What’s the CRPD?
The Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) sets out articles and conventions that describe what countries have to do to make sure that disabled people have the same rights as everybody else. The convention has 50 articles that make clear the human rights of persons with disabilities. These articles cover aspects of everyday life such as the right to go to school, to go to work, to see a doctor, and to have a family.
What’s a Parallel Report?
The report will contain recommendations to the Singapore Government on the strengthening of the national human rights protection within the scope of the CRPD. It will be presented alongside the Singapore Government’s Country Level report. Disabled Peoples Organisations (DPOs) are allowed and encouraged to submit parallel reports that will be reviewed by the Committee in addition to the reports submitted by State Parties. This Parallel Report aims to complement the State Report (and vice-versa) by providing different perspectives of disability rights in Singapore, rather than instigate conflict. Both reports are given equal weightage by the CRPD Committee upon review.
The Parallel Report will be ready by September 2019 (22nd Session) when the United Nations CRPD Committee will choose one of its members to be a country rapporteur for Singapore. In March 2020 (13th Pre-Sessional Working Group) the List Of Issues (LOIs) for Singapore should be available. This is when the Working Group from Singapore will speak to the CRPD Committee about the Parallel Report. In August 2020 (24th Session), the Working Group, together with the Singapore Government, will present their reports.
Why’s the report important?
The Parallel Report is an important aspect of civil society as it presents findings of an investigation into whether Singapore is meeting its obligations or not. The report will be written after consultations with persons with disabilities, with evidence from government and community inquiries.
The Parallel Report will also contain recommendations to the Singapore Government on strengthening national human rights protection within the scope of the CRPD. It does not aim to give answers, on the contrary, it focuses on selected issues and what else could be done to strengthen disability rights in Singapore.
The report will also act as an important check and balance from a grassroots perspective to the Country Level Report submitted by the Singapore Government.
Who should join the Working Group?
Everyone and anyone with disabilities who is interested in the progress Singapore is making in putting the UN CRPD into practice here is welcome to join the Working Group.
This is the first time that Singapore’s civil society will be submitting a Parallel Report, and as such, we start as we mean to go on, and for that reason it is important to showcase disability leadership in this report. This is why the Working Group will be chaired and made up of people with disabilities.
What about DPOs and Organisations?
Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) and other related organisations are more than welcome to be part of the Working Group if they can be represented by a staff or board of management member with a disability.
And what about if I’m an ally?
Allies such as advocates and caregivers without disabilities are invited to attend the Feedback Sessions and share your valuable insights with us there. The stories and insights shared with us during these Feedback Sessions will be brought back to the Working Group so that a more wholesome picture can be formed.
People with and without disabilities who are interested in sharing their views about the topic being discussed are invited to attend the feedback sessions. Each feedback session will be focused on a particular article of the CRPD and the session of open to all who passionate about the topic.
Feedback Sessions will be held once every 2 months. To register please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s the difference between a Feedback Session and a Working Group?
Feedback sessions are open to everyone who is interested in having an open and lively dialogue about the topic of the session. At these sessions we will gather valuable information and insights that will feed into the report. However, the final decision about what goes into the report will be made by the Working Group.
The CRPD Parallel Report Working Group meetings are closed door sessions. Only the Working Group, the Secretariat, and those invited by the Working Group may attend.
This was decided by the Working Group to ensure that discussions and decisions about what goes into the final report are done in a safe and private space where all the participants are comfortable expressing their views.
So, why is DPA taking on this role?
As Singapore’s only cross-disability advocacy organisation in Singapore, and as a member of Disabled Peoples’ International (DPI), it is DPA’s mandate to bring together persons with disabilities as well as other disability community members and allies to track the implementation of the CRPD as well as advocate for disability rights. DPA will act as the Secretariat, working closely with the CRPD Working Group to facilitate and ensure due diligence is incorporated into the process of development of the report.
Want to know more? Here’s some useful reading:
- Singapore And The CRPD: Disabled People’s Association, 2018
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Full Text)
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Easy Read)
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Video / CC)
- Singapore Country Level Report: Ministry of Social & Family Development, 2016
- 3rd Enabling Masterplan, 2017 – 2021