The Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD), as the Independent Mechanism of the UNCRPD, has the role to protect, promote and monitor the implementation of the Convention.
The UNCRPD and DET Unit carries out work in relation to the monitoring of the implementation of the UNCRPD in Malta. The monitoring is also based on the Concluding Observations of the UNCRPD Committee issued in September 2018, following Malta’s first grilling session on the implementation of the UNCRPD.
As part of its work, this Unit also consults with persons with disability and their representative organisations, mainly through meetings and surveys sent to NGOs, DPOs and persons registered with CRPD, as well as meetings with the CRPD Consultative Committee of People with Intellectual Disability.
This Unit has worked on the monitoring of various articles of the UNCRPD. This includes Article 13 of the UNCRPD – Access to Justice, where a short survey was issued to gather feedback from NGOs and DPOs and people with disability regarding the current situation in relation to Access to Justice.
Furthermore the following events and initiatives were organised:
- 27 February 2019 – Meeting with NGOs and DPOs to discuss feedback received from survey and the challenges experienced by people with disability to access the justice system. This meeting was headed by a foreign speaker, Barrister John Horan.
- 28 February 2019 (1-2pm) – Seminar on EU Perspectives of the UNCRPD by Barrister John Horan. This Seminar was held at the Law Courts of Malta training room and targeted lawyers and other people working in the disability sector.
- 28 February 2019 (2-4pm) – Training to members of the Judiciary. This training was delivered by Mr Christian Camilleri (CRPD), Dr Alistair De Gaetano (MFCS) and Barrister John Horan. Specific challenges faced by disabled people to access the justice system were discussed and explained during this training.
Disability Equality Training is also provided to new recruits at the Police Academy, police officers as part of their Continuous Professional Development and new recruits at the Local Enforcement System Agency (LESA). In 2019, staff working at the Law Courts of Malta also received Disability Equality Training.
The UNCRPD and DET Unit has also worked on the monitoring of Article 19 of the UNCRPD – Living Independently and being included in the community. As from September 2019, this Unit has also started working on a service-user evaluation of the residential homes of Aġenzija Sapport, where interviews are being carried out with the residents as well as Leaders of the residential homes of Aġenzija Sapport. The interviews had to be stopped in 2020 due to the COVID-19 situation, but will be resumed as soon as it is possible. In December 2019, a meeting was also held with the members of the CRPD Consultative Committee of People with Intellectual Disability* on Article 19 of the UNCRPD – Independent Living. The minutes and main points of the meeting were also sent to Aġenzija Sapport, as well as a request for statistical data in relation to waiting lists for residential homes.
With reference to Article 11 of the UNCRPD – Situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies, a short survey and two meetings were set up with persons with disability, NGOs and DPOs, to collect feedback regarding the accessibility of the national emergency services and the 112MT app. This feedback was provided to representatives from the Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security which were present during the meetings, to improve the accessibility of the 112MT app which was eventually launched in February 2020.
Another short survey was issued in June 2019 on Article 28 of UNCRPD – Adequate Standard of living and social protection, and the access by persons with disabilities to public housing programmes. The survey was sent to NGOs and DPOs and other organisations in the disability sector, as well as people registered with CRPD and a meeting was also held with the CRPD Consultative Committee of Persons with Intellectual Disability. The report of the survey was presented to representatives from the Housing Authority. A Memorandum of Understanding was also signed in 2019 between CRPD and the Housing Authority, and a working group was set up to revise current policies adopted by the Housing Authority Schemes and to provide Disability Equality Training to Housing Authority employees. The proposed revisions to the disability scheme of the Housing Authority were approved in November 2019.
Other meetings were also organised with the Commissioner for Children and Aġenzija Sapport to discuss and monitor the state of affairs in relation to Article 7 of the UNCRPD – Children with Disabilities. Another meeting was also set with Aġenzija Żgħażagħ and the issue of overprotection of children and youths with disability was very evident. As a result, a conference on this subject was organised on 19 October 2019, named Protect and Let Go, and was held at the Faculty of ICT, UOM. The theme discussed was the (over) protection of persons with a disability by their parents/guardians. The conference was organised by CRPD in collaboration with the Department of Disability Studies, Faculty for Social Wellbeing at the University of Malta.