Event Report: Seminars on Systems/Policies concerning Survival "Disability/Society" No. 4 "Domestic Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and Policy Committee for the Disabled"
On October 4th (Sat.), the Research Center for Ars Vivendi, Ritsumeikan University organized in the Kinugasa Campus the forth seminar in the “Systems and Policies concerning Survival: Disability and Society” series entitled “Domestic Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and Policy Committee for the Disabled”. Centering on Satoshi Kawashima's presentation that focused on the interpretations of “national implementation and monitoring” stipulated in Article 33 of the CRPD, the participants discussed the roles governmental agencies and particularly the Commission on Policy for Persons with Disabilities play in the implementation of the Convention.
In his presentation, Mr. Kawashima pointed out that the national monitoring of the CRPD (Article 33) was implemented through the monitoring of the Basic Disability Plan (Shogaisha Kihon Keikaku) in Japan and, elaborating on this aspect of the CRPD, he gave a comparative analysis of the monitoring systems established so far in the U.K. and Germany.
The points of the presentation, which attracted particular interest of the participants, were the “independent mechanism” that has to be enforced for the monitoring, how this independence is interpreted in the framework of Japanese institutions, and how it should be ensured. It was mentioned that the explanation offered to the public in Japan is that it is the administrative aspect of the endeavor that has to be independent, which is why the Commission on Policy for Persons with Disabilities was established as a separate body, but what is usually being left out is the fact that the government is given free hand in selection of the Commission's members, resulting in an organization highly dependant on the structures, which established it. Another point that was particularly emphasized is the issue of the function to protect implementation of the CRPD, as is provided in Article 33(2).
One comment from the audience was that independence of the three branches of government does not necessarily mean independence from the government itself, and that there is a limit to the level of independence that can be achieved. It was also pointed out that if an organization is independent of the three branches of government, it may not have the power it needs to achieve its purposes. For example, human rights organizations in Germany do not have enough influencing power for that very reason: being independent of the three branches of government, they do not have close enough connections to the three powers.
One of the conclusions of the discussion as a whole was that although the problem of how to establish an independent mechanism that can exercise influence on policies is important, one sound direction that is more firmly based on the real state of affairs would be for the disabled movement to simply strive and gain means of protection for their livelihood.
The seminar was an invaluable opportunity for the participants to question the very state of our society as it is today, as we are striving to establish the foundation for the main slogan of the CRPD: 'Nothing about us without us!'