Statement on the Ratification of the “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”
Today, the ratification of the “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” (the “Convention”) was approved in the Diet.
The Convention was initially adopted at the 61st United Nations General Assembly on December 13, 2006. The Japanese government carried forward the proceedings for approval of the ratification, while the development of domestic laws which should serve as a guarantee for the Convention was insufficient. Thus, the JFBA announced a President’s statement on March 13, 2009, strongly calling for the establishment of the basic framework of a system which guarantees fundamental human rights of persons with disabilities.
As a result, the government, taking into consideration the said President’s statement as well as the opinions of various organizations relating to persons with disabilities, has proceeded to improve domestic laws and regulations prior to the ratification of the Convention, and as part of these actions enacted the revised “Basic Act for the Disabled Persons,” “the Act related to Promoting Elimination of Discrimination due to Disabilities” (the “Act on Elimination of Discrimination”), and so on. The JFBA positively evaluates the government’s achievement of the approval of the ratification of the Convention after having achieved such improvements in the applicable domestic laws.
However, even as of today, in terms of implementing the elimination of social barriers, the reasonable obligation on private businesses to give consideration to persons with disabilities still remains merely to oblige to make an effort. Furthermore, a national human rights institution has still not yet been established, indicating that the domestic laws have still not been sufficiently improved. In order to achieve the purpose of the Convention in Japan, it is necessary for the state to continue to improve the domestic laws as described below:
- The state should swiftly revise Clause 2, Article 8 of the Act on the Elimination of Discrimination to change the obligation for private businesses to make an effort in giving consideration to persons with disabilities into a binding legal obligation.
- The establishment of a national human rights institution, independent from the Government, complying with the Principles relating to the Status of National Institutions (the “Paris Principles”) should be expedited.
- There is currently no stipulation in either the School Education Act or the Ordinance for Enforcement of the School Education Act that children with and without disabilities should, in principle, learn together without prejudice. As such, it is necessary to amend the relevant laws to provide a guarantee of inclusive education which will be beneficial in the formation of a convivial society at every stage.
- The government should review the methods regarding the forcible admittance of mentally-disabled persons to hospitals which are stipulated in laws such as the Act Related to Mental Health and Welfare of the Persons with Mental Disorder, establish an effective system which provides for the protection of rights, and enhance support in community life in order to reduce the number of patients.
- Even though Article 29 of the Basic Act for the Disabled Persons defines the state’s obligation to give due consideration in legal proceedings, in order to ensure the provision of consideration in line with the individual circumstances of persons with disabilities, the state must detail an explicit definition of such obligation to provide due consideration in the acts relating to litigation procedures.
- With reference to schools, day-care centers for children, medical institutions and public offices, etc., which are not currently covered by the Act relating to Prevention of Abuse to Persons with Disabilities, Support for Caregivers of Persons with Disabilities and Other Related Matters (see Article 2 of the Supplementary Provisions of such Act), the Act should be amended so as to apply to such institutions, etc.
- The state should abolish the current structures of laws which have a purpose of comprehensively supporting the daily life and social life of persons with disabilities where a classification of the support which is to be provided to persons with disabilities is linked to the measures for the use of support and the amount of support to be provided, and instead should secure the rights of persons with disabilities to receive support in line with the individual circumstances of such persons.
- The adult guardianship system stipulates a uniform and comprehensive limitation of the legal capacity of persons with mental disability against the decline of capabilities to make a judgment due to his/her mental disability. However, such limitation should be limited to the minimum level required according to the needs of each individual, and the current system should be altered to one which enables persons with disabilities to decide matters by themselves to the maximum extent possible.
The JFBA urges the state to promptly implement the above-mentioned legal reforms in order to achieve the purpose of the Convention in Japan. Further, regarding the scheduled drafting of basic policies, points concerning how to deal with discrimination, and guidelines concerning how to deal with discrimination, relating to the Act on Elimination of Discrimination, and the drafting of guidelines for the prohibition of discrimination the provision of reasonable consideration for persons with disabilities, relating to the Act related to Promotion of the Disabled Persons' Employment, the JFBA will actively work on to realize the purpose of the Convention.
December 4, 2013
Japan Federation of Bar Associations