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COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES REVIEWS THE REPORT OF NEPAL

20 February 2018

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities today concluded its consideration of the initial report of Nepal on its implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Presenting the report, Naindra Prasad Upadhaya, Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, noted that following Nepal’s ratification of the Convention in May 2010, the country had made notable progress in the area of disability. In September 2015 Nepal had adopted a democratic and inclusive Constitution, which guaranteed a comprehensive set of rights specifically referring to persons with disabilities and had set out special provisions to ensure their access to education, social justice and proportional representation at local bodies. The Disability Rights Act of 2017, which replaced the Disabled Persons Welfare Act of 1982, had made significant departure from the welfare-based approach to the rights-based approach to disability. The Act fully recognized the principles on which the Convention was founded, and it had widened the definition of persons with disabilities in line with the Convention, recognizing the intersectionality within disability, eliminating derogatory narratives and criminalizing the use of such narratives. The National Penal Code of 2017 criminalized discrimination based on disability with heavy penalty.

Mohna Ansari, Commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission of Nepal, noted that the Constitution of Nepal was progressive in terms of ensuring the rights of citizens, including persons with disabilities. Unfortunately, very few persons with disabilities knew their rights, and deeply rooted stereotypes towards persons with disabilities still existed. Civil servants still had to make policies more human rights friendly, and ensure that there was more than just nominal representation of persons with disabilities in the political arena. Persons with disabilities belonging to weaker sections of the society, namely the Dalits and the poor and marginalized, faced violations of multiple rights. The National Human Rights Commission, therefore, called on the authorities to expedite efforts to address those intersectional issues.

In the ensuing discussion, Committee Experts acknowledged the efforts that the State party had made in preparing the report by bringing together the cross-sectoral representation by the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, and by holding consultations with a range of stakeholders. Nevertheless, they expressed concern that persons with disabilities had not been closely involved in the preparation of the report. Experts further inquired about the definition of disability, statistics on disability, multiple discrimination, accessibility standards, legal remedies available to persons with disabilities and reasonable accommodation, and the formal involvement of persons with disabilities in decision-making and policy-making processes. Other issues raised included the economic empowerment of women with disabilities, support services, awareness-raising initiatives and budgets for indigenous persons with disabilities, abandonment of children with disabilities, training on disability offered to public servants, registration of organizations of persons with disabilities, disability friendly disaster risk reduction plans, free legal aid and access to justice, guardianship, legal capacity and supported decision-making schemes, forced institutionalization and non-consensual medical treatment of persons with psycho-social disabilities, the status of sign language, the employment quota system, social protection benefits, voting, inclusive education, health outcomes for persons with intellectual disabilities, and monitoring of the Convention.

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Upadhaya appreciated the constructive spirit of the dialogue, adding that as a least developed country, Nepal still had a long way to go. Its commitment, nonetheless, was unwavering.

Hyung Shik Kim, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Nepal, commended the willingness of the Government to improve its efforts, but observed a gap in the working relationship between the State party and civil society. The Convention was about a real commitment to mobilize resources to implement its provisions, rather than about philosophical dwellings, Mr. Kim stressed.

Theresia Degener, Committee Chairperson, acknowledged the open and cooperative interaction of the delegation with the Committee. She thanked civil society from Nepal for an excellent parallel report, expressing hope that the Government of Nepal would take it into account.

The delegation of Nepal included representatives of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and of the Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The Committee will next meet in public today at 3 p.m. to consider the initial report of Oman (CRPD/C/OMN/1).

Report

The initial report of Nepal can be read here: CRPD/C/NPL/1

Presentation of Report

NAINDRA PRASAD UPADHAYA, Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare of Nepal, said that Nepal attached high importance to the protection and promotion of human rights, including the rights of persons with disabilities, and outlined Nepal’s efforts to implement the provisions of the Convention, highlighting the achievements and challenges. Following the ratification of the Convention in May 2010, Nepal had made notable progress in the area and had gone through broad-ranging political changes. In 2015 it had adopted a democratic and inclusive Constitution, which enshrined civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, pluralism, the rule of law, and a representative Government. The Constitution safeguarded the rights of individuals and groups in an inclusive manner, and ensured the inclusive representation of marginalized and vulnerable persons, including persons with disabilities. It allowed for the participation of persons with disabilities at the local and national levels, including in Parliament. This was a major milestone in Nepal’s democratic transition. Persons with disabilities were mainstreamed in the political and development process. The new Constitution, therefore, provided for the robust protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in line with the Convention.

The Constitution guaranteed comprehensive sets of rights, specifically referring to persons with disabilities, and had set out special provisions to ensure their access to education, social justice and proportional representation in local bodies. It ensured that every person lived in dignity and strictly prohibited discrimination on the basis of disability. The Disability Rights Act of 2017, which replaced the Disabled Persons Welfare Act of 1982, had made a significant departure from the welfare-based approach to the rights-based approach to disability. The Act fully recognized the principles on which the Convention was founded. It had widened the definition of persons with disabilities in line with the Convention, and it recognized the intersectionality within disability, eliminated derogatory narratives and criminalized the use of such narratives. The National Penal Code of 2017 criminalized discrimination based on disability with heavy penalty. Nepal had been implementing some major programmes to protect the rights of persons with disabilities, such as the community-based rehabilitation programmes, awareness-raising campaigns, support in the production and distribution of assistive devices, grants to the organizations of persons with disabilities, distribution of identity cards and social security allowances, tax exemption for assistive devices and vehicles, building codes for improved accessibility, representation of persons with disabilities in all three tiers of the Government, inclusive access to education, free health services, and affirmative action in employment.

The remaining challenges included Nepal’s difficult topography and high risk of natural disasters, the paucity of financial, technical and other resources to implement the enormous competing social and development priorities, mainstreaming disability issues in the new structures of federal dispensation, and capacity constraints to adopt and afford new technology. Nevertheless, the Government was committed to the principles and purposes of the Convention, and it had deployed serious and consistent efforts to translate those commitments into actions through policies, programmes and institutional measures, Mr. Upadhaya concluded.

MOHNA ANSARI, Commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission of Nepal, noted that the Constitution of Nepal was progressive in terms of ensuring the rights of citizens, including persons with disabilities. Parliament had endorsed new laws on disability in 2017 which were compatible with the Convention. Both the Constitution and the laws had ensured the right to life, equality and non-discrimination, equal protection, freedom of movement, free education, medical facilities, freedom of opinion and expression, freedom from torture, personal integrity, social security, employment opportunities, and access to justice. Unfortunately, very few persons with disabilities knew their rights. Deeply rooted stereotypes towards persons with disabilities were still aggravating discriminatory practices towards them. There were still misconceptions within the Government regarding persons with disabilities as rights holders. Civil servants still had to make policies more human rights friendly, whereas there was only nominal representation of persons with disabilities in the political arena. In terms of access to justice, persons with disabilities lacked interpreters, whereas the inaccessibility of essential medicines had caused problems in the treatment of persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities who belonged to weaker sections of the society, namely the Dalits and the poor and marginalized, faced violations of multiple rights. The National Human Rights Commission, thus, called on the authorities to expedite efforts to address those intersectional issues.

Questions by Committee Experts

HYUNG SHIK KIM, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Nepal, acknowledged the efforts that the State party had made in preparing the report by bringing together the cross-sectoral representation by the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, and by holding consultations with a range of stakeholders. Nevertheless, Mr. Kim expressed concern that the representative organizations of persons with disabilities had not been closely involved in the preparation of the report.

Mr. Kim observed that the State party had enacted legislation incorporating article 3 of the Convention. He inquired about the significance of the Bill for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities tabled on 7 August 2017. Had the State party developed a national action plan for the implementation of the 2017 Disability Rights Act? Did the definition of disability contained in the Act comply with the Convention?

How did the authorities intend to use disability statistics to develop national disability policies? Mr. Kim observed that the classification for the issuing of a disability identity card retreated from the rights-based approach to disability? When would the 2017 Disability Rights Act be translated into English, Mr. Kim asked?

What was the update on the enforcement of judicial decisions? Had there been any cases of charges on the grounds of disability discrimination? Was multiple discrimination considered as an aggravated form of discrimination in Nepal’s jurisprudence?

What measures was Nepal taking to ensure access to social support services and healthcare to children with disabilities in rural areas? Were there any plans to make training on accessibility and accessibility standards a mandatory part of architects and urban planners’ formal education? Had the Committee’s General Comment No. 2 on accessibility been translated in Nepal? What concrete and identifiable achievements could the State party share with respect to accessibility? Were public services and buildings accessible to persons with disabilities, regardless of their type of disability?

Were there any legal remedies available to persons with disabilities who had been victims of discrimination? Was reasonable accommodation guaranteed in all areas of life without exception? What was the number of children with disabilities benefiting from early intervention services?

To what extent had organizations of persons with disabilities been consulted about the final version of Nepal’s initial report? How were women with disabilities economically empowered and how were they guaranteed access to sexual and reproductive health services? How were the human rights of indigenous women with disabilities guaranteed? What policies were in place to protect their rights?

How and when would the State party accelerate the process of developing a measurable strategic framework to abolish laws, customs and practices that constituted discriminatory practices against persons with disabilities? How would organizations of persons with disabilities be actively included in that process?

How would indigenous persons with disabilities be involved in the adoption and development of policies on the Sustainable Development Goals? What support services and awareness raising initiatives existed for indigenous persons with disabilities, and was there a sufficient budget for independent living, employment, education and social protection for them?

What was the Government doing to do away with the stigmatizing attitude toward persons with disabilities in the Hindu community? What measures was it putting in place to ensure that disability definitions were in line with the Convention?

What awareness campaigns on disability had the authorities initiated? What measures were in the pipeline to ensure that all persons with disabilities received disability identity cards? What policies and measures were in place to ensure the rights of children with disabilities, including children with psychosocial disabilities and indigenous children with disabilities?

To what extent had the Government systemized, through new legislation, the formal involvement of persons with disabilities in decision-making and policy-making processes? How did the Act of 2017 deal with the failure to provide reasonable accommodation? Were there any examples of court cases?

How did the Government tackle the problem of the abandonment of children with disabilities? To what extent had the Government stepped up the enforcement of accessibility, including measures of sanctions for those who failed to respect the accessibility standards?

How was the Convention publicized at the national and local level? Was there any training on disability offered to public servants? Were persons with intellectual disabilities part of civil society organizations? Did the Government plan to change the definition of disability?

Was there a mechanism for the registration of organizations of persons with disabilities? On what criteria was it based? In what areas had the relevant authorities received complaints from persons with disabilities?

Replies by the Delegation

NAINDRA PRASAD UPADHAYA, Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, stressed that all members of civil society and concerned stakeholders had been involved in the preparation of the country report. The Disability Rights Act of 2017 clearly reflected the rights enshrined in the national Constitution. The Government had mobilized significant resources for the cause of persons with disabilities. The authorities were currently ensuring the harmonization and incorporation of the Convention in national legislation.

The delegation stated that Nepal had adopted a human rights-approach to the implementation of the Convention. Equality and non-discrimination had been the hallmarks of that approach. The Government had tried to create an enabling environment for the implementation of the provisions of the Convention, such as raising awareness, and collecting disaggregated data on disability. All three levels of the Government were responsible for the implementation of the Convention. The local level was directly responsible for the implementation of the rights of persons with disabilities.

Specific legal provisions enshrined the principle of reasonable accommodation and prohibited discrimination based on disability. There was an extensive participatory discussion in the elaboration of those laws. The recently enacted Criminal Code stipulated imprisonment or a monetary fine, or both for the act of discrimination on the grounds of disability.

Social attitudes towards disability remained a challenge, however. In view of that fact, the Government prioritized education and awareness raising. The authorities had imparted education for the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities, and had trained public servants. The Government had also established a collaboration mechanism for the implementation of the Convention. The judiciary played a proactive role in that field, namely the Supreme Court had issued directives to the Government to pay monthly allowances to families of persons with disabilities and to appoint monitoring officers.

As for the legal remedies available to persons with disabilities, those included judicial, administrative and mediation remedies. The Association Registration Act regulated the registration of organizations representing persons with disabilities, and clearly stipulated the Government’s obligation to consult them when making decisions pertinent to persons with disabilities.

DEEPAK DHITAL, Permanent Representative of Nepal to the United Nations Office at Geneva, noted that Committee Experts’ questions had provided important insight into what needed to be done to improve the situation of persons with disabilities in the country. Noting the recent political changes in Nepal, Mr. Dhital stressed that the new Constitution was human rights-based. Following the advice of international partners, the authorities were working on policies to adequately address the problems faced by persons with disabilities. The Government had incorporated the Convention in its Disability Rights Act of 2017. Implementation required the rule of law and collaboration with civil society, as well as awareness raising at the grass-root level. The view that disability was not an excuse to violate the rights of persons needed to be entrenched at the family level. The past negative narratives about disability had undergone change, whereas the Government had worked to mainstream persons with disability into social and political life through affirmative action. The progress was incremental. In the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake and the reconstruction effort, the Government was trying to address the concerns of persons with disabilities the best it could. As for indigenous persons with disabilities, more sensitivity was necessary. Persons with disabilities needed to organize themselves and raise their collective voice. Sexual and any other kind of violence against persons with disabilities was taken seriously and severely punished. The distribution of identity cards for persons with disabilities was not meant to discriminate, but to ensure that a person in need received the right kind of support from the Government.

The delegation said that the Government had adopted the Accessibility Guidelines, which were also instruments of law. They had been prepared in consultation with a range of civil society organizations representing persons with disabilities. The construction of new public buildings was performed in line with the Accessibility Guidelines. Following the 2015 earthquake, the Government had adopted the National Building Code in 2016 to ensure the construction of buildings in line with accessibility standards.

Nepal had adopted a zero tolerance policy with respect to gender-based violence, and the Government had established support and rehabilitation units for the victims of such violence in all districts. It had been mobilizing funds for the rescue and rehabilitation of victims, and the provision of medical support and counseling, and legal aid. The Government also provided social security allowance for children with profound and severe disabilities, as well as care taker training to families.

The definition of disability used in Nepal was in line with the Convention. The Disability Rights Act of 2017 afforded education, social, health and leisure services to persons with disabilities, as well as remedial measures in case of the violation of those rights. The National Judicial Academy conducted tailor-made training on different aspects of human rights, including on disability.

Turning to the implementation of laws, the delegation noted that if someone committed an offence against persons with disabilities, he or she would receive a more severe punishment based on the aggravated circumstances linked to the disability. In criminal proceedings, courts provided priority to parties with disabilities.

Questions by Committee Experts

Did Nepal have disaster risk reduction plans and programmes to inform persons with disabilities about the rules and instructions for the organization of personal safety during disasters? Was there regular training for professionals on how to improve the safety of all persons with disabilities during natural disasters? Were persons with disabilities involved in the design of disaster risk reduction plans?

Was free legal aid for persons with disabilities provided at all levels of the judiciary? Were persons with disabilities provided with sign language interpretation in courts? Who paid for the cost of the service?

What measures had the State party taken to ensure access to justice for persons with disabilities? Were there any training programmes for court and police officials to attend to the needs of persons with disabilities?

What did the term “reasonable classification” mean with respect to the legal capacity of persons with disabilities? What was the present situation of the legal capacity of persons with intellectual disabilities? What were concrete measures planned with respect to supported decision-making schemes? Were persons with disabilities sterilized without consent and were any medical experiments conducted on them?

What were the results of the interim plans on the possibilities for persons with disabilities to be realistically included in the community at the local, regional and national levels? What measures had been taken to provide personal assistance to persons with disabilities? Were assistive devices affordable for persons with disabilities?

An Expert observed that the delegation of Nepal did not have any representative with disabilities.

Experts also raised the issues of forced institutionalization, torture of persons with psychosocial disabilities in hospitals, and their non-consensual treatment. Was civil society involved in the drafting of the new Mental Health Law?

THERESIA DEGENER, Committee Chairperson, inquired about the number of persons with disabilities who had been able to get rid of guardianship and supported decision-making since the ratification of the Convention. How many among them had been women and indigenous persons with disabilities? How many times had hospitals refrained from forced medical treatment of persons with disabilities? How many women with disabilities had received training on sexual and reproductive health rights?

Replies by the Delegation

NAINDRA PRASAD UPADHAYA, Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, reminded that the Government of Nepal was committed to fulfilling its commitments under the Convention with respect to the protection of persons with disabilities in situations of natural disasters. The national natural disaster plan had set the minimum standards of protection and ensured that rehabilitation and protection measures were disability inclusive. The national security forces had been extensively mobilized for the rescue process in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake. All development projects were harmonized and designed to create a seamless response, and to look to the future by working with local people to build more resilient communities. The authorities had organized many outreach campaigns to offer tailored psycho-social support to affected populations, as well as relevant training programmes. Nepal recognized the legal capacity of persons with disabilities in all areas of life, and had published a manual to facilitate their access to justice. It had also designed targeted programmes for persons with psycho-social disabilities in cooperation with their representative organizations. Forced sterilization was outlawed in the country and the Ministry of Health was currently drafting a Mental Health Law that would prohibit any medical intervention without the consent of the person concerned. The Government promoted community-based rehabilitation and provided financial support for local organizations in that respect. It had also provided funds for the provisions of assistive devices and disability training, Mr. Upadhaya explained.

The delegation noted that the 2017 Disability Rights Act provided the foundation for the participation of organizations of persons with disabilities in the design, monitoring and evaluation of all the policies that concerned them. Local governments were responsible for involvement with such organizations in the implementation of laws.

As for equal recognition under law, persons with disabilities enjoyed legal capacity in all aspects of life as all other persons. The right to equality prevented discrimination on the grounds of disability. The principle of “reasonable classification” was the basis for positive discrimination adopted by the authorities.

Access to justice for persons with disabilities was a vital issue for the Government, which followed the human rights-based approach in that area. The implementation of the relevant national plan of action aimed at strengthening accessibility to physical infrastructure. In 2015 the Ministry of Law and Justice had conducted a survey on judicial services, and had found out that more than 70 per cent of respondents had not known about legal services available to them. Accordingly, the authorities had developed educational campaigns, which were also geared towards persons with disabilities. Representatives of persons with disabilities were involved in the development of policies. The Ministry of Law and Justice planned to train all locally elected representatives on the rights of persons with disabilities. The Ministry of Law and Justice had also conducted programmes on caste discrimination and women’s rights. The State was required to provide free legal aid to all citizens, and in particular to persons with disabilities.

The Criminal Procedure Code stipulated that sign language interpretation had to be provided to persons with disabilities, the cost of which would be covered by the Government. Other measures concerning reasonable accommodation included the release of suspects with disabilities on bail, and examination of witnesses with disabilities vie videoconference. Turning to persons with intellectual disabilities, the delegation explained that such persons could not be held in prison under any circumstances.

The bill on mental health was under discussion and the delegation noted the concern voiced by Committee Experts that it should not be based on the medical approach. The delegation also said that it would eliminate any derogatory language in laws. Supported decision-making was favoured over substituted decision-making.

The three-year interim plans had led to the improvement of school enrolment and life expectancy, as well as the decline of poverty. The plans had provided for community-based integration programmes, mobilized resources at the local level, and increased access to health and education of persons with disabilities.

The Ministry of Education operated some 30 specialized schools for children with disabilities, as well as integrated education. It had also established an assessment centre for children with disabilities and provided them with assistive devices. The authorities had introduced a quota system for persons with disabilities in public employment.

Nepal did not promote the institutionalization of persons with disabilities. Once they received counselling and treatment, persons with disabilities were reintegrated into their communities.

The rape of women with disabilities was treated as one of the most heinous crimes in Nepal. Law enforcement forces were very professional and they made a great effort to identify perpetrators.

Questions by Committee Experts

Had the State party conducted any survey on the extra costs of persons with disabilities to ensure the minimum standard of living? What concrete measures had been made to improve the living conditions of persons with disabilities? Were there any plans to conduct national surveys to collect disaggregated data on persons with disabilities?

How was voting made accessible to persons with disabilities? Was voting in Brail possible? How was the participation in political life ensured for those whose legal capacity had been removed? What had been done to ensure that more people with intellectual disabilities could vote?

HYUNG SHIK KIM, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Nepal, questioned the use of the expression “PWDs” by the delegation, noting that the Convention contained no such reference. Was the delegation familiar with the Washington Group on Disability Statistics?

What were some examples of how the State party ensured that disability was one of the core elements of international cooperation? How did it ensure the participation of persons of disabilities in the development of disability-based projects? What was the role and composition of the National Disability Coordination Committee? How effective was mainstreaming the issue of disability across different ministries, Mr. Kim asked.

Other Experts inquired about strategies to transform special and residential schools into inclusive education resource centres, the right to inclusive education as an enforceable right, initiatives to improve the quality of inclusive education in classrooms and teacher training, and State-led initiatives and budget allocation to ensure equal reproductive rights for women with disabilities.

What specific legal status did sign language have in Nepal? Were there any programmes to train interpreters in sign language? How accessible were information and communication technologies for persons with disabilities? Was information for the public accessible to persons with disabilities in various formats?

Were there any programmes to develop sports and cultural activities for persons with disabilities, particularly for children with disabilities?

What was the number of persons with disabilities employed in the public service? What was the effectiveness of the employment quota system in the country, in both the private and public sectors, and especially for women with disabilities, indigenous persons with disabilities, and persons with psycho-social disabilities?

Did Nepal intend to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons with disabilities?

What concrete measures had been taken by the State party to include disability in the projects to implement the Sustainable Development Goals?

What had been done to improve health outcomes of persons with intellectual disabilities? What kind of services were provided by Government-established health focal points?

Turning to the monitoring of the Convention, Experts inquired about the involvement of organizations of persons with disabilities in that process.

THERESIA DEGENER, Committee Chairperson, asked whether social protection benefits created disincentives to employment, and about plans to introduce an independent monitoring system with an effective participation of organizations of persons with disabilities.

Replies by the Delegation

The delegation stated that the Government had methods of data collection, compilation and interpretation. The census that was carried out every 10 years was the prime source of information, including occasional surveys on specific topics. Nepal’s legal provisions clearly stipulated that local governments were responsible for the collection of data on the situation of persons with disabilities. The Government would further improve data collection and dissemination, in line with the Convention.

The Government believed that the mainstreaming of disability across various sectors was effective. Disability was also well incorporated in Nepal’s plans to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

As for inclusive education, it was a legally enforceable right. The consultations on the new Mental Health Law were open to relevant stakeholders, including to persons with disabilities. Sign language was used in courts and the media, and activities were envisioned to provide training for sign language.

As for the ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty, during its Universal Periodic Review, the Government of Nepal had clearly reiterated its position that joining any international treaty was important in itself. But what was more important was having in place policies for its effective implementation.

The participation of organizations of persons with disabilities had three dimensions: political, work and employment, and sports and cultural life. The Constitution of Nepal had made it mandatory for political parties to include persons with disabilities. The election laws provided for accessible voting booths. Voter awareness and education materials were available in accessible formats for persons with disabilities. However, ballots were not available in Braille.

The Civil Service Act stipulated a mandatory employment quota of five per cent for persons with disabilities. Indigenous persons with disabilities had three opportunities under that scheme: the disability quota, the quota for ethnic groups, and the quota for women. Persons with disabilities occupied different positions in public service.

As for participation in cultural life, sports and recreational activities, persons with disabilities could take part in those without any discrimination. The Government supported the participation of persons with disabilities in different sports events, such as cricket and basketball games and the Paralympic Games.

Reduction of poverty, acceleration of socio-economic development, and the building of infrastructure had been priorities for the Government as they would facilitate the lives of all citizens, including persons with disabilities. The delegation emphasized that Nepal was the first country to fully incorporate the Sustainable Development Goals into national development plans and policies. Nepal recognized civil society as an active partner in that endeavour, whereas it treated disability as an area of priority. Nepal appreciated international cooperation that would ultimately help the better implementation of the rights of persons with disabilities.

The country’s School Sector Development Programme aimed to increase the school enrolment of children with disabilities. The Special Education Council assessed the quality of special education and inclusive education, and it performed regular monitoring. Social benefits for persons with disabilities included community housing, medicines, and assistive devices.

Turning to the monitoring of the Convention, several sectoral coordination committees were in place at the national and local levels. The National Human Rights Commission had been monitoring the overall implementation of the Convention.

Concluding Remarks

NAINDRA PRASAD UPADHAYA, Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, thanked the Committee Experts for their keen interest and enthusiasm, adding that the delegation appreciated the constructive spirit of the dialogue. The delegation had tried to present the country’s efforts in an honest way. The dialogue had demonstrated that Nepal still had much more to do to implement the Convention. As a least developed country, it had a long way to go. Its commitment, nonetheless, was unwavering.

HYUNG SHIK KIM, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Nepal, expressed sincere appreciation to the delegation for being part of the international monitoring process. He commended the willingness of the Government to improve its efforts, but observed a gap in the working relationship between the State party and civil society representing persons with disabilities. The Convention was about a real commitment to mobilize resources to implement its provisions, rather than about philosophical dwellings.

THERESIA DEGENER, Committee Chairperson, acknowledged the open and cooperative interaction of the delegation with the Committee. She thanked civil society for an excellent parallel report, expressing hope that the Government of Nepal would take it into account.

For use of the information media; not an official record CRPD18/003E

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