreme politics.
To ignore a persons rights is Inhumane
To act in accordance with a persons rights is Humane