For a Better Access to Justice for Persons with Disabilities in ChinaJan 15, 2016
On 26th and 27th December 2015, UNDP China co-organized with the Wuhan University Public Interest and Development Law Institute (PIDLI) a multi-stakeholders’ consultation on access to justice for persons with disabilities (PwDs).
The consultation brought together around 30 Chinese experts and practitioners from the academia, disabled persons organizations (DPOs), law firms, the local disabled persons’ federation (DPF) and other stakeholders, with the aim to initiate a baseline research to assess the needs and gaps with regards to access to justice for PwDs in China. Discussions focused on the scope, conceptual approach and methodology of the study, including stakeholders’ analysis and assessment tools.
“I am very excited and proud that this workshop invited persons with hearing impairment to share their stories and perspectives using sign language in front of lawyers, professors, officials from the DPF and representatives from DPOs” shared Cui Jing, researcher of PIDLI and a person with hearing impairment, after participating in the two-days consultation. “Compared to other PwDs, the voice of persons with hearing impairment are usually hard to be heard, as only very few people understand their language. In this workshop, I am very glad that the voice of persons with hearing impairment could directly reach the audience, and that they could receive feedback and response in real-time".
China ratified the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2008 and submitted its first national report in 2010. Despite significant progress achieved, China still has a long way to go when it comes to the actual implementation of the Convention. Among the more than 85 million PwDs that China counts, only 21 million of them are employed, 80% still live below the poverty line and 28% of school-aged children with disabilities are not enrolled in the nine-year compulsory education. Although Article 13 of the UNCRPD provides that states parties shall ensure effective access to justice for Pwds on an equal basis with others, multi-dimensional barriers continue to affect PwDs’ equal access to justice in China.
As China is celebrating the 25th Anniversary of its Law on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities, it is hoped that the study will generate evidence-based data and provide recommendations for policymakers to improve the current legislation and its implementation, and identify avenues in which future development programmes can further support the empowerment and inclusion of PwDs through improved access to justice services.