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Comparative Analysis on UN CRPD Implementation in ASEAN


In 2011, a landmark study by the World Health Organization and World Bank concluded that more than one billion people are living with some form of disability (WHO/World Bank, 2011). As many as 650 million people are living with some form of disability in the Asia-Pacific Region (UNESCAP, 2013). While staggering, these numbers are considered conservative, as statistics on persons with disabilities are notoriously unreliable and as older populations begin to manifest these conditions. Many persons with disabilities face marginalization in their countries, especially regarding access to transportation, information and communication, education, employment, and political representation. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) addresses these issues and is seen as the first human rights treaty of the 21st century (Lord, 2004; Lord and Stein, 2008). It provides a comprehensive policy framework to address the rights of persons with disabilities, and includes an innovative requirement for national and regional-level implementation (Article 33) that includes a high-level focal point for coordination, an independent mechanism for monitoring, and a multistakeholder/multisectoral approach to implementation. On 30 March 2007, the CRPD was opened for signature. All 10 ASEAN countries have signed, with only Brunei left to ratify.

The IDPP's Comparative Analysis on implementation of the CRPD in ASEAN is a multi-national, multi-institutional research project evaluating the national implementation mechanisms for Article 33 of the CRPD in ASEAN. The study is being conducted by an international and multidisciplinary team of researchers and focuses on the implementation of the CRPD in all 10 countries of ASEAN.

Research presentations on preliminary findings and case studies were delivered at the International Studies Association (ISA) Global South Caucus in January 2015 and at the ISA 2015 Annual Convention in March 2015.

Research Questions

Using conceptual framework (adapted from de Beco, 2013), this research aims to answer four “grand tour” research questions:

(1) What factors influenced the country to ratify (or consider ratifying) the CRPD?

(2) How is the country structuring the focal point for implementing the CRPD?

(3) What is the independent mechanism established by the country to monitor implementation of the CRPD?; and

(4) How are civil society organizations, particularly DPOs, involved in the implementation of the CRPD?