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EASPD Recap: Mandate on new Special Rapporteur on Rights of persons with disabilities

Prof. Quinn has recently provided a Vision report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities. EASPD has provided a summary of the discussion found in the report.
 
The mandate includes a call for inclusive equality, which is more than the severe treatment between different categories of people but deeply ingrained in personhood. It goes further to mention that equality entails a commitment to inclusion, belonging and participation. It requires a redesign of social support and services to make autonomy and participation a reality.
 
The mandate has a broad scope as the special rapporteur intends to focus on three categories that the special rapporteur considers priorities and build upon the previous mandate holder's work, Catalina Devandas Aguilar.
 

  1. Key Threats facing humanity:
    1. COVID-19 Pandemic and the need for a resilient and inclusive recovery.
    2. Climate change and the need for disability-inclusive planning.
    3. Armed conflicts and associated peacebuilding processes and humanitarian settings; and
    4. Extreme poverty and the need for innovative solutions
  2. Hidden or under-analysed Intersectional Factors
    1. Old Age
    2. Indigenous origins
  3. Clusters of rights
    1. Debate about deinstitutionalisation
    2. Examining innovation concerning the design and delivery of long-term care services in the 21st century

This mandate highlights the impact of the COVID-19 on persons with disabilities. Preventive and precautionary measures were relatively inaccessible to many persons with disabilities during the crisis as service support was removed or proved fragile. Mentioned the need and importance for persons with disabilities to be included in COVID-19 recovery programmes in sustainable development goals.
 
The use of artificial intelligence is growing fast in every aspect of life, and the mandate outlines the concerns of such technology, especially in the field of employment. AI and machine learning might have the effect of further impeding persons with disabilities when it comes to the process of shortlisting based on curricula vitae. There is a concern that the system may exclude candidates based on their disability if they do not fit the AI's predictions or preference for a specific job description. Furthermore, the mandate states a need to think through the long-term implications of advances of AI for persons with disabilities and propose ways of harnessing the said technology to benefit persons with disabilities.
 
The impact of climate change is an increasing concern for special rapporteur, who stated in the mandate that it could have an intense effect on certain groups affected by poverty and discrimination that is mainly for persons with disabilities. The loss of income and livelihood opportunities, displacement, and hunger can harm persons with disabilities' health. The intersectional factors of discrimination related to gender, age, displacement, indigenous origin or minority status can further heighten the risks of persons with disabilities experiencing these negative impacts of climate change. Climate adaptative measures must include building much more climate-friendly and inclusive environments such as inclusive and accessible mass transit building and homes.
 
The mandate outlines a need to move away from an old service, the medical model of proven needs and delivered via bureaucratic systems towards a right-based model based on inclusion. Pointing out a growing trend around the world towards the personalisation of service and the devolution of budgets to the person, they remain in control with support. This trend away from coercive measures in the mental health field also calls for new kinds of community-based services that may be incredibly impactful during crisis moments.
 
Report conclusion: Prof. Quinn provides an overview of the activities undertaken in 2020 and describes his vision of the mandate during his tenure, looking at the impact of several critical events on rights on persons with disabilities.