Frequently asked questions

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What is the National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism?

The National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism is an independent body which promotes the rights of people with disabilities, contributes to their protection and monitors implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Germany.

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What is the National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism’s role?

The mandate of the independent National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism springs directly from the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (PDF, 107 KB, not barrier free) (Article 33, Paragraph 2): its mission is to promote and monitor implementation of the UN CRPD in Germany, and safeguard the rights it protects. The National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism understands its role as that of providing critical and constructive input in support of the implementation process. It is the only official entity in Germany monitoring the status of implementation of the UN convention.

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What, specifically, does the National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism do?

The National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism conducts research to get a picture of the living situations of people with disabilities in Germany and the current developments relating to UN-CRPD implementation. It advises – to the extent its limited resources allow – politicians at the federal and state level, ministry and agency officials and courts, as well as non-governmental bodies and associations, on all issues relating to the UN CRPD. The National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism prepares publications and issues statements and recommendations on political, administrative and judicial decisions and – when necessary– calls urging compliance with the UN CRPD. It organizes events, for instance its regular meetings with people with disabilities, disability advocacy organizations and the federal and state officials charged with affairs relating to people with disabilities.
In addition, the National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism educates the public about the rights of persons with disabilities by way of its press releases and outreach activities. It also makes information on UN-CRPD issues available to interested persons on its website.

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How many people work in the National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism?

The National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism currently has a staff of ten, which is supplemented by interns and/or law school graduates who are completing part of their practical training (Rechtsrefendariat) here.

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Are there people with disabilities working in the National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism?

Currently the National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism does not have a staff member with a more severe disability. However it has had experience with employees with impairments.

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Who does the National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism work with?

The National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism works closely with the key federal and state ministries involved in implementing the convention and with the federal and state officials charged with affairs relating to disability, as well as with civil society disability advocacy organizations. The National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism also exchanges information and experience relating to disability-related issues with other national human rights institutions and independent bodies on a regular basis.
Monitoring is not the responsibility of the National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism alone. The convention calls on other civil society organizations and in particular persons with disabilities and their representative non-governmental organizations, to support and monitor its implementation. To promote cooperation in this area with civil society, the National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism organizes tri-annual conferences known as the Civil Society Consultations.

Another of the National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism’s tasks is to report on implementation of the convention in Germany to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (this Geneva-based body of experts regularly reviews implementation of the convention); the report is submitted within the framework of what is known as the report consideration process (see also parallel reporting). 

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Why does Germany have a National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism?

The National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism was set up within the German Institute for Human Rights in Berlin in 2009 pursuant to an order of the Federal Cabinet and the adoption of the CRPD Ratification Act at the Bundestag. The National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism receives its funding from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, which is the part of the German government which focuses on matters relating to the CRPD. With the creation of this monitoring structure, Germany fulfilled a specific commitment under the UN CRPD.

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Why is the National CRPD Mechanism part of the German Institute for Human Rights?

The German Institute for Human Rights is a "national human rights institution" as defined in the "Paris Principles" of the United Nations (A status). The purpose of such institutions is to promote implementation of human rights standards, such as the UN Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Civil and Political Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is both logical, given the type of expertise required, and fitting from a broader perspective that the role of promoting and monitoring CRPD implementation be assigned to the German Institute for Human Rights. The German government officially consulted the German Disability Council on the question before issuing this mandate to the institute. The Council declared itself in favour of doing so, as it felt that the organizational home of the UN CRPD should be that of human rights.

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What impact has the National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism had on the work of the German Institute for Human Rights?

The establishment of the CRPD Monitoring Mechanism initiated a shift in awareness in the German Institute for Human Rights, causing the institute to become more sensitive to the rights of people with disabilities. The institute now aspires to mainstream the "disability" issue in all of its work, incorporating it in all areas of its activity. In addition, accessibility has become an important topic in the institute with respect to access to information and staffing, for example. For instance, the institute’s library, which is open to the public, now has a workstation that is highly accessible to people who are blind or have a visual impairment.

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Who finances the National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism?

The German Institute for Human Rights obtains its funding from the German Bundestag.

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Is the National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism independent?

Yes. The fact that the National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism receives government financing does not mean that the government interferes with its work. In formal terms, the National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism’s independence is ensured by the terms of its mandate. In addition, the National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism is part of the German Institute for Human Rights – Germany’s independent national human rights institution – the independence of which is monitored at the international level.
The National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism is free to choose its staff and the focuses of its work. Its independence makes it an actor sui generis: it plays a unique role and sees itself as under obligation only to the UN convention.

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Does the National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism address specific cases?

The National CRPD Monitoring Mechanism does not have a mandate to investigate specific complaints or provide legal advice in individual cases. It does not fulfil the role of an ombudsman. It does though, to the best of its abilities, respond to inquiries by referring people to appropriate advising services.

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Dr. Sabine Bernot
Policy Adviser
Phone: 030 259 359 - 448
e-mail: bernot(at)institut-fuer-menschenrechte.de

Portrait Catharina Hübner

Catharina Hübner, LL.M.
Policy Adviser
Phone: 030 25 93 59 - 413
e-mail: huebner(at)institut-fuer-menschenrechte.de

Dr. Susann Kroworsch
Policy Adviser
Phone: 030 259 359 - 444
e-mail: kroworsch(at)institut-fuer-menschenrechte.de

Dr. Judith Striek
Policy Adviser
Phone: 030 25 93 59 - 468
e-mail: striek(at)institut-fuer-menschenrechte.de