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As a member of an organization that serves people with disabilities, you have the opportunity to be a champion for human rights. That might mean that you're working to educate the people you serve about resources like the Optional Protocol, or it might mean that you're actually submitting complaints on behalf of those individuals. Either way, you're making a meaningful difference in the journey to equality for people with disabilities in Canada.
If you've exhausted your domestic resources for making a human rights complaint on behalf of the people with disabilities you serve, you may be able to take your complaint to the UN through the Optional Protocol.
Before you do that, it's important to understand the Optional Protocol complaint guidelines that the UN has created. They state that the Committee will consider only those complaints that:
If you'd like to submit a complaint to the United Nations Committee, you'll need to send it in writing or another accessible format, such as audio, Easy Read or braille. Complaints can be submitted in English, French, Russian or Spanish.
When writing your complaint, try to give as much detail as you can about the human rights violation you're talking about. Although it's not a must, it may be helpful to speak to a lawyer who can assist you with writing the complaint.
Still stumped on how to write your complaint? Click here to download the UN's submissions guidelines for making a human rights complaint through the Optional Protocol.
Once you've finished writing your complaint, you can send it to:
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
1211 Geneva 10 (Switzerland)
Fax: + 41 22 917 9022 (particularly for urgent matters)
Okay, so let's say you've made your complaint to the UNCRPD through the Optional Protocol. You're probably asking yourself, "Now what?"
Now it's in the hands of the United Nations Committee to review, and decide whether they'll accept it or reject it.
They may reject your complaint for one or more of the following reasons:
If the Committee accepts your complaint, they'll contact the country involved (in this case, the Canadian government) confidentially to tell them about it. You'll then be contacted and will likely be asked to answer questions and provide more information as the Committee investigates your complaint.