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Advancing Rights and Inclusion: NHRC Chairperson Urges Clarity and Action on CRPD for Persons with Disabilities

By - King Stubb & Kasiva on June 28, 2023

Justice Arun Mishra, The National Human Rights Commission (“NHRC”) Chairperson, recently highlighted the vital need for accurate definitions under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (“UNCRPD”). His remark emphasises the importance of exact definitions in ensuring proportionate opportunity and distributive fairness for people with impairments. The 3rd Roundtable Conference on UNCRPD Implementation brought together stakeholders from all over the world to discuss and plan the efficient implementation of the UNCRPD.

The participation of Justice Arun Mishra focused attention on the critical significance of clear definitions within the UNCRPD. The idea was to ensure that persons with disabilities have fair and equitable chances for development, employment, and societal involvement by precisely defining the terms and concepts used in the convention. This highlights the vital need to not only accurately diagnose disability but also address the complexity of distribution and access to opportunities. Justice Arun Mishra’s participation serves as a spark for broader conversations on the critical need for precise definitions and comprehensive action to preserve and advance the rights of people with disabilities worldwide.

Defining Opportunities and Distributive Justice

Within the scope of the UNCRPD, there is an urgent need to create clear criteria to ensure equal opportunities and distributive justice for people with disabilities. It is imperative to avoid denying work opportunities depending on the type of impairment that is critical. Individuals should be evaluated on their abilities and credentials rather than being excluded due to their specific impairment by adopting a need-based approach to distributive justice. This encourages inclusivity and allows people with impairments to fully participate in the labour force.

To maintain justice and prevent prejudice, the prerequisites for physical, mental, and emotional stability must be defined. Clear and explicit definitions in these areas provide a foundation for objective assessment, ensuring that people with disabilities are not unfairly disregarded or excluded from job possibilities owing to misconceptions or biases. Furthermore, a precise definition of severe disability should be defined. This entails developing particular criteria and parameters to effectively identify people with severe disabilities who may require further assistance and accommodations. It is also critical to establish clear circumstances and methods for gaining guardian approval for disability-related surgeries, ensuring that the process is ethical and preserves the rights and well-being of people with disabilities.

It is possible to promote equality, avoid discrimination, and create an environment in which individuals with disabilities can access and fully use possibilities in all parts of life by defining precise definitions within the UNCRPD. These concepts are a basic component of distributive justice, to provide equitable access to opportunities and foster the inclusion and empowerment of people with disabilities.

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016(“RPWD Act”) was a key milestone in India’s implementation of legal protections to protect the human rights of disabled citizens. RPWD Act is a comprehensive piece of law that protects and promotes the rights of people with disabilities. It covers a wide range of topics such as education, employment, accessibility, and social inclusion. Individuals with disabilities are guaranteed equal opportunities, non-discrimination, and reasonable accommodations under the Act.

Aside from legislative requirements, India places a major focus on raising awareness and cultivating an inclusive mindset through language use. The term“specially abled” is becoming more common as an alternative to “disabled,” advocating a more respectful and powerful depiction of people with impairments. This vocabulary change is intended to combat negative preconceptions, improve society’s attitudes, and improve the self-perception of people with disabilities. To enhance educational accessibility, India has taken significant initiatives to prepare educational materials in a variety of formats.

Materials offered in sign language, audio-visual formats, print, and electronic media are all included. Individuals with disabilities can access educational content in a way that best matches their personal needs by catering to varied learning needs, enabling inclusive and equitable learning environments.

In addition, India has developed national-level institutes that specialize in various disabilities. These institutes offer specialized postgraduate degree courses, diplomas, vocational training, and clinical services to people with visual, speech, and hearing impairments, intellectual disabilities, multiple disabilities, locomotor disabilities, mental health issues, and retardation. These projects are designed to improve the skill sets, independence, and overall well-being of people with disabilities.

Recent NHRC Initiatives and Comprehensive Implementation

Through different projects, the NHRC actively protects the rights of disabled people. Their advice focuses on reducing childhood vision impairment by promoting the safety of toys, crackers, and chemicals. To counter gender discrimination, the NHRC recommends special consideration for women with disabilities in the Draft National Action Plan 2022. They also support the Accessible India Campaign, which promotes digital literacy and the establishment of skill development centres for the disabled.

Beyond legislative requirements, the NHRC conducts building evaluations to improve infrastructure accessibility in prisons, destitute homes, mental institutions, and public facilities. They work to improve digital accessibility and provide skill development programmes to empower people with impairments. These programmes demonstrate the NHRC’s dedication to preserving human rights, addressing gender inequities, promoting digital inclusion, and building accessible infrastructure. Their thorough implementation efforts in India strive to ensure the well-being and inclusion of impaired people.


Justice Arun Mishra’s involvement in the 3rd Roundtable Conference on UNCRPD Implementation emphasized the importance of clear definitions under the UNCRPD to provide equal opportunities and distributive justice for people with disabilities. The RPWD Act in India provides legal safeguards, and the country supports inclusive language and accessible education. The NHRC’s efforts include vision impairment prevention, gender justice advocacy, and digital literacy promotion. Efforts are also being undertaken to increase infrastructure accessibility and satisfy the UNCRPD’s broader goals. These acts indicate India’s commitment to enhancing disabled people’s rights and inclusion.


Why are clear definitions important under the UNCRPD?

Clear definitions ensure that people with disabilities have proportionate opportunities and distributive fairness, allowing for fair and equal opportunities for development, employment, and social participation.

How does India promote inclusivity and accessibility for people with disabilities?

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act of India protects and promotes the rights of disabled people. The government emphasises inclusive language, develops educational materials in a variety of formats, and has national-level institutes specializing in disability to improve skill sets and well-being.

What initiatives does the NHRC undertake to protect the rights of disabled people in India?

The NHRC recommends minimizing childhood vision impairment, advocates for special consideration for women with disabilities, promotes the Accessible India Campaign for digital literacy, conducts building accessibility assessments, and offers skill development programmes. These programmes seek to advance human rights, address gender disparities, promote digital inclusion, and provide accessible infrastructure.

King Stubb & Kasiva,
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