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DRPI The People’s Indicators: Evidence Based Participatory Indicators – Measuring Progressive Realization
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Background and Context
During the 14th session of the UNCRPD Committee in 2015, DRPI was invited to collaborate with the Committee to develop a set of indicators for the CRPD. The goal was to develop a set of cross-cutting indicators for each of the articles in the Convention. These indicators are designed to accompany the simplified reporting guidelines for the States Parties to the UNCRPD.
Alongside the CRPD, The People’s Indicators is a tool to recognize disability rights in practice and in principle. These indicators will help us to identify which laws, policies, practices and public attitudes result in the extreme and widespread documented poverty, exclusion and rights abuses experienced by persons with disabilities. The indicators attempt to raise the voices of persons with disabilities and focus their own expression of what poverty and exclusion (or inclusion) means. The experience of discrimination as expressed by those facing it themselves is not only a theoretical notion but also the recognition of the denial of fairness.
The People’s Indicators recognize the intersection of disability with the experiences of indigenous people, women, minority castes or classes (e.g. Berbers in Algeria; Maori in New Zealand; Inuit and First Nations peoples in Canada; Dalits in India and Nepal), as well as refugees and immigrants. As such, the indicators point to the impacts of the dual or multiple statuses on poverty and exclusion.
We know that social exclusion and discrimination increase vulnerability to abuse, chronic poverty, unemployment and inequitable social conditions (facts that can be verified from the Social Determinants of Health literature and also found in disability statistics and from our own studies in disability rights monitoring). A focus on social exclusion highlights the nexus of the CRPD and the SDGs. As we move towards an in-depth monitoring of the CRPD, we can track patterns and trends and address the exclusion of persons with disabilities as it impacts on the exercise of rights. In this way, we can measure progressive realization.
The People’s Indicators are drawn from the work of Disability Rights Promotion International (DRPI) – a collaborative project to establish a comprehensive, sustainable international system to monitor human rights of people with disabilities (http://drpi.research.yorku.ca). Over the past 12 years, the DRPI team has worked to find ways to give voice to persons with disabilities in articulating their experiences of discrimination and in expressing their concerns, aspirations and needs. The DRPI methodology (described below) provides a strong accounting of what poverty and exclusion mean to individuals, and points to the structural conditions that reinforce these challenges.
Viewing disability from a human rights perspective helps us develop a clear picture of autonomous, dignified and equality-based, non-discriminatory services and programs. This is essential to a good monitoring process. It is not about counting the number of services provided or received, rather it is about the impact of those services, programs and policies on people with disabilities themselves/ourselves. For example, housing with dignity means people get to choose where they want to live and what food they eat, etc. in a style which affords them dignity. There are many undignified models of housing that we have seen throughout the world. Housing without dignity often means that the individual does not have a choice in where they live. Housing may be substandard, like in institutions, 5X5 meter wooden houses, or in group homes where there is no choice in the location of the house. The determination of housing with dignity is based on what persons with disabilities define as such. For DRPI monitoring purposes, the perspective of persons with disabilities determines which rights are lacking and which rights principles are active in their everyday lives.
 Commission on Social Determinants of Health. (2008). Closing the Gap in a Generation: Health Equity Through Action on the Social Determinants Of Health. Geneva: World Health Organization; Raphael, D. (Ed.). (2012). Tackling Inequalities in Health: Lessons from International Experiences. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press; http://www.who.int/social_determinants/themes/socialexclusion/en/ Pantazis, C., Gordon, D., & Levitas, R. (Eds.). (2006). Poverty and Social Exclusion in Britain: The Millenium Study. Bristol UK: Policy Press; Stewart, M., Reutter, L., Makwarimba, E., Veenstra, G., Love, R., & Raphael, D. (2008). Left out: Perspectives on social exclusion and inclusion across income groups. Health Sociology Review, 17, 78-94 ; Galabuzi, G. E. (2016). Social exclusion. In D. Raphael (Ed.), Social determinants of health: Canadian perspectives (3rd ed., pp. 388-418). Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press.
Overview of Report
This paper is divided into four sections. Section one describes the holistic, participatory and evidence based DRPI monitoring methodology. Section two includes a detailed description of The People’s Indicators for each article of the CRPD. Section three includes a case study to demonstrate how the CRPD Committee could use such indicators based on the CRPD Committee’s Concluding Observations. In the example provided, the Concluding Observations Report of Kenya is used to develop a list of possible questions for measuring progressive realization. Section four reflects on The People’s Indicators as one tool to promote the rights of persons with disabilities from the perspective of persons with disabilities. The proposed indicators and methodology can be used to monitor human rights for women, various racial/ethnic groups, indigenous peoples, etc. These indicators are most powerful if they make it clear how persons with disabilities conceptualize lack of dignity; lack of autonomy; discrimination and non-equality; exclusion; and the lack of respect for difference.
These indicators can be used by a variety of actors for different purposes including the following:
1. UNCRPD Committee: the Committee can use these indicators to measure progressive realization of the CRPD implementation as reported by each States Parties to the UNCRPD.
2. People with disabilities: civil society groups writing country shadow reports, that are submitted to the CRPD Committee, can use these indicators as standards for developing concrete and targeted reports to address disability rights issues as experienced by people with disabilities. These indicators offer support for civil society groups in developing well-rounded questions for the CRPD Committee when presenting State Party reports.
3. Advocacy: those advocating for better holistic policies in their countries can use these indicators to project and propose policies that honour the rights of people with disabilities.
4. Inclusion for People with Disabilities: these indicators can be used as a methodology to ensure the inclusion of people with disabilities and identifying issues experienced by people with disabilities to include in country and shadow reports submitted to other UN Treaty Body Committees.
5. Adapted for Context: these indicators can be adapted to many different bodies or instruments (goals, treaties), which use a set of indicators as a methodology for measuring progressive realization. For example, those measuring the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals can use the fundamental qualities of these indicators to adequately consider locally generated information and capture the voices of those who are most impacted.