Italy (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?

In advance on the Italian ratification, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies committed a research on the evaluation of the Italian legislation in relation to CRPD obligations, published in 2008 (http://www.isgi.cnr.it/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/ISGI_Rapporto-finale_Convenzione-ONU-diritti-persone-con-disabilit%C3%A0.pdf). On 28 November 2008, the Italian Government approved the ratification proposal for the CRPD and its Optional Protocol, which was passed by the Parliament on 4 February 2009. By law no. 18 of 3 March 2009, the Italian Parliament ratified the UN Convention and its Protocol (http://www.handylex.org/stato/l030309.shtml). In the same law the establishment of the National Observatory on the Conditions of Persons with Disabilities was provided for. The precise mandate and Operational Rules of the Observatory were adopted on 6 July 2010 (Interministerial Decree No. 167), they provide for the representation of relevant institutions, including local and regional authorities, social security organs, trade unions, the national statistical institute (ISTAT), relevant NGOs and associations, as well as qualified experts. The National Observatory met for its first official session on 16 December 2010. In November 2012 the Italian Government transmitted, through the inter-ministerial Human Rights Committee at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, its first National Report on the implementation of the UNCRPD (http://www.uiciechi.it/AttivitaInternazionali/RapportoIta.pdf).  

On 4 October 2013, the Italian Government adopted the biennial action plan for the promotion of the rights and the integration of persons with disabilities drafted by the Observatory (http://www.uiciechi.it/AttivitaInternazionali/Azione.pdf). However, in these times of financial crisis, “the actions referred to and to be implemented in the framework of the legislation in force are to be considered financially viable within the limits of the allocated budget”…”it is therefore important to recognise that such undertakings only have a prospective character.”

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?

The Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, Directorate–General for Inclusion and Social Policies serves as focal point for Italy, in coordination with other relevant ministries and departments, as well as regional and local authorities.

3 - ROLE.

What is, or will be, their role?

Favouring the implementation of the UN CRPD and ensuring that a coordination mechanism is put in place within the government to facilitate related action in different sectors and at different levels. The technical secretariat of the National Observatory on the Conditions of Persons with Disabilities, coordinated by the Minister of Labour and Social Policies, is held by the Directorate–General for Inclusion and Social Policies of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies.

The Observatory's main tasks are as follows:

  1. promote the implementation of Article 1 of the Convention and develop a detailed report on measures taken under Article 35 of the Convention in conjunction with the inter-ministerial Human Rights Committee
  2. develop a two-year action plan for promoting the rights and the social inclusion of persons with disabilities in order to implement national and international legislation;
  3. promote the collection of statistical data illustrating the condition of people with disabilities, including reference to different  situations at the local level;
  4. prepare a report on the implementation of policies on disability
  5. promote studies and research which may help to identify priority areas to which to direct action and intervention to promote the rights of persons with disabilities

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?

In addition to the coordinating activity carried out by the national Focal Point (Directorate–General for Inclusion and Social Policies of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies), the National Observatory on the Conditions of Persons with Disabilities facilitates the constant link  between the government, other relevant entities, people with disabilities and their supporting organisations.

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

As mentioned above, in 2013 the Italian Government adopted the biennial action plan for the promotion of the rights and the integration of persons with disabilities drafted by the Observatory on the Conditions of Persons with Disabilities aimed at “contributing to the achievement of the general objectives of the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”

The objectives in the plan are as follows:

  • Reform of the system of disability assessment and the system to access services and benefits in order to create the real conditions to fight against discrimination and promote equal opportunities, social inclusion and a better quality of life for people with disabilities.
  • Promotion of disability mainstreaming within the general policies for employment and in data collection. Update the existing legislation and make it more effective in providing work opportunities, in particular through a better functioning of the targeted placement system provided for  in Law no. 68/1999:
  • Definition of common guidelines for the application of Article 19 of the UN Convention (Living independently and being included in the community), definition of  the guidelines for financial disability benefits, care and services planning and the preparation of individualized projects.
  • Enabling persons with disabilities to decide for themselves, to make their own choices as much as possible concerning their existence, health and properties and enabling them to engage in legal acts that were denied to them before.
  • Making sure that the available support measures for persons with disabilities are known and used to all its potential, through actions and provisions that do not limit persons with disabilities' ability to act, but rather enhance it.
  • In terms of mobility, fully implement the European regulations in the field of transport of people with reduced mobility (PRM), paying particular attention to the issue of the participation of people with disabilities in the implementation of Community law and therefore the definition of the comparison, monitoring and evaluation systems,
  • Updating and upgrading the Italian legislation to the dimension of accessibility as described in the UN Convention.
  • Approval of the bill regarding the inclusion of the study of techniques and technologies aimed at overcoming architectural barriers in public and private buildings, design for all and accessibility in school and university curricula.
  • Promoting the digital accessibility rights
  • Promoting the updating of the national register of technical aids for persons with disabilities the cost of which is reimbursed by the National Health Service
  • Promoting accessible tourism
  • Improving the school integration of students with disabilities and the integration of adults with disabilities in formal and non-formal education
  • Promoting the rights of children with disabilities and meet their  needs from early childhood.
  • Ensure that women with disabilities have access to services and gynecological and reproductive systems on equal grounds with other women
  • Setting up of a Single Access Points for socio-sanitary care and establishment of   Disability Case Managers
  • Promoting independence by providing persons with disabilities with habilitative and rehabilitative care at home, in daycare centres or residential homes.
  • Promoting the setting up of disability action plan for the work in developing countries

However, in the introduction to the plan of action  one can read that, in these times of financial crisis, “the actions referred to and to be implemented in the framework of the legislation in force are to be considered financially viable within the limits of the allocated budget”…”it is therefore important to recognise that such undertakings only have a prospective character.”

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?

As an effect of the Italian legislative framework, enhanced by the ratification of the CRPD, all public administrations are called to include the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in political and administrative actions. When dealing with any form of discrimination from a single person or a public administration, anyone can file a case in civil courts to obtain the adoption of any necessary measures to remove the effects of that discrimination. Non-execution of judge's orders can imply imprisonment for up to three years.

Italy has not appointed a national Ombudsman, but regional and local Ombudsmen are in charge of the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities. Regional Ombudsmen can even bring a civil action in criminal proceedings for crimes against persons with disabilities. Associations entitled to protect the rights of persons with disabilities can legally act on behalf of the disabled person after delegation of the party concerned. In  case of collective discrimination, associations are empowered  to act without delegation.

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

The National Observatory on the Conditions of Persons with Disabilities is in charge pf monitoring the implementation of the CRPD. It has to draft the detailed report on measures taken  under article 35 of the Convention in conjunction with the inter-ministerial Human Rights Committee.

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?

DPOs, among which the Italian Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted, are represented in the National Observatory on the Conditions of Persons with Disabilities, contributing to the drafting and implementation of the mainstreaming strategy on disability issues (biennial action plan for the promotion of the rights and the integration of persons with disabilities). The Operational Rules of the Observatory provide for the participation of DPOs also in the reporting process to the CRPD Committee.

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

The Observatory was financed with 500,000 euros for three years and was given a staff of about 10 (not all full-time) persons (already working at the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies).

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?

 In November 2012 the Italian Government transmitted, through the inter-ministerial Human Rights Committee at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, its first (word document) National Report on the implementation of the UNCRPD .

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

Not yet, but the associations and federations who are members of the Italian Disability Forum intend to draft it.

12 - COMMENTS.

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

It must be highlighted that the Observatory does not fully comply with the requirements of an “independent mechanism”, as provided for in Article 2 of the CRPD, due to the fact that it is established within the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies.

In these times of economic crisis the Government has fewer resources to allocate to social services and, taking into account the declared prospective feature of the biennial plan of action drafted by the Observatory, the associations of persons with disabilities have to continue to lobby and be extremely vigilant in order to ensure progress in the implementation of the CRPD. In fact, in spite of a good legislative framework, most of which already existing before the ratification of the CRPD, Italy faces serious problems in efficiently implementing those legal measures.

Update and Additional research notes 2019: (Sarah Woodin)

In 2017, in response to the CRPD committee’s Concluding Observations, Italy reported that the establishment of an independent mechanism was still under discussion.

The Shadow report to the CRPD committee (2016) notes that although disabled people participate on the National Observatory as independent mechanism, they cannot enforce redress for violations.