Campaigns and activities
Although France ratified the Convention on 18 February, 2010, it did not immediately take any concrete steps to apply it, effectively considering that the act passed in 2005 "for equal rights and opportunities, participation and citizenship of persons with disabilities" went beyond the provisions of the CRPD. Only in September 2012 did the Prime Minister first make reference to the CRPD in a circular. The Interministerial Committee on Disability finally met on 25 September 2013 for the first time since its creation in 2007.
Only in March 2014 were we informed of the designation of focal points in all French ministries, however we have yet to receive the precise list of these focal points. It seems that they met around 20 March to establish initial contact.
Their role will be to advise the Government when drafting legislation or regulations, policies or action plans, and to assess their impact on people with disabilities. A circular from the Prime Minister dated 4 September 2012 specifically refers to the Convention and states that disabilities must be taken into account in all public policies, and that specific provisions for disabled persons should, in principle, be included in every parliamentary bill. A "disability diagnostic sheet" will be systematically presented with each new act. The focal points will be tasked with developing these diagnostic sheets. They will represent civil society's points of contact for any questions regarding disability within the government administration that appointed them.
The General Secretary of the Interministerial Committee on Disability is responsible for coordinating the focal points and all measures for the implementation of the CRPD. In principle, this Committee – which reports directly to the Prime Minister – meets twice a year to bring together all the ministers concerned by the disability issue (Health, National Education, Finance, Labour, Culture, Transport, Consumption etc.).
Four types of structures are assigned to promote the CRPD:
In France, the CRPD can be called upon at any trial before the judicial or administrative courts and tribunals. If any private individual or body corporate refers a case to the Defender of Rights, it may make recommendations to the Government which may be published in the Official Journal; it may also, if it considers it necessary, intervene before a court to give an opinion on the points of law referred to during the trial.
In France, the committee for monitoring the implementation of the CRPD is responsible for assessing the compliance of laws with the provisions of the Convention, and making recommendations to the Government. This Committee comprises:
The Monitoring Committee has met three times since July 2013, however its results do not truly meet the expectations of the associations of persons with disabilities.
In France, there are very many associations that help the visually impaired. Since 1948, the main associations are grouped within the (French confederation for the welfare of the blind and partially sighted). Consequently, it is the Confederation, which is a member of the national advisory council for persons with disabilities and of its committee for monitoring the Convention, and of the French Council of Disabled Persons for European Issues, which represents France at the European Disability Forum. It is essential that the specific needs of visually impaired persons be taken into account by these various organisms, and that their associations be present during discussions with the Government or members of Parliament. This is the role of the Confederation (Confédération Française pour la Promotion Sociale des Aveugles et Amblyopes).
The French State has not released any additional financial resources for the implementation of the CRPD. A single officer position has been created at the Defender of Rights. The holder of this position is specially appointed to deal with any question concerning the CRPD.
France should have submitted its report in February 2012, but has yet to do so, which means it is more than two years late. The Secretary General of the Interministerial Committee on Disability assures us that this report will be provided in the second half of 2014.
They cannot do so without seeing the report that will be presented by the Government. Nevertheless, they have started to prepare the data for this report; its drafting will be entrusted to the French Council of Disabled Persons for European Issues.
France and its courts do not give sufficient importance to the CRPD, which is not considered as a text whose scope prevails over French laws. The French Council of State has thus refused to apply the Convention, maintaining that, for the point in reference, it was not sufficiently precise.
France has established the Comité interministériel du handicap (CIH) as a focal point that is responsible for coordinating other focal points. These should be established in each Ministry from 2018.
France’s State report (2016) indicates that the Defender of Rights, with the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights, the French Council of Persons with Disabilities on European Issues and the National Consultative Council of Persons with Disabilities, will follow up on the implementation of the Convention.
The National advisory council for human rights (CNCDH) and the Ombudsman (Défenseur des droits) are the national independent mechanism. They are supported by a monitoring committee, including the French Council of Persons with Disabilities on European Issues and the National Consultative Council of Persons with Disabilities.
The State party’s report was due in 2012, as noted above. However, it was not submitted until 2016 and not published until 2017. The reporting cycle was still incomplete at the time of writing this report. The list of issues was only published in September 2018 and there were no concluding observations