France (Oct 2019) - Article 33

1 - WILLINGNESS TO APPLY THE CRPD.
Do you feel that the political and administrative authorities of your country are strongly committed to/involved in fully implementing the CRPD?

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.

2 - FOCAL POINTS.
Have the focal points (i.e. points of contact) provided for in article 33-1 of the CRPD been designated in your country?

 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.

3 - ROLE.

What is, or will be, their role?

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.

4 - COORDINATION OF ACTIONS FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CRDP AND FOCAL POINTS.
How are the focal points and the actions for the CRPD's implementation coordinated?

 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.).

5 - PROMOTION OF THE CRPD.
How does your country go about promoting the CRPD

Four types of structures are assigned to promote the CRPD:

  1. each ministry, government administration and local authority must promote the CRPD, however they themselves do not know enough about it to uphold it among the general public;
  2. the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights is responsible for monitoring the implementation of all international conventions ratified by France; it is an independent body within which persons with disabilities are not yet represented, this error should soon be rectified. This Commission must also advocate the CRPD;
  3. the Défenseur des Droits (Defender of Rights) is an independent high authority tasked with ensuring respect for everyone's rights, combating discrimination and fighting for equality. It is represented locally in each French department (95 in metropolitan France). It must thus promote the CRPD, however its services and delegates are still insufficiently familiar with it;
  4. ultimately then, it is the associations of people with disabilities themselves that endeavour to promote the CRPD among their members by organising conferences, distributing brochures or articles, and through regular contacts with trade union organisations and professional organisations which may be concerned by the Convention more or less directly.

6 - PROTECTION OF THE RIGHTS INCLUDED IN THE CRPD.
Which national authority is responsible for ensuring the effective implementation of the rights included in 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.

7 - MONITORING OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CRPD.
In your country, which authority is in charge of monitoring the implementation of the CRPD?

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 Defender of Rights, which presides over it;
  • the President of the national advisory council for persons with disabilities (Conseil National Consultatif des Personnes Handicapées), an organism that gives an opinion prior to the publication of any act or regulation concerning disabilities, or on any other issue submitted to it by the Government. This council consists of 70 members who represent associations of persons with disabilities (i.e. the majority), trade unions, local authorities (municipalities, departments, regions), social protection agencies, managers of specialised institutions, researchers, etc. It meets once a month. A council commission is specifically responsible for monitoring the implementation of the CRPD;
  • the General Secretary of the Interministerial Committee on Disability;
  • the General Secretary of the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights;
  • an organization designated by the associations of persons with disabilities to represent them. These associations are presently represented by the French Council of Disabled Persons for European Issues.

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.

8 - ROLE OF ASSOCIATIONS OF BLIND OR VISUALLY IMPAIRED PERSONS. How are the associations of blind or visually impaired persons involved in the implementation of the CRPD?

 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).

9 - ADDITIONAL RESOURCES.
Have any additional resources (human or financial) been been made available for the implementation of the CRPD?

 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.

10 - CRPD IMPLEMENTATION MONITORING REPORT.
Depending on the date on which your country ratified the CRPD, is it required to submit a report to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities? If it is, has it done so?

 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.

11 - SHADOW REPORT.
Have the associations of persons with disabilities presented the so-called shadow report?

 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.

12 - COMMENTS.

Do you have any comments on the implementation of the CRPD in your country?

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.

Update and Additional Information 2019: (Sarah Woodin)

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