Act Now: Support the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
The LiLi Centre supports the petition to the Federal Council to ratify the Additional Optional Protocol to the current UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The CPRD was signed by Switzerland more than eight years ago, and grants people with disabilities full and equal participation in society, however, people with disabilities are still treated unequally and their rights are violated in varying ways that the Additional Protocol will address. Without this, people with disabilities cannot complain to the UN if their rights are violated.
The LiLi Centre’s resident psychologist, Mental Health Initiative Director, Dr. Brandi Eijsermans, shares that, “many people are concerned about the lack of visibility, equality and violation of disabled and differently-abled people’s rights. This petition will allow us to track and encourage participation. We will be following up with the lived stories of what these experiences are like in our community.”
Sign the petition here: Petition to the Federal Council: Ratification of the CPRD Additional Protocol
The petition message in English:
Dear President of the Swiss Confederation, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Federal Council
The Federal Council has always emphasised that ratification of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is central to underlining the importance of the rights of persons with disabilities in Switzerland. Nevertheless, it has so far refused to ratify the Optional Protocol. He pointed out that he first wanted to wait for the review of the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Switzerland. This review took place in March 2022 and showed that Switzerland does not sufficiently implement the rights of persons with disabilities.
With this petition, we therefore call on the Federal Council to immediately initiate the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Currently, the Federal Supreme Court is the last instance to rule on complaints based on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and alleging its violation. However, the Federal Supreme Court has so far denied the direct applicability of the economic, cultural and social rights guaranteed to persons with disabilities by both the UN Covenant I and the UN Disability Rights Convention. There is therefore a risk that the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will have only limited effect in court proceedings.
There is no constitutional jurisdiction in Switzerland. Therefore, federal laws that violate the prohibition of discrimination against persons with disabilities enshrined in the Federal Constitution can still be applied: Although the Federal Supreme Court can draw attention to the unconstitutionality, it cannot declare the federal law invalid.
This is another reason why it is particularly important that Switzerland ratifies the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It grants persons with disabilities the right to appeal to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the event of violations of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Switzerland has already recognised the need for the Optional Protocol to various UN conventions. For example, the Convention against Torture, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and most recently the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It must not be the case that an exception is made for people with disabilities – they must be able to assert their rights before the competent UN committee.
Ratification also sends a positive signal internationally. This would suit Switzerland very well as the host state of numerous international organisations, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.