Making the new space created in the UN CRPD real: Ensuring the voice and meaningful participation of the disability movement in policy-making and national monitoring
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The participation of persons with disabilities in policy and legislative processes and in monitoring the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is an international legal obligation guaranteed by Articles 4(3) and 33 of the UN CRPD. Yet, considering the long-term oppression of persons with disabilities in society, the successful implementation of the participatory provisions of the Convention presents a great challenge for all States Parties. The CRPD is supposed to be more than a visionary law and should serve as a tool to narrow the implementation gap between international law and its domestic interpretation. Without involving the voice of persons with disabilities in the implementation process, the CRPD will not remove all socially constructed barriers to bring about real change in people’s lives. Ensuring the full and meaningful participation for persons with disabilities, requires the establishment of new, accessible public procedures as opposing earlier tokenistic practices. The thesis offers a unique understanding of the complexities of the participatory provisions of the Convention from the socio-legal perspective including important public policy aspects. The thesis discusses in detail the challenges that the international disability movement as a new social movement is facing when participating in public procedures or interacting with the human rights system. Furthermore, the thesis provides the criteria of effective and meaningful participation of persons with disabilities building on the experiences of the grass-root disability movement. At the end of the thesis, recommendations are also provided to governments and to National Human Rights Institutions on how to support organisations of persons with disabilities to achieve meaningful participation.