Tasks of the Independent Mechanism in Practice

The tasks of the independent mechanism in practice

Monitoring - HRC

In the context of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, monitoring refers to the collation and analysis of information relating to the implementation of obligations under the Convention and the use of the information to support enhanced implementation of the obligations in the future.

The purpose of monitoring is to maintain a knowledge base on the status of the rights of persons with disabilities in Finland. Monitoring data will facilitate conclusions on how the rights of persons with disabilities are implemented at a given time in principle and in practice.

In particular, the HRC gathers monitoring data around three themes:

  • Progress in the implementation of the CRPD obligations
  • Deficiencies in the implementation of the CRPD obligations
  • Challenges in the implementation of the rights of persons with disabilities

Based on the monitoring data, the HRC’s promotion activities are developed and targeted, and information is disseminated to disability actors and the general public about problems relating to the implementation of CRPD obligations and rights violations experienced by persons with disabilities.

Promotion - HRC

The HRC’s statutory tasks in the area of promotion are:

  • The promotion of information-sharing, education, training and research on fundamental and human rights and of associated cooperation
  • Initiatives and statements to promote and implement fundamental and human rights
  • Participation in European and international cooperation relating to the promotion and safeguarding of fundamental and human rights

The HRC’s activities have been strongly focused around the promotion of fundamental and human rights education and the production of educational materials.

Promotion of the implementation of the CRPD is linked to these activities. Promotion is also supported through information sharing, events, reports, publications, research, initiatives and statements.

Safeguarding - Parliamentary Ombudsman

The Parliamentary Ombudsman safeguards the implementation of the CRPD as part of its statutory oversight task.

According to section 109 of the Constitution, the Parliamentary Ombudsman shall ensure that the courts of law, the other authorities and civil servants, public employees and other persons, when the latter are performing a public task, obey the law and fulfil their obligations. Further, the section requires that, in the performance of his or her duties, the Ombudsman monitors the implementation of basic rights and liberties and human rights.

According to section 10 of the Parliamentary Ombudsman Act, the Ombudsman may express to the subject his or her opinion concerning what constitutes proper observance of the law, or draw the attention of the subject to the requirements of good administration or to considerations of fundamental and human rights.

Oversight of legality by the Ombudsman with regard to public authorities is primarily implemented based on complaints. The Ombudsman also has the competence to investigate a specific matter unprompted, i.e. without a specific complaint. In addition, the Ombudsman carries out oversight by inspecting sites that are within the scope of its oversight of legality. From the point of view of the protection of the CRPD, key inspection sites include e.g. residential units for persons with disabilities and, in particular, units where restrictions can be imposed on e.g. persons’ movement.

Disability affairs team

The Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman has appointed a disability affairs team. In line with the joint strategy of the Ombudsman, the HRC and its Human Rights Delegation, which together form the national human rights institution, the disability affairs team is responsible for, inter alia:

  • Mapping the content of the national mechanism’s task in the Ombudsman's office and the HRC.
  • Considering methods of cooperation and active involvement in collaboration with the Delegation’s permanent division for disability rights.
  • Preparing the implementation of tasks under the CRPD by various means.
  • Monitoring and, to the extent possible, supporting measures to implement the rights of persons with disabilities as part of the oversight of legality, responsibility as the oversight authority and customer service of the Ombudsman.
  • Mapping cooperation with various public authorities and NGOs.
  • Drawing up an annual work plan

The work plan for 2018 includes, for example, the following activities:

  • Carrying out inspections to both OPCAT sites and residential unites for persons with disabilities.
  • Improving inspection activities, for example, with regard to consulting with customers, staff and family members.
  • Involving medical specialists and members of the Disability Rights Committee in inspections.
  • Planning and preparation of a joint project (HRC and the Ombudsman) for the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities. The project will focus on the implementation of the rights of persons with disabilities in enhanced residential care units (so-called 24h supervision units) and institutions (so-called OPCAT sites). The primary focus is on the promotion of the right of self-determination and on the assessment of the use of restrictive measures.
  • OPCAT training will be organised for the new members of the Disability Rights Committee.
  • Two training events on a theme relating to the rights of persons with disabilities will be organised for the staff of the Ombudsman.
  • A representative of the National Institue for Health and Welfare will be invited to give a presentation on the topic of Washington Group on Disability Statistics.
  • Preparation for periodic CRPD reporting will be undertaken by examining the possibilities of producing statistical information on disability matters in the case management system.