Delegates continue negotiations at UN on the rights of the disabled

31 January 2005 –

After agreeing on various draft articles of a convention on the rights of people with disabilities, the United Nations panel negotiating the treaty turned their attention this week to freedom of expression and opinion, access to information, safeguarding privacy and living independently without being excluded from community affairs.

Representatives, coordinated by Ambassador Don McKay of New Zealand, were to hold informal consultations on these clauses and to review other articles more formally under the chairmanship of Ambassador Luis Gallegos Chiriboga of Ecuador by the time the fifth session of the Assembly's Ad Hoc Committee ends on Friday.

"We had quite a long and hard week, but we have covered quite a bit of material," Mr. Mackay said Friday. "The issues we covered were especially difficult – more difficult than other parts of the text. The articles that follow deal with action by States parties to put these issues into practice and are more mechanical."

The Ad Hoc Committee agreed last week on wording for the rights of persons with disabilities to life, equal recognition before the law, liberty and security of the person, freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment and freedom from violence, abuse and exploitation.

Mr. McKay reminded drafters that their role was not to work out the final text but to develop the draft they had received so that the GA delegations could have an improved text for review.

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