Many people are prevented from participating fully in society by barriers that prevent them from realising all of their human rights. These barriers take many forms - physical barriers like buildings without wheelchair access, financial barriers like not having enough income to meet the costs of work, support or care, and cultural barriers like stigma or abuse.
The Commission promotes, protects and monitors the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - a special international treaty that protects the human rights of disabled people.
Known as CRPD, the Convention makes clear that disabled people have the same rights as non-disabled people, but are often disabled by the barriers they face in society. The Convention sets out what should be done to break down the barriers that prevent disabled people from realising all of their human rights.
The UK has been a party to the Convention since 2009. This means the Scottish Government has explicit duties to promote, protect and ensure the human rights of disabled people. Although the Convention does not form part of Scotland's domestic law directly, it can be used to help interpret the rights that are contained in the Human Rights Act 1998.
Reporting to the United Nations (UN)
Together with the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Equality Commission of Northern Ireland, the Scottish Human Rights Commission has been designated as part of the UK's Independent Monitoring Mechanism for the Convention (UKIM).
In 2017, the Commission presented evidence to the United Nations Committee for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The reports were prepared jointly by the Commission and the other members of the UKIM. The reports set out a series of areas where disabled people's rights are not currently being fully protected and realised in Scotland. They were submitted to the UN Committee in advance of the first review of the UK's implementation of the CRPD in March 2017.
An updated report was submitted to the UN CRPD Committee in July 2017.
In December 2017, a letter was sent to the UK's new Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work to follow up on the UN Committee's inquiry and related recommendations.
In October 2018, an updated report was submitted to the UN CRPD Committee.
Scottish Government and the Convention
In January 2016, the Commission responded to the Scottish Government's Draft Delivery Plan for the Convention. The response is a joint response with the Equality and Human Rights Commission. We want to hold the Scottish Government to account so that the rights of all disabled people in Scotland are recognised, promoted and respected.
We welcomed the fact the Scottish Government is using the Convention as the framework to deliver change and positive outcomes for disabled people in Scotland. We were pleased that disabled people had been involved in the drafting. However, the draft Plan omits people with mental health issues, which must be addressed.
In 2015, we made a submission to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on progress towards implementing the Convention. You can read our submission in Word format, PDF format and Easy Read version.
National Participation Day 2011
We hosted a national participation day in 2011 that brought together over 200 disabled people and disabled people's organisations, to learn more about the Convention and to become involved in putting it into practice. Read the report here.