Development and human rights for all

Monitoring the implementation of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities [E/CN.5/2000/3 Report on Second Mandate of the Special Rapporteur]

E/CN.5/2000/3

Thirty-eighth session
8-17 February 2000
Item 3 (b) of the provisional agenda*
Follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development:
Review of relevant United Nations plans and programmes of action
pertaining to the situation of social groups

Note of the Secretary-General

  1. At its forty-eighth session, the General Assembly adopted the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, contained in the annex to its resolution 48/96 of 20 December 1993.1 The 22 Rules provide a framework to further the goals of "equality" and "full participation" of disabled persons in social life and development, set forth in the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons.2
  2. In section IV, paragraph 2, of the Standard Rules, it is stipulated that the Rules shall be monitored within the framework of the sessions of the Commission for Social Development. The appointment of a Special Rapporteur to monitor their implementation within the framework of the Commission for Social Development was also envisaged in that paragraph.
  3. In March 1994, the Secretary-General appointed Bengt Lindqvist (Sweden) as Special Rapporteur on Disability of the Commission for Social Development. The Special Rapporteur prepared a report for the consideration of the Commission for Social Development at its thirty-fourth session.3 On the basis of that report and the findings of the Commission's working group, the Commission adopted resolution 34/2 entitled "Monitoring the implementation of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities".4 In that resolution, the Commission took note with appreciation of the report of the Special Rapporteur and of his recommendations and welcomed his general approach to monitoring, including the emphasis to be placed on advice and support to States in the implementation of the Rules.
  4. At its thirty-fifth session in 1997, the Commission for Social Development considered the report of the Special Rapporteur on monitoring the implementation of the Standard Rules for the period from 1994 to 1996.5 The Commission took note with appreciation of the valuable work done by the Special Rapporteur, decided to renew his mandate for a further three years and requested the Special Rapporteur to prepare a report for submission to the Commission at its thirty-eighth session in 2000.6
  5. In section IV, paragraph 12, of the Rules, it is further stipulated that at its session following the end of the Special Rapporteur's mandate, the Commission should examine the possibility of either renewing that mandate, appointing a new Special Rapporteur or considering another monitoring mechanism, and should make appropriate recommendations to the Economic and Social Council. The present mandate of the Special Rapporteur will come to an end in 2000. The Commission is requested to make its recommendations in that regard to the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly.
  6. It might be recalled that the activities of the Special Rapporteur and his panel of experts are funded by voluntary contributions.7 During his two 3-year mandates, from 1994 to 1997 and from 1998 to 2000, respectively, 10 Governments and the National Council on Disability of the United States of America8 contributed some US$ 750,000 to a special trust fund account established by the Secretary-General to finance the activities of the Special Rapporteur. The Government of Sweden provided financial and in kind support to maintain the office of the Special Rapporteur. The Government of Canada made a direct financial contribution. Draft working data on contributions received and expenditures in support of the two mandates are presented in tables 1 and 2, respectively, as at 15 November 1999, and will be updated to 31 July 2000.

Table 1

Contributions through the United Nations earmarked for the activities of the Special Rapporteur from August 1994 to July 2000

(United States dollars)

Country Aug. 1994-
July 1995
Aug. 1995-
July 1996
Aug. 1996-
July 1997
Subtotal
Aug. 1994-
July 1997
Aug. 1997-
July 1998
Aug. 1998-
July 1999
Aug. 1999-
July 2000
Subtotal
Aug. 1997-
July 2000
Total
Aug. 1994-
July 2000
Austria 9 094   8 110 17 204   7 941 7 602 15 543 32 747
China 10 000 10 000 10 000 30 000 10 000 10 000 10 000 30 000 60 000
Denmark 100 000     100 000   100 000   100 000 200 000
Finland 10 000   10 000 20 000       0 20 000
Iceland       0   5 000   5 000 5 000
Japan 10 000 10 000 10 000 30 000 9 100 7 500 7 500 24 100 54 100
Netherlands     83 052 83 052   39 695   39 695 122 747
Norway 49 978   25 000 74 978   50 000   50 000 124 978
Philippines       0 3 000     3 000 3 000
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland   31 146   31 146       0 31 146
National Council on Disability of the United States of America   24 500 25 000 49 500 25 000     25 000 74 500
Other       0       0  
Redeployment from United Nations Voluntary Fund on Disability sub-allotment account for Working Group on Standard Rules 30 000     30 000       0 30 000
Total 219 072 75 646 171 162 465 880 47 100 220 136 25 102 292 338 758 218

Table 2

Expenditures relating to earmarked activities of the Special Rapporteur from August 1994 to July 2000

(United States dollars)

Description/ activity Aug. 1994-
July 1995
Aug. 1995-
July 1996
Aug. 1996-
July 1997
Subtotal
Aug. 1994-
July 1997
Aug. 1997-
July 1998
Aug. 1998-
July 1999
Aug. 1999-
July 2000
Subtotal
Aug. 1998-
July 2000
Total
Aug. 1994-
July 2000
Honorarium 20 000 20 000 20 000 60 000 24 000 24 000 24 000 72 000 132 000
Panel of experts meetings 38 273 37 260 48 585 124 118   54 432   54 432 178 550
(New York, 15-17 February 1995)                  
(New York, 10-14 June 1996)                  
(Ferney-Voltaire, France,
20-25 May 1997)
                 
(Ferney-Voltaire, France,
20-22 October 1998)
                 
Travel of Special Rapporteur and his assistant 27 056 47 497 61 773 136 326 14 377 49 773 15 540 79 690 216 016
Subtotal                 526 566
Add 13% support                 68 454
Total                 595 020
  1. During the two mandates of the Special Rapporteur, a number of Governments and organizations of persons with disabilities at national, regional and interregional levels have submitted requests for co-financing assistance from the Voluntary Fund on Disability for building national capacities to further implement the Standard Rules. These data for approved and pipeline projects as at 15 November 1999 are summarized in table 3. The selected project experiences are discussed in reports of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons (E/CN.5/1999/5 and A/54/388 and Add.1).

Table 3

Capacity-building projects related to the Standard Rules supported by United Nations Voluntary Fund on Disability (1997-1999)

Project No. Country/region Short title Implementing agency Total budget (United States $) Grant
(United States $)
Africa
MAU/99/D10 Mauritania (Nouakchott) Séminaire sous-régional magrébin sur les Règles (Nouakchott, December 1999) Action pour le développement social en Mauritania 99 600 40 100
MOZ/97/D33 Regional Southern Africa Workshop on equalization of opportunities: legislation, gender and the socio-economic situation of landmine victims, women and children with disabilities (Maputo, 10-13 August 1999) Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (Zimbabwe) 87 000 28 200
RAF/99/D36* Senegal (Dakar) Seminar for francophone member States of the African Rehabilitation Institute on "Standard Rules on Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (Dakar, December 1999) African Rehabilitation Institute (Dakar office) 35 168 28 000
ZIM/97/D28 Zimbabwe (Harare) First African Rehabilitation Institute seminar on the Standard Rules (Harare, 11-13 February 1998) African Rehabilitation Institute (Zimbabwe office), in cooperation with International Disability Foundation 22 800 13 300
Asia and Pacific
  INT/99/D27* Hong Kong Interregional seminar and symposium on international norms and standards relating to disability Equal Opportunities Commission, Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China, in cooperation with Hong Kong University, Faculty of Law, Centre for Comparative and Public Law 95 000 70 000
Latin America and the Caribbean
MEX/96/D24 Mexico (Guadalajara) Workshop on promoting accessible urban environments in preparation for 1998 World Assembly of Disabled Peoples' International at Guadalajara (Guadalajara, Mexico, 19-25 August 1997) Disabled Peoples' International in cooperation with Municipality of Guadalajara, State of Nayarit, and Government of Mexico 70 000 30 000
RLA/97/D17 Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo) Training of trainers in monitoring the implementation of the Standard Rules in Central America and the Caribbean (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 13-18 April 1998) Disabled Peoples' International in cooperation with the Government of Dominican Republic and the Associación Dominicana de Rehabilitación, and with the participation of the Federación Nacional Dominicana de Discapacitados 66 000 49 000
Interregional
INT/98/D30 Berkeley (California, United States of America) Consultative Expert Meeting on Law and Disability Policies (Berkeley, California, United States of America, 8-12 December 1998) World Institute on Disability in association with University of California at Berkeley 50 000 35 000
Total       525 568 293 600

* Pending financial approval.

  1. The final report of the Special Rapporteur on monitoring the implementation of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities during his second mandate is annexed to the present note.

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FOOTNOTES:

  1. Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities
  2. A/37/351/Add.1 and Add.1/Corr.1, annex, sect. VIII
  3. A/50/374, annex.
  4. Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1995, Supplement No. 4 (E/1995/24), chap. I, sect. E.
  5. A/52/56, annex
  6. Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1997, Supplement No. 6 (E/1997/26), chap. I, sect. A, subsequently adopted as Economic and Social Council resolution 1997/19 of 21 July 1997.
  7. General Assembly resolution 48/96, annex, sect. IV, para. 2.
  8. The Government of Sweden provides in-kind support for the operations of the Office of the Special Rapporteur in Stockholm.

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Annex

Final Report of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission for Social Development on monitoring the implementation of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities on his second mission, 1997-2000

Any violation of the fundamental principle of equality or any discrimination or other negative differential treatment of persons with disabilities inconsistent with the United Nations Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities is an infringement of the human rights of persons with disabilities

Commission on Human Rights Resolution 1998/31

Preface

In my capacity as Special Rapporteur for monitoring of the implementation of the Standard Rules on Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, I have the honour to deliver my final report on the second period of monitoring (1997-2000) to the Commission on Social Development. It has been a privilege and a stimulating task to act as Special Rapporteur in this area. I want to express my sincere appreciation to the Economic and Social Council for showing confidence in me by renewing my mandate for a second period. I also would like to thank all those Governments that have contributed financially to this project, including the Government of Sweden, which has provided me with office resources throughout the entire exercise.

From the beginning and during the whole period of monitoring, I have enjoyed full support from the Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Nitin Desai, and excellent professional advice from Andrzej Krassowski and his group at the Division for Social Policy and Development. I have received good cooperation with a number of United Nations agencies, in particular with the World Health Organization (WHO), which, in close cooperation with me, has conducted a global survey on the implementation of a number of Rules. I also want to express my appreciation for the excellent work performed by Eva Sagström in my Swedish office.

One key element in this monitoring exercise has been the panel of experts, established in 1994 by six major international non-governmental organizations in the disability field. The panel members, five men and five women, representing all regions and with different experiences of disability, have provided valuable guidance. They have also been very understanding when limited resources have made it impossible to pursue all good ideas and initiatives.

Finally I want to thank all those Governments and non-governmental organizations that have provided information for my work.

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I. Background and framework for mission

A. Background
  1. Variations in physical, mental and sensory functioning have always existed among human beings. Yet, people with functional limitations - disabilities - have always run the risk of being excluded and marginalized. Throughout the centuries we have designed and constructed our societies as if persons with disabilities did not exist, as if all human beings can see, hear, walk about, understand and react quickly and adequately to signals from the world around them. This illusion, this misconception about human nature, this inability to take the needs of all citizens into account in the development of society is the main reason for the isolation and exclusion of persons with disabilities, which we can observe in different forms and to different degrees all over the world. It will take a long time to change this pattern of behaviour, which is deeply rooted in prejudice, fear, shame and lack of understanding of what it really means to live with a disability. However, international efforts to improve the living conditions for persons with disabilities have begun and progress is being made.
  2. A more systematic effort to improve living conditions of persons with disabilities started long ago in the emerging industrialized nations. During the last 50 years the so-called advanced welfare states have developed comprehensive programmes and services in order to meet the needs of persons with disabilities. For a long time, however, the common approach of all these programmes was limited to various forms of support to the individual and were organized as disability-specific services outside the mainstream of society.
  3. In the 1960s and 1970s the awareness started to grow, especially among disabled people in some countries, that participation in the activities of society could take place only if the environment and general services and activities were also designed to meet the needs of persons with disabilities. A new perspective developed in disability policy, which brought the lack of access in the surrounding society into focus and emphasized the right to participation.
  4. When the United Nations proclaimed the International Year of Disabled Persons in 1981, it was an event of historical importance. The adoption of the theme of "Full Participation and Equality" for the activities during the Year must be considered a major political breakthrough for a human rights-based perspective in the field of disability.
  5. The World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons, which was adopted by the General Assembly by resolution 37/52 of 3 December 1982, formulated this philosophy and identified a number of important areas for action. For the first time in international disability affairs, the World Programme requested all human rights bodies to give attention to disability-related problems. Other major contributions by the World Programme were the presentation of the concept of the equalization of opportunities as a new area for intervention and the recognition of the right of disabled persons and their organizations to participate in decision-making in matters concerning themselves.
  6. The International Year and the World Programme of Action signalled a process of change and development, which started during the International Decade of Disabled Persons (1983-1992) and which continues today, nearly 20 years later. During the first years of the Decade a lot of attention was given to disability matters in many countries, however, a few years later, this interest seemed to fade. This was noted at the mid-term evaluation of the Decade, made at an expert meeting in 1987. In the report from the meeting a number of measures were suggested to strengthen the leadership role of the United Nations in implementing the new disability policy. The final response to this request was the elaboration and adoption of the United Nations Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.
  7. The Standard Rules express the same philosophy about disability as the World Programme of Action. However, there are some important additions made as a result of experience gained during the Decade. The responsibility of Governments of Member States in the implementation process is more clearly outlined in the Rules. The most obvious new element in the Standard Rules, however, is the establishment of an active and separate monitoring mechanism.

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B. Terms for monitoring
  1. One of the most significant features of the Standard Rules is that their implementation was to be actively monitored, as outlined in chapter IV of the Rules, which contains a fairly detailed description of the monitoring mechanism:
    • "The purpose of a monitoring mechanism is to further the effective implementation of the Rules. It will assist each State in assessing its level of implementation of the Rules and in measuring its progress. The monitoring should identify obstacles and suggest suitable measures that would contribute to the successful implementation of the Rules."
  2. There are three actors involved in the monitoring task. The Standard Rules outlined that monitoring should take place within the framework of the sessions of the Commission for Social Development, that a special rapporteur should do the actual monitoring work and report to the Commission and that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the disability field should be invited to establish a panel of experts, to be consulted by the Special Rapporteur.
  3. In March 1994 the Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, appointed me Special Rapporteur. In September 1994 a panel of 10 experts was established by the following six international organizations: Disabled Peoples' International, Inclusion International, Rehabilitation International, World Blind Union, World Federation of the Deaf and World Federation of Psychiatric Survivors and Users.
  4. The activities during the first monitoring period were reported to the Commission for Social Development at its thirty-fifth session (A/52/56, annex).
  5. At its session of 1997, the Economic and Social Council, following the recommendations by the Commission for Social Development, decided to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a further period of three years, from 1997 to 2000 (Council resolution 1997/19). The activities of the Special Rapporteur were also endorsed by the General Assembly in resolution 52/82 of 12 December 1997.
  6. A precondition for the whole monitoring exercise was that extrabudgetary funding could be raised for the majority of the activities. During the first period of monitoring, 11 Governments contributed financially to the project. Altogether six Governments have contributed during this second period. The total amount of these contributions is estimated at $700,000. The special service agreement, between the Secretariat and the Special Rapporteur, signed in August 1994, has been kept during the second period of monitoring (1997-2000). This includes the arrangement that the Special Rapporteur should run his work from a small office in Sweden and that the Secretariat would assist with advice and administrative services.

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C. Guidelines by the Commission for Social Development
  1. At its thirty-fifth session, the Commission for Social Development decided to recommend the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a further period of three years, so as to make it possible to continue the monitoring of the implementation of the Standard Rules. In its resolution 35/2, the Commission:
    • Urged the Secretary-General and Governments to further the effective implementation of the Standard Rules and to emphasize the dimension of human rights, including that dimension for persons with developmental and psychiatric disabilities
    • Invited the Special Rapporteur and the Committee on the Rights of the Child to pursue and enhance their cooperation to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities are fully addressed in the Committee's reporting process
    • Requested the Special Rapporteur to pay special attention to the situation of children with disabilities when monitoring the implementation of the Standard Rules.
  2. These guidelines by the Commission have played an important role in the activities of the Special Rapporteur during the second period of monitoring. An account of the activities in connection with each particular aspect can be found under separate headings of the report.

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D. Meetings of the panel of experts
  1. During the second monitoring period (1997-2000), three meetings of the panel of experts were planned. The first meeting was held in May 1997. Two major subjects were discussed. The panel analysed the outcome of the first monitoring period and discussed the activities to be carried out during the second period. A number of United Nations agencies participated and informed the panel about their ongoing activities. The panel members were invited to present their views and in this way a consultative process was established.
  2. At the second meeting, which was held in October 1998, some new developments were discussed, including the adoption of resolution 1998/31 by the Commission on Human Rights, containing a number of important recommendations calling for follow-up action from the NGO community, and the development of a disability policy by the World Bank.
  3. Consultations with a number of United Nations agencies were continued and a preliminary discussion was held concerning the promotion of the United Nations disability policy after the end of the second monitoring period.
  4. A third meeting of the panel will take place in connection with the thirty-eighth session of the Commission for Social Development in February 2000.

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