India (CRPD 29-10-2019)
The Committee considered the initial report of India (CRPD/C/IND/1) at its 485th and 486th meetings (see CRPD/C/SR.485 and 486), held on 2 and 3 September 2019. It adopted the present concluding observations at its 506th meeting, held on 18 September 2019.
B. Specific rights (arts. 5–30)
Equality and non-discrimination (art. 5)
- The Committee is concerned about:
(a) The lack of an explicit prohibition of disability-based discrimination in the Constitution, and the exception to the anti-discrimination clause in section 3 (3) of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, which allows discrimination against persons with disabilities under certain circumstances;
(b) Multiple and intersecting discrimination and discrimination by association in legislation and in practice against persons affected by leprosy and their family members, particularly women, who experience isolation, seclusion in “leprosy colonies” or at home, rejection from school, dismissal from jobs, and barriers to autonomy;
(c) The absence of measures to combat multiple and intersecting discrimination against, inter alia, persons with disabilities in scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, including Dalits and Adivasi, older persons with disabilities, persons with disabilities living with HIV/AIDS, indigenous persons with disabilities, persons with disabilities who belong to ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons with disabilities;
(d) The lack of effective redress in cases of discrimination on the basis of disability and multiple and intersecting discrimination, including gender-based discrimination against women with disabilities.
13. The Committee recommends that the State party, guided by the Committee’s general comment No. 6 (2018) on equality and non-discrimination and taking account of targets 10.2 and 10.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals:
(a) Amend the Constitution to explicitly prohibit disability-based discrimination and repeal section 3 (3) of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, ensuring that its legislation recognizes direct and indirect disability-based discrimination and multiple and intersecting discrimination as faced by persons with disabilities;
(b) Repeal all discriminatory legislation against persons affected by leprosy
in all areas, including provisions in the Hindu marriage rules and the family court rules and provisions restricting their freedom of movement or preventing them from participating in public life, and be guided by the principles and guidelines for the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family
members (A/HRC/15/30, annex) in order to address the situation of persons affected by leprosy and their family members
(c) Assess the situation of and adopt anti-discrimination legislation and public policies to tackle multiple and intersecting discrimination, with the aim of achieving inclusive equality for persons with disabilities facing such discrimination;
(d) Ensure access by persons with disabilities to effective legal remedies and redress, including compensation in cases of disability-based discrimination and the denial of reasonable accommodation, taking account of the gender dimension of discrimination against women with disabilities
Awareness-raising (art. 8)
18. The Committee is concerned about:
(a) The prevalence of prejudices and stigmas underpinning the isolation and segregation of persons with disabilities, and the limited impact of and lack of information provided by awareness-raising campaigns undertaken in rural areas, where disability is seen
as an “outcome of fate”;
(b) The regressive negative portrayal of persons with disabilities in the media, and a recent spate of unaddressed discriminatory and derogatory narratives by political leaders and actors;
(c) The lack of information made available on the Convention and other disability-rights related laws and policies, particularly in states in the north-east region.
- The Committee recommends that the State party, in cooperation with organizations of persons with disabilities:
(a) Adopt a national strategy to raise awareness and combat prejudices and stigmas against persons with disabilities, including in rural areas and targeting schools, and monitor its impact;
(b) Implement comprehensive awareness-raising programmes, including training, for policymakers, administrative staff at all levels of authority, the judiciary, law enforcement officers, the media, professionals and staff working with and for persons with disabilities and their families. The State party should promote the human rights model of disability, and address prejudices and the use of derogatory language against persons with disabilities in society and multiple and intersecting discrimination against intersex persons and on the grounds, inter alia, of sexual orientation and gender identity.
(c) Translate the Convention and its Optional Protocol and the Committee’s general comments into the local languages and disseminate them widely in accessible formats.
Right to life (art. 10)
- The Committee is concerned about the deaths of children with disabilities in institutions, and information about “mercy killings” of intersex children with disabilities. It is also concerned about information about alleged extrajudicial executions of persons with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities in conflict areas.
- The Committee recommends that the State party adopt measures to ensure respect for the right to life of all persons with disabilities, enforce investigations aimed at identifying the cause of death of children with disabilities in institutions and sanction the perpetrators. It also recommends that the State party protect intersex children from attacks against their lives and any related harmful practices, and adopt measures to prevent the execution of persons with disabilities in relation to violence and armed conflict.
Protecting the integrity of the person (art. 17)
- The Committee is concerned about:
(a) Continuing lawful practices of forced sterilization, forced contraception and forced abortion, particularly affecting women with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities in institutions;
(b) Harmful practices against women with disabilities, particularly forced marriages, dowry payments from families, and national schemes to promote financial incentives for marriage with a woman with disabilities or to prompt marriage among persons with disabilities;
(c) Sex-assignment or “sex-normalizing” surgery on intersex children, stigmatization and bullying against intersex children and their restricted access to community services.
- The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Repeal section 92 (f) of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act on the exception to the requirement of consent to abortion in women with “severe” disabilities and legislation authorizing medical treatment on the basis of third-party consent, and provide all persons with disabilities with supported decision-making mechanisms for expressing prior and informed consent to medical treatment;
(b) Redouble its efforts to enforce the legal prohibition of harmful practices such as dowry payments and forced marriages, in relation to women and girls with disabilities, and end harmful practices. The State party should ensure actual implementation of the recommendations issued by the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences (A/HRC/26/38/Add.1, para. 80 (b)) on designing and launching targeted awareness-raising campaigns at the community level on harmful practices;
(c) Adopt measures to prevent sex-assignment or “sex-normalizing” surgery, stigmatization and bullying against intersex children and ensure their right to respect for their physical and mental integrity.
Liberty of movement and nationality (art. 18)
- The Committee is concerned about:
(a) The lack of registration at birth of children with disabilities, particularly deafblind children, children requiring high levels of support and intersex children at a heightened risk of neglect, the absence of disaggregated data and the insufficiency of measures to ensure the early registration of and access to unique disability identification cards by children with disabilities in remote and rural areas, those internally displaced and those in refugee camps, resulting in their lack of access to community services;
(b) The situation of persons with disabilities, including Muslim persons with disabilities, rendered stateless as a result of the registry process undertaken in the State of Assam and currently in detention camps.
39. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Adopt a programme to ensure the registry of children with disabilities immediately after birth and the disaggregation of data of the birth registry, and to facilitate the recognition of unique disability identification cards for all children with
disabilities and their access to appropriate early intervention and community services;
(b) Ensure respect for and the protection of all human rights of persons with disabilities rendered stateless, including those in detention camps, urgently adopting measures to allow the reacquisition of nationality, and ratify or accede to the
Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons (1954) and the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness (1961).
Education (art. 24)
- The Committee is concerned about:
(a) The prevalence of segregated education, the high illiteracy rate among persons with disabilities, particularly persons with intellectual disabilities and women and girls with disabilities, and the low number of students with disabilities enrolled in mainstream inclusive education;
(b) Rejection from school of children with disabilities, particularly children affected by leprosy, and bullying against intersex children, causing many to drop out of school;
(c) The lack of accessible inclusive schools in rural and remote areas;
(d) The lack of training for school personnel, the lack of teaching methodologies and material to include children with disabilities, including for deafblind students, the limited number of seats for children with disabilities in schools, and the insufficient provision of sign language interpretation for students who are deaf or hard of hearing and of safe transportation for children with disabilities.
- The Committee recommends that the State party, guided by the Committee’s general comment No. 4 (2016) on the right to inclusive education and taking account of targets 4.5 and 4.a of the Sustainable Development Goals:
(a) Take measures to ensure the implementation of inclusive education for students with disabilities, and redouble its efforts to reduce illiteracy among persons with disabilities;
(b) Take measures to prevent the rejection, stigmatization and bullying of children with disabilities, particularly children affected by leprosy and intersex children, review regulations to ensure access to education, undertake campaigns to combat disability stereotypes and establish complaint mechanisms and sanctions in cases of discrimination;
(c) Ensure sustainable human and financial resources to build and maintain accessible schools for children with disabilities in rural areas;
(d) Ensure that the learning environment, including the physical environment, admission procedures, teaching resources and methodologies, online platforms for learning, classrooms and transport, are accessible and safe for children with disabilities, and adopt measures to ensure the provision and availability of sign language interpretation in the classrooms, augmentative and alternative communication and Easy Read at all levels of education.