United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

24 August 1995


Fiftieth session
Item 107 of the provisional agenda*


Monitoring the implementation of the Standard
Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for
Persons with Disabilities

Note by 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.   In
paragraph  4  of  that  resolution, the  Assembly  requested  the Secretary-
General to promote  the implementation of  the Standard Rules and  to report
thereon to the General Assembly at its fiftieth session.

2.  Since  the adoption of  the Rules,  the following  activities have  been
undertaken to promote their dissemination and understanding worldwide:

  (a)   Distribution of the Rules  to Governments,  specialized agencies and
other organizations  and bodies  of the  United  Nations system  in the  six
official languages of the United Nations;

  (b)  Encouragement of  translation of the Rules into other languages.  The
Rules  are also  currently available  in Czech,  Danish, Estonian,  Finnish,
German, Hindi,Icelandic, Italian,Japanese, Korean,Slovak, Swedish andTamil;

  (c)  Translation  of the Rules  into Braille in  English, French,  Italian
and Spanish by the World Blind Union;

  (d)  Making the Rules available through the INTERNET.

  *  A/50/150.

95-26067 (E)   220995/...
3.   Attention is drawn in  particular to the  call for the promotion of the
Rules,  and the  development of  strategies  for  implementing them,  in the
Programme of  Action adopted  by the  World Summit  for Social  Development,
held at Copenhagen from 6 to 12 March 1995. 1/

4.  Pursuant to section IV,  paragraph 2, of the Rules,  which envisages the
appointment of a  Special Rapporteur to  monitor their implementation within
the  framework  of the  Commission  for  Social Development,  the Secretary-
General appointed  to  that position  Mr.  Bengt  Lindqvist (Sweden).    The
Special  Rapporteur, who  is  based  in Stockholm,  receives  a  substantial
amount  of   support  from  the   Government  of  Sweden  (including  office
facilities  and  secretarial   assistance).    The  Department  for   Policy
Coordination   and  Sustainable   Development   has  assisted   the  Special
Rapporteur in carrying out the following activities:

  (a)   An  address  to the  Third Committee  of  the General  Assembly,  in
October 1994;

  (b)  Convening of the first  meeting of the panel of experts to assist the
Special Rapporteur  in the implementation of  the Standard  Rules (New York,
15-16 February 1995);

  (c)    Attendance  at several  meetings,  conferences  and  congresses  in
Africa, Asia and Europe;

  (d)  The mobilization  of financial resources to  support the work  of the
Special Rapporteur;

  (e)    Elaboration of  a  questionnaire  which  was  sent to  Governments,
together  with  a  note  verbale  introducing  the  Special  Rapporteur  and
informing  them  about  the  monitoring  exercise  in  connection  with  the
Standard Rules;

  (f)   Preparation  of a  report  for consideration  by the  Commission for
Social Development at its thirty-fourth session.

5.   Pursuant  to  section IV,  paragraph 11,  of  the Standard  Rules,  the
Commission for  Social Development established  an open-ended working  group
to examine the Special Rapporteur's report  and make recommendations on  how
to improve the application of the  Rules.  On  the basis of the work of  the
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". 2/   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.  The  Commission requested  the
Secretary-General to  circulate the report of  the Special  Rapporteur as an
official document  of the General Assembly,  at its  fiftieth session, under
item 107 of the provisional agenda.

6.   The report  of the Special Rapporteur,  setting out in detail  both the
activities undertaken and recommendations for  future action, is  annexed to
the  present note, together  with summaries  of the  submissions received in
response to his questionnaire.

  1/   Report of the  World Summit for Social  Development, Copenhagen, 6-12
March 1995 (A/CONF.166/9), chap. I, resolution 1, annex II, para. 75 (k).

  2/  Official Records  of the Economic and Social Council, 1995, Supplement
No. 4 (E/1995/24), chap. I, sect. E.

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

  In  my  capacity  as  Special  Rapporteur   for  the  monitoring  of   the

implementation  of the  Standard Rules on the  Equalization of Opportunities
for Persons with Disabilities, I have the honour to deliver my first  report
to this  Commission.   I do  it with  some satisfaction,  as the  monitoring
mechanism  is now  running fairly well.   At  the end  of my  report, I will
present  for  your   consideration  some   recommendations  concerning   the
continuation of  the monitoring exercise.   These recommendations  have to a
large extent been worked  out in close cooperation with the panel of experts
now functioning as  part of the monitoring mechanism.   I am, however,  also
going to  draw your attention to some  problems, which we  will have to deal
with in  order to  make the  remaining two  years of  this first  monitoring
exercise as effective as possible.

  Before I  enter into the discussion  concerning the  implementation of the
Rules, I should like  to offer you some comments on the general  development
of policy in the disability field.


  The International Year of  Disabled Persons was a  great success in so far
as it  meant the international recognition  of the  human rights perspective
in the  disability field.   Both the theme of the  Year - full participation
and  equality  -  and the  even  more important  World  Programme of  Action
concerning Disabled Persons were important contributions in this respect.

  Full  participation  and  equality  for  persons  with  disabilities is  a
farreaching and powerful message.  It  emphasizes a comprehensive disability
approach,  which  takes  into  account  all  aspects  of  life  and society.
Rehabilitation,  technical  aids and  other forms  of  personal support  are
necessary preconditions  for  good living  conditions.    But they  are  not
enough.  Even  integration, that is, leaving  institutions and living  in an
open society, is not  sufficient.  Full participation on equal terms is more
than  that.    It  means  creating  opportunities  for  real  and meaningful
participation and  sharing in  all the different  spheres of society.   This
new dimension in disability  policy focuses on the  lack of attention to the
needs of  persons with disabilities and  the shortcomings  of society, which
up to now have been prevailing conditions in all parts of the world.

  An  important  contribution  of  the  World  Programme  of  Action  in the
clarification  of  disability  policy  is  that  the  Programme   structures
disability  policy in  three  main areas  -  prevention,  rehabilitation and
equalization of  opportunities.  Prevention  and rehabilitation are  already
well-known  areas.  The  third area,  equalization of  opportunities, is new
and brings into focus the many obstacles to participation in our  societies.
Another  important contribution  of the  World  Programme  of Action  is the
emphasis on  the involvement of organizations  of persons with  disabilities
in matters concerning disability.

  The  International  Year  was  a  great  success  ideologically  and meant
important progress in the development of  disability policy.  This  resulted
in enthusiasm and  high expectations in the international community.  At the
same time, the breakthrough in  ideas created a considerable gap between the
new and  internationally adopted  policy and  the reality  in which  persons
with disabilities lived.  Neither the  physical environment nor  activities,
services or  information systems  designed for the  general population  have
been shaped with these needs in mind.

  The expectations generated from the celebration  of the Year have not been
fulfilled.   In the  middle of  the decade  (1983-1992), international  non-
governmental  organizations   had  already   started  to   request  stronger
leadership  from  the  United  Nations  in  the  implementation  of  the new
disability policy.   The  new United  Nations instrument  in the  disability
field, the Standard Rules on the  Equalization of Opportunities for  Persons
with  Disabilities,  was  elaborated  in  response  to  that  request  for a
stronger leadership.

STANDARD RULES - a new type of instrument

  There are important differences between the  Rules and the World Programme
of Action:

  (1)   The  Rules carry  the development  of the  human rights  perspective
further.  This is, to a large extent, due to the development  that has taken
place since the International Year in 1981.

  (2)   The Rules convey a much clearer message in the area of "equalization
of opportunities".

  (3)  The language of the Rules is generally more concentrated and  shorter
in form than that  of the World Programme.   This makes the  message of  the
Rules more obvious.

  (4)   The Rules generally address  Governments of  Member States directly,
which is not the case in the World Programme.

  (5)  The implementation of the Rules will  be actively monitored through a
monitoring mechanism established especially for that purpose.


  The Rules were adopted  by the United Nations General Assembly in December
1993.   During the  spring  of 1994,  the  Rules  were translated  into  the
official languages of the United Nations  and distributed to Member  States.
In March 1994, the Secretary-General announced  his intention to appoint  me
as  Special  Rapporteur, subject  to  my  approval.    However, the  General
Assembly  did not allocate  the necessary financial resources for monitoring
through the  regular budget of  the United  Nations.  Instead,  the Assembly
declared  that the  work of  the Special  Rapporteur  should be  financed by
extrabudgetary funds.   My  reply to  the Secretary-General  took this  into
account.   I said  that  I  would be  honoured to  serve as  United  Nations
Rapporteur  in   this  context,  if  sufficient  funding  for  a  meaningful
monitoring exercise could be secured.   After having received assurance from
the  Government of  Sweden  that  it  would  be  willing to  provide  office
facilities for  the Rapporteur  and after having  received information  that
there  were  a  number  of  other  Governments  that  would  be  willing  to
contribute  to  the funding  of  the  monitoring  exercise,  I accepted  the

  One  interesting innovation in  the monitoring  mechanism of  the Rules is
the  invitation  by  the United  Nations to  international  organizations of
persons with disabilities to establish among  themselves a panel of  experts
to serve  as an active  part of the  monitoring system.   During the  second
half of 1994,  Disabled Peoples' International, the International League  of
Societies of Persons  with Mental Health, Rehabilitation International,  the
World  Blind  Union,  the  World  Federation  of  the  Deaf  and  the  World
Federation  of Psychiatric  Users decided  to  form  this panel  of experts.
Budgetary constraints have limited  the number of members of the panel to 10
persons.   The  panel consists  of five  men and  five women,  with  various
disabilities or  experiences of disabilities, from  all parts  of the world.
The   panel  members  are:     Monica   Bartley  (Jamaica),  Joshua  Malinga
(Zimbabwe), Victor  Wahlstrom (Sweden), Gabriela  Fabila de Zaldo  (Mexico),
John  Scott (New  Zealand), Penny  Hartin (Canada),  William Rowland  (South
Africa), Liisa  Kauppinen (Finland),  Mohamed Sazali  Shaari (Malaysia)  and
Mary O'Hagan (New Zealand).

Budget and funding

  During 1994, a cost plan for the activities  of the Special Rapporteur was
prepared in cooperation with the Secretariat.   Except for the  contribution
of  the Government of  Sweden concerning  office facilities,  which is being
given in kind, the  total cost for travel, the  three meetings of the panel,
fees for  the Rapporteur  and limited  amounts for  regional activities  and
professional assistance would  amount to $581,000  for the entire three-year
period.  Up  to the present  time, $350,000  has been  received or  secured.

The  following  countries  have  made  voluntary  contributions:    Austria,
Canada, China, Cyprus,  Denmark, Finland, Japan, Monaco, Norway, Republic of
Korea, Spain  and Sweden.   In addition, the  United Nations  Secretariat is
supporting the monitoring exercise as part of its regular activities.

  Though  it  is  encouraging  that  so   many  countries  have  decided  to
contribute  to the  funding of  the monitoring  mechanism, there  is still a
serious shortage  of  funds.   I  would  therefore  appeal to  other  Member
States, which  have not already done so, to make  voluntary contributions to
this monitoring exercise, which is developing in a promising way.

Activities during the first year

First letter to Governments

  In  November 1994  a note verbale  was sent to  Member States, introducing
the Special Rapporteur and informing them  about the monitoring exercise  in
connection with the Standard Rules.  A first  letter from the Rapporteur  to
Governments was attached  to the  note verbale.   The  letter included  four
general questions  on the manner in  which Governments  and other interested
entities in the  countries received,  promoted and  began implementation  of
the Standard  Rules. Member  States were asked  to reply before  15 February
1995.   A reminder to Governments  was sent out  by the Secretariat  shortly
before the  final date  for replies.   In  addition, the  10 members of  the
panel of  experts were  asked by  the Rapporteur  to  distribute the  above-
mentioned letter to their national organizations.

  By 10 April,  a total of 29 replies had been received.   (Subsequently, by
the  end of  July 1995,  13 additional replies  were received.)   Such a low
response rate seems  to correspond well with  the earlier experience  of the
Secretariat  concerning  questionnaires  to   Member  States  on  disability
matters.   With  regard to  those experiences,  I invite  the Commission  to
discuss the use of  questionnaires to Governments as  a tool in  the current
monitoring project.

Result of the questionnaire

  As  mentioned  earlier,  the  letter from  the  Rapporteur  to Governments
included the following four questions:

  1.   What has been done to make the Rules better known to concerned bodies
and organizations in your country?

  2.   How have the  Rules been used  to date, for  instance, in  connection
with your legislation or other measures?

  3.  How do you plan to use the Rules?

  4.   In this  first phase  of monitoring,  would your  Government wish  to
receive more information or assistance to introduce the Rules?

  A summary of country replies can be found in the appendix.

Rapporteur's activities, June 1994-June 1995

  At the Disability Conference  in Iceland in June  1994, the United Nations
Secretariat announced  that I  would serve  as Special  Rapporteur-designate
until the formalities in connection with  the organization of the monitoring
mechanism had been finalized.  I participated in two meetings at the  United
Nations,  in August and  November 1994, to plan  and organize the monitoring
activities together  with representatives  of the  Secretariat.   The formal
agreement  between the Secretariat  and me  was finally  signed in November,
but runs from August 1994.

  During the first phase  of monitoring, my main function as Rapporteur  was
to make the Rules  better known.  I  also discussed with  international non-

governmental  organizations various  possibilities  of  cooperation, methods
for implementing the  Rules and ways in which non-governmental organizations
at  various  levels could  cooperate  with  the  Rapporteur  and the  United
Nations Secretariat to achieve maximum results.

   As Rapporteur,  I  participated in  a  large  number of  conferences  and
seminars organized  by  Governments  and/or  organizations.   On  all  those
occasions, I  made speeches  and participated  in  workshops and  discussion
groups.  There  was great  interest in  the contents  of the  Rules and  the
opportunities  for development that  they offer.   The  presentations of the
Rules attracted large audiences and the discussions were intense.

First meeting of the panel of experts

  The first meeting of the panel of experts was held  from 15 to 17 February
1995  at United  Nations Headquarters.   All 10  members attended  the first
meeting.  They  were briefed on the progress  of the monitoring project  and
on other  United Nations activities  in the  disability field.   The meeting
focused on the future  activities of the monitoring  exercise.  The panel of
experts adopted a report containing a number of recommendations.

Future activities

  Future activities  are based  on the  guidelines set  out in  paragraph 1,
section IV of the Standard Rules, as follows:

  "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.   The
monitoring  mechanism  will recognize  the  economic,  social  and  cultural
features existing  in individual States.   An important  element should also
be  the provision of  advisory services  and the exchange  of experience and
information between States."

  To summarize, the overall goal is  to further the effective implementation
of   the  Rules.     The  monitoring  should  also   measure  the  level  of
implementation, identify obstacles  and suggest suitable measures to  remove
them.   Another  important  task  is  to provide  advisory  services and  to
promote an exchange of experience and information between States.

  Again, regarding budgetary matters,  the monitoring project was funded for
rather  limited  activities.    My  time  is  shared  between  the  task  of
Rapporteur and my work  as a  member of the Swedish  Parliament.  I have  an
excellent assistant  on a half-time basis  and, through  the Swedish in-kind
contribution, part-time professional  assistance.   I also benefit from  the
support and advice of both the panel and the United Nations Secretariat.

  Should  additional funding  be provided,  it  is  my intention  to develop
regional  activities  utilizing  regional expertise.    It  is against  this
background  that  I will  discuss  the  various  future  activities for  the
remaining two years of the monitoring project.

 Measuring the level of implementation

  As stated earlier,  the response to  the first  letter to Governments  was
very disappointing.  With  better preparation, especially  in obtaining  the
active cooperation of interested  non-governmental organizations, it  should
be   possible  to   get  more  replies.     Though  the   response  rate  to
questionnaires  is  traditionally  low,  it  is  clearly  indicated  in  the
monitoring guidelines that  questionnaires to Member  States should  form an
important part of the monitoring exercise.

  Based on the recommendations  of the panel of experts, it is my  intention
to  send a  second letter  in 1995  to  Member  States concentrating  on the

following  six  strategically  important  areas:    legislation  (rule  15),
coordination of work  (rule 17), organizations  of persons with disabilities
(rule 18), accessibility (rule 5), education  (rule 6) and employment  (rule
7).    The   specialized  agencies,  especially  the  International   Labour
Organization and  the United  Nations Educational,  Scientific and  Cultural
Organization,  will be consulted  on the  areas relevant  to their mandates.
Building on the experiences  of the first  two questionnaires, consideration
will be  given to devising a  third set of questions  before the  end of the
monitoring period.

  The  panel has  also  offered to  serve as  the  evaluating body  in  this
context. It  has  recommended  the  development of  an  index based  on  the
Standard Rules. Therefore, the elaboration of  the questionnaire and of such
an index for structuring the replies must be coordinated.

  In connection  with  the World  Summit  for  Social Development,  held  at
Copenhagen,  the  Danish organizations  of  persons  with  disabilities,  in
cooperation   with   the  Nordic   disability  organizations,   organized  a
conference  on the  development  of  a disability  index.   The idea  was to
develop such an index on the  basis of the Standard Rules.   In this way the
international  community  would get  an  instrument  to measure  and compare
development in the disability  field both over a  period of time and between
countries.  A  first version of such an  index was presented at the  Summit.
The discussion proved that there is  considerable interest in such an index,
especially among  organizations.  It also  indicated that  much work remains
to be  done before such an  index can be  integrated into the  international
evaluation  activities.  It  is also obvious that  the solution developed by
the  Danes is formed  in such a way  that it cannot be  used to evaluate the
implementation  level in  a single  Rule area.   If  an index  technique  is
desired in connection  with the evaluation of  an investigation of  the kind
recommended by the panel, we will have to develop our own solution for  that

Identifying obstacles and suggesting measures to remove them

  The most obvious contribution of the  Standard Rules to disability  policy
is the concept of  identifying and removing obstacles that prevent the  full
participation  in society of persons with disabilities.  For some groups and
in some cases, such  obstacles are easily identified.   In other  cases they
are less  tangible.    The  discussion of  this  topic  in relation  to  the
situation in developing  countries is  an almost  untouched area.   In  this
regard, I look to the Commission for advice and guidance.
    It is  important to  use all  available opportunities  to discuss  these
matters with the representatives of both  Governments and organizations.   I
intend to use the  various seminars, congresses etc.  in which I participate
to bring this matter to their attention.  I will  also continue to encourage
members of  the panel  of experts  and representatives  of organizations  of
disabled persons to contribute their innovative ideas to this process.

Advisory services

  Countries are already  asking for advice in  implementing the Rules.   The
possibilities of assisting countries within the  monitoring project are,  of
course, very limited.  Nevertheless, it  is important to respond  positively
to  such  requests,  since  one  of the  most  important  functions  of  the
monitoring  exercise  is   to  create  opportunities  for  development   and
cooperation.  I would appreciate a discussion in  the Commission on how such
advisory  services could be  linked to  the monitoring  exercise.   I firmly
believe that we should seek cooperation  with the specialized agencies,  the
United Nations  Development Programme and  other funding agencies to develop
advisory or  consultative services  in the  area of  legislation and  policy

  One   interesting   idea  is   to  develop   "good   country  models"   of
implementation. The selection of the models can be based on a fair  regional
distribution, using  the experiences of  the regional  commissions and other

regional organizations.

Promoting an exchange of information

  One of  the most  obvious results of  the first letter  to Governments  is
their request  for  information about  how  other  countries have  used  the
Rules.   This is in itself a strong motive for  continuing to send questions
to Governments.   High priority should therefore  be given to  compiling and
distributing examples of good country models.

  The replies  to the first letter  contain a number of interesting examples
of what has been done or is being planned.  As can be seen in the  appendix,
we have  chosen to report country by  country in order to make it easier for
those interested in acquiring more information.

  I  invite the  Commission to  discuss how an  exchange of  information can
best be promoted  through the  activities of this  monitoring project.   The
discussion could  concern both the  ways in  which results and  findings are
reported and special measures taken to  stimulate and facilitate an exchange
of information.


  In the  first part  of my  report, I  described the  role of the  Standard
Rules in the development of policy and thinking in  the disability field.  I
also indicated the reasons why this instrument was elaborated and why it  is
important to achieve results in the implementation of the Rules.

  I also described the way in which the monitoring mechanism has been  built
up by the Secretariat  during 1994 and the  efforts made to  find sufficient
funding for the activities.
    In the  second part  of the report,  I discussed the  activities of  the
first year of the monitoring exercise.

  In the third  section, I reported on the  various tasks of the  monitoring
project.  As we have limited resources, it  is important to discuss  various
possible activities with the funding situation in mind.

  The Rules  are being  introduced in  a large  number of  countries.   They
already  play an  important role  in  influencing  policy and  thinking both
internationally and at  the national  level.   However, much  remains to  be
done to implement  the Rules  -especially the role and  use of the Rules  in
developing countries.

  Now, I would like  to make some  recommendations for the consideration  of
the Commission.  Some of them  are concrete suggestions for the continuation
of  the  monitoring  exercise.   In  some  cases,  I  seek  the  advice  and
experience of the Commission in order to improve policy and action.


  1.   As a general approach to the monitoring, emphasis should be placed on
advice, support and  encouragement rather than  on measuring,  comparing and

  2.  In  the future, the major emphasis  in the monitoring activity  should
be on assisting developing countries in their implementation efforts.

  3.  Although the  overall goal of the monitoring activity is to  implement
all  the Rules, the monitoring efforts during the remaining two years should
concentrate  mainly on  the following  six  areas:   legislation  (rule 15),
coordination of work (rule 17), organizations  of persons with  disabilities
(rule 18), accessibility (rule 5), education  (rule 6) and employment  (rule

  4.    In  these six  areas,  measurable goals  (or  indicators) should  be

derived from the contents of the Rules.

  5.   The Rapporteur should  distribute a second  letter to  Member States,
making  in-depth  inquiries  in   the  first  four   areas:     legislation,
coordination, organizations of persons with disabilities and accessibility.

  6.  Concerning the  survey in the  areas of education and employment,  the
Rapporteur should  consult with the  United Nations Educational,  Scientific
and  Cultural Organization  and  the International  Labour  Organization  in
their respective fields.

  7.  The possibility  of using a simple  index technique in  the evaluation
of the results from this second questionnaire should be considered.

  8.  The offer made  by the panel of experts  to perform the  evaluation of
the survey should be accepted.

   9.       International   disability   organizations   (especially   those
constituting the panel of experts) should be  invited to participate in  the
survey.  Their  national members could  remind Governments to  reply.   They
could reply  themselves or,  if possible, comment  on the  replies of  their

  10.  The Commission  is invited to  discuss what could be done  to improve
the response rate from Governments.

  11.   Efforts should  be made  by the  Secretariat and  the Rapporteur  to
involve  the  specialized  agencies  and the  regional  commissions  in  the
implementation  of the Rules.   Among  other things,  the following measures
should be considered:

  (a)  A  letter with general questions, similar  to those contained in  the
first letter to Governments, should be sent to these entities;

  (b)  The  inter-agency meetings on  disability should  be reopened by  the
Secretariat  in  order to  exchange  information,  coordinate  measures  and
explore the possibilities of joint action;

  (c)   International non-governmental  organizations should  be invited  to
participate in the inter-agency meetings;

  (d)  Inter-agency meetings should also be held at the regional level.

  12.   When Member  States ask  for more extensive  advisory services,  the
Rapporteur  should seek  the  cooperation  of the  Secretariat,  the  United
Nations  Development  Programme,  the  specialized  agencies,  the  regional
commissions  and  other  agencies  in the  field  of  technical cooperation.
Measures to encourage cooperation between  the Rapporteur and these agencies
should be developed.

  13.    The  Commission  should  consider encouraging  the  development  of
regionally  distributed "good country  models", which,  during a later stage
in the monitoring exercise, could be used for reference.

  14.   In response  to the  requests from  Member States, good  examples of
measures  should  be registered  for  publication  towards  the  end of  the
monitoring period.

  15.   The Commission is  asked to consider  further measures to  stimulate
the exchange of experience and information between countries.

  16.  Further measures to promote  awareness-raising in connection with the
Rules  should  be considered.    Among  those  measures,  the following  are

  (a)  The wider circulation of the Standard Rules;

  (b)  A broad circulation of the brochure on the Standard Rules;

  (c)   The distribution of  a list of  United Nations  documents that could
support the implementation of the Rules;
   (d)    A  request  to  international  non-governmental  organizations  to
circulate their support material;

  (e)   The design  of a  poster on  the message  of the  Rules, to be  made
available for awareness campaigns.

  17.   The Commission  should consider  the funding  situation and  suggest
measures to  secure the necessary  resources for  the monitoring activities.
Among other things, the Commission is  asked to consider the  possibility of
reopening the  discussion on  funding the monitoring  mechanism through  the
regular budget of the United Nations.


     Summaries of replies from Governments to the questionnaire of the
     Special Rapporteur of the Commission for Social     Development on
     the Implementation of the Standard Rules on     the Equalization of
Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities


  At a  regional meeting  for Latin America  regarding national  legislation
and programmes for  disabled persons in 1994,  the Governments of the region
discussed  possibilities for applying  the Standard  Rules.   The Rules will
serve  as  a fundamental  guide  in  the  creation  of basic  jurisprudence,
providing an opportunity for affirmative action programmes.

  The Government  of Argentina developed a Plan of Action for 1994-1995, the
application of  which was  evaluated by  the Third  Argentinean Congress  on
Disability, held  at Buenos  Aires in  December, with  the participation  of
1,700 persons.   The  Standard Rules  were disseminated  by the  Argentinean
Federation for the Mentally Disabled.

  The  experience  gained  during  the  United  Nations  Decade  of Disabled
Persons has shown the way  for pursuing the application  of the equalization
of  opportunities under  the Standard  Rules.    Furthermore, the  rights of
persons  with  disabilities,  embodied  in  international  instruments,  are
complemented  by  the  rights  and  guarantees  recognized  in the  National
Constitution, recently reformed in 1994.

  Argentina  has  a  national  commission that  assists  the  Government  in
integrating disabled persons into society by  studying the special needs  of
persons with  disabilities.   The commission  includes representatives  from
various  areas  of the  Government  and  works  in  collaboration with  non-
governmental organizations.


  A considerable amount of  work has been done  to make the  Rules known  to
authorities, agencies  and organizations.  The  Rules are  often referred to
in federal documents.

  A  handbook for  regional  use  on how  to plan  and design  an accessible
environment has been elaborated.   During the drafting of the Rules,  drafts
were being  used as a  basis for new  federal legislation,  for example, the
Disability Discrimination Act (1992).  A  disability strategy has also  been
elaborated  after consultation  with non-governmental  organizations,  staff
and other concerned groups.

  The Australian  Disability Council has  a key role  in the monitoring  and
further development  of the strategy.  A national campaign has been launched

in support of the strategy.

   The   Australian   Government   welcomes  more   information,  especially
practical examples from other countries.


  In December 1992  a policy was adopted  by the Austrian  Government which,
to a large extent, coincides with the Rules.

  Concerning future  activities, Austria will  endeavour to incorporate  the
principles of the Rules in new policy.


  The  Republic of Belarus  pays considerable  attention to  the problems of
persons with  disabilities and  undertakes a  number of  measures for  their
protection,  including  legislation on  the  prevention  of  disability  and
rehabilitation  of persons  with disabilities, which aims  at protecting the
rights and  freedoms of disabled persons.   However,  the difficult economic
situation in Belarus  constitutes a  major obstacle  for funding  disability
  The International  Day of Persons with  Disabilities, on  2 December 1992,
was also proclaimed the  Day of Persons with Disabilities of the Republic of
  The  Republic  of  Belarus  would  like  to  receive  information  on  the
implementation of the Rules in other States.


  The  Government  of  Benin  plans to  elaborate  a  strategy in  order  to
introduce the Rules and  to speed up  their implementation.  The  Government
works in  cooperation  with  the  African  Rehabilitation  Institute.    The
Government would like to receive more information.


  The Rules have been handed over  to a group of disability  advocates.  New
legislation  concerning persons  with disabilities  will be  elaborated,  in
cooperation with  all concerned.   Several of  the paragraphs  in the  Rules
will  be used in the new law.  The Government  of Bolivia would welcome more


  The Rules were presented at a meeting  in November 1994.  In  January 1995
a plan of action  was adopted.   The national Constitution of 1991  includes
several  paragraphs on the  rights and  needs of  persons with disabilities.
The  Government would like to use the Rules and  a seminar will be organized
to promote  them. Various  ministries are  being informed  about the  Rules.
The Government would like to receive more information.


  The Standard Rules have been translated  into Greek and distributed to the
Organization  for  Disabled  Persons,  to  Social  Partners   and  to  other
interested government services.

  The Standard  Rules  and  the World  Programme of  Action  have served  as
guidelines for the development of government  policies for disabled  persons
and have helped to provide a framework for disability legislation.

  The  Government  is  interested  in  obtaining  information on  how  other
countries have used the Rules in  national legislation, particularly in  the

European Union.


  The  Rules have  been translated  and presented at  a press  conference in
1994. Copies  of the Rules have  been distributed  to ministries, Parliament
and regional  and local agencies.   The  Danish Council of  Organizations of
Disabled People distributed 1,500  copies of the Rules to its members.   The
Danish translation of the Rules is also available on tape and in Braille. 

  In  April 1993, a  resolution was  adopted, recommending  that both public
and  private  sectors  comply  with  the  principle  of  equal  treatment of
disabled  and non-disabled  citizens.    An  Equal  Opportunity  Centre  for
Disabled Persons was established. 

  Communication and  information are considered  important and some  100,000
Danish kroner has been allocated for information purposes.


  The  Estonian  Disabled  Person's  Board  had  the  Rules  translated into
Estonian  and widely  distributed,  including at  the  provincial  and local
levels.   In December  1994, a  workshop on the  Rules was  organized.   The
Government plans to hold an electronic-mail  conference, at which one  theme
will be the Rules.

  At  present, a special commission  is drafting an Estonian policy based on
the Rules.  The  Estonian Foundation of Disabled  People was formed in 1994.
Its main  purpose is to  fund programmes  and projects to  integrate persons
with disabilities and increase their  independence.  The Foundation receives
49 per cent of gambling taxes from the State budget.


  The Rules have been translated into  Finnish and distributed to disability
organizations and regional and local authorities.

  The Finnish National Council on Disability,  which is a coordinating  body
in accordance  with the  principles of  the Rules,  has started  to draft  a
Finnish  policy based  on  the  Rules.   On  two occasions  during 1994  the
National  Council  on Disability  launched  information  programmes  on  the
Rules.  The  Finnish Government would  like to maintain  close contact  with
the Special Rapporteur.


  The translation of the  Rules into German will soon be completed and  will
be published  as a brochure.   The principles  of the  Rules correspond well
with German legislation on rehabilitation.


  The Government  of Ghana  is committed  to ensuring  the mainstreaming  of
persons with  disabilities into the economic,  social and  political life of
Ghana. Towards that end, the Government  has established a National Advisory
Committee on  Rehabilitation Policy, whose terms  of reference  are based on
the Standard Rules, the Salamanca Statement  and the Framework for Action on
Special Needs Education.

  The  1992 Constitution of Ghana meets the necessary provisions for most of
the requirements of the  Standard Rules.  The Government has proposed a bill
for  the enactment of the  Disabled Persons Act,  fully addressing the legal
elements of the Standard Rules.  The Government  also intends to publish the
rules  to raise the awareness  of the community and  make society accessible
to persons with disabilities.


  The  Rules  have  been  translated   into  Icelandic  and  distributed  to
concerned authorities and organizations.

  The Rules have already been used to improve services.

  The Government would appreciate additional information.


  The Rules are well in keeping with national legislation.

  the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has  the main responsibility for
disability policy.

  The Government of Iraq considers that paragraphs 2  and 3 of rule 9 should
be deleted as they do not correspond with Islamic law and Arab tradition.

  It  is  important  to  designate an  international  organization  to study
experiences in different countries and to give advice to other countries.

  Iraq  has  long  experience  in  disability  services  of  various  types,
particularly with reference to employment.


  The Ministry of  Family and  Solidarity has disseminated  the text of  the
Rules  to interested parties  in order  to increase  awareness and sensitize
the public to the problems of disabled persons.

  On 30  July 1993, the Government  adopted a  national programme concerning
disabled persons.


  The Rules  have been  circulated to all  bodies and  organizations.   They
have been used  as a guide to introduce  and implement programmes and  other
measures to improve the socio-economic  status of persons with disabilities.
These include a 1 per cent  minimum quota of public sector jobs reserved for
persons  with disabilities,  and amendments  to  building codes  to  improve

  In the  future, the Rules will  be effectively implemented in all relevant
sectors.  The Government  of Malaysia wishes to receive more information and
assistance in introducing the Rules.


  The Government of Mexico has approved  a national programme on  disability
and has created a National Coordinating Commission.

  Five federal laws have been modified during the past two years.

  The  Rules constitute  the framework  and recommendations for  the present


  The  Rules  have  been  distributed  to all  concerned  organizations  and
institutions.   They  have been  used  in  awareness-raising campaigns.   An
international seminar  was held in  December 1994.   A High  Commissioner on
Disability  was appointed in  March 1994 in  order to  ensure integration of
disabled persons into society.

  A large  number of specialists  participated in  the international seminar

on equality  for persons with disabilities,  at which  the Rabat Declaration
was adopted. 

  Two  new  laws,  one  on  the  visually  impaired  and the  other  on  the
protection of disabled persons from discriminatory treatment, have  recently
been enacted.

  A plan of  action will be elaborated  in cooperation with  ministries, the
private  sector  and   national  organizations  and  in  consultation   with
international bodies.

  The  Government  of  Morocco  would  appreciate  information  from   other

  The Rules have been translated into  Dutch and distributed to  ministries,
Parliament, various organizations and the media.

  The Rules  can be  seen as  a frame  of reference for  policy development.
They correspond  well  with the  approach  taken  in Dutch  legislation  and

  At  present,  an  Action  Plan  on  Care  for Disabled  Persons  is  being
elaborated on  the basis  of  the Rules.    A  long-term programme  for  the
coordination of disability issues is being  drafted for the years 1995-1998.

New Zealand

  The Standard  Rules have  been given  to the  Ministry of  Health and  the
Department  of  Social  Welfare,  both  of  which  have  responsibility  for
providing  policy advice  and  maintaining  income levels  for  people  with
disabilities.   In addition, the Assembly  for People  with Disabilities has
disseminated theRules tointeresteddisability-related entitiesin NewZealand.

  The Rules have been used in promoting the  need for a government  strategy
to  ensure that people  with disabilities  have equal  opportunity to access
state  services.  Also, the Rules have contributed to the ongoing conceptual
development regarding a definition of disability support services.

  The  Government  would  be pleased  to  receive  any  further  information
regarding the Rules.


  The Rules correspond with the overall  political goals of the Government's
action plan.    Each ministry  is  responsible  for implementing  the  Rules
within  its area  of responsibility.    The Ministry  of Health  and  Social
Affairs is responsible for coordination.

  A special committee of state  secretaries has been appointed  to deal with
policy relating to disabled persons.

  A National Council on Disability has  been established which, among  other
things,   will  present   proposals  to  the  ministries   and  monitor  the
implementation of the Rules.

  The Government of Norway  is interested in  receiving further  information
on   the  way   the  implementation   of   the   Rules  is   being  effected
internationally and in individual countries.


  The Rules  have been  distributed to  concerned ministries,  organizations
and institutions in  the disability field.   The Rules will be  incorporated
in ongoing  activities.  The  implementation of the  Rules will,  to a large

extent, depend on the availability of resources.

  The Government  is interested in  additional information, especially  from
other countries in the region.


  The Government  is  currently distributing  copies  of  the Rules  to  all
concerned.  A  conference will be  organized for staff  within the  National
Council for the Welfare of Disabled Persons and the Ministry.  They will  be
responsible for distributing information to the 15 regions of the country.

  The Government is elaborating a Magna  Carta for Disabled Persons which is
well in keeping with the Rules.

  The Disability Unit in  the Ministry has used the Rules in formulating its
Plan of Action for 1995.

  The  Rules will be  used as guidelines  when planning  policy both locally
and regionally.   Non-governmental organizations will be represented in this

  The Government would appreciate information and assistance in  introducing
and interpreting the Rules.


  The Standard  Rules  were disseminated  by  radio  and television  and  at
meetings of disability organizations.

  The State Secretariat for Disabled Persons  has regular meetings with non-
governmental  organizations.   Most  of the  Rules  are included  in  a  law
concerning  the  protection  of  disabled  persons.   The  institutions  for
children have been reformed.

  The Rules will be used to  improve legislation, encourage early detection,
increase  the  degree of  independence  of  disabled persons,  and  initiate
vocational training programmes.

  The  Government would  appreciate  more information  about  activities  in
other countries and monitoring mechanisms.

 Russian Federation

  A Russian club named  "Adventure" held a marathon  for disabled persons in
1994.  The  marathon adopted the  United Nations  slogan "Society for  All",
from  the  Decade  of  Disabled  Persons.    This  event  helped  strengthen
relationships between the people of  the Commonwealth of  Independent States
and the  Baltic States  and was  a valuable  contribution to  the plans  and
programmes for disabled persons.


  The Government of Slovakia printed 2,500 copies of the Standard Rules  and
disseminated  them throughout  the country,  including to  governmental  and
non-governmental  organizations  and health  and  educational  institutions.
The Rules were published in newspapers and magazines for disabled persons.

  The Government  is interested in integrating  the Standard  Rules into new
legislation.  The Government wishes to  improve the integration of  disabled
persons  into society  and has  discussed  establishing  a "project  for the
coordination of  activities  for  the  integration  of  disabled  people  in
everyday life in  every district".   The project  is expected  to become  an
instrument for local policy-making.

  Although the  Government abolished the  Committee for  Disabled Persons in

1995, it hopes to  establish another coordinating body.   In previous years,
this   Committee,   consisting   of   governmental   and    non-governmental
organizations and disabled  persons, strove  to enable  disabled persons  to
take part in the  community and to  have the right to education,  employment
and housing.


  The Standard Rules have been translated  into Slovenian and distributed to
relevant  ministries,  organizations  for   the  disabled  and  institutions
responsible for developing  national legislation on  disability issues.  The
Government plans  to publish and distribute  the Rules  to local communities
to assist them in developing local policy.

  The Government  plans to  modify and  amend the  existing legal  framework
which  impedes  or prevents  the  full  participation  and  equal status  of
disabled  persons within  society.   The  Government  also intends  to amend
legislation concerning  housing and construction  policy to assist  disabled
persons  in  acquiring housing  and  to  introduce provisions  for  removing
architectural barriers.

  The Rules  will serve  as a guide  for developing employment  policies for
persons  with  disabilities.    Additionally,  the  Rules  will  serve  as a
reference for  the drafting  of national  programmes on  social welfare  for
disabled persons.

  The  Government  would  like  to be  updated  on  the  activities  of  the
Commission  for Social Development regarding the implementation of the Rules
in other countries.

 South Africa

  The  Government  has  put considerable  effort  into  creating a  National
Coordinating Committee on Disability  and developing a network of committees
in  the areas of  prevention, rehabilitation  and equal  opportunities.  The
goal is  to undertake  a total  review of  legislation and  services in  the
disability  field. This  should help  professionals develop skills  based on
the Rules.

  The Government would appreciate more information.


  The  Rules  have  been  widely  distributed  among  professionals  of  the
National Institute  for Social Affairs, with  a view  to their consideration
within the  framework of the concepts,  planning and  management of policies
for  disabled persons.  The Rules have been  taken into consideration within
the framework of the plan of action for  the integration of disabled persons
and will be used as a reference for future actions of the Institute.

  The  Government  of  Spain would  be  interested  in receiving  additional
information on the development and impact of the Rules in other countries.

Sri Lanka

  The  Rules have  been translated  into  Sinhalese  and distributed  to all
concerned authorities and institutions.

  Legislation on the establishment of a  National Council on Disability  has
been drafted, with disability organizations represented at all levels.

  The Government would appreciate additional information.


  A disability  ombudsman was appointed in  1994.  The ombudsman will ensure

that  disabled  persons are  not  treated  unfavourably,  will  serve in  an
advisory  capacity and  scrutinize  and evaluate  current legislation.   The
Government  considers it  important  to  take  measures to  develop  general
accessibility and responsibility in various parts of society.

  The  Rules  have  been  translated  into  Swedish.    The  Government  has
allocated 10 million Swedish  kronor for disseminating information about the

  The Government  welcomes  the proposal  in  the  White Paper  on  European
Social  Policy to  prepare  an appropriate  instrument endorsing  the United
Nations Standard Rules.


  The Rules will be  translated into German.   They have been distributed to
disability  organizations.    The  Rules,  which  have  just  recently  been
introduced, have not yet had any concrete effect  at the federal or regional
level. Disability organizations will consider how the  Rules can be used  in
various contexts. 

  The Swiss  Government would  appreciate additional  information about  how
the Rules are used in other countries.

Syrian Arab Republic

  The  Government  of the  Syrian  Arab Republic  has  fully agreed  to  the
Standard Rules on  the condition that these  Rules do not contradict Islamic
law.   So  that  the Rules  can be  better known,  the  Ministry for  Social
Affairs and  Labour will disseminate them  to the  competent authorities for
implementation.  The authorities will study  legislation in order to  update
it in accordance with  the Rules, provided that the Rules do not  contradict
public legislation.

  In the  future, the  ministries will  include in  their related  five-year
plans,  new  projects  that  will  comply  with  the  Rules,  keeping within
affordable resources.


Trinidad and Tobago

  During 1993,  a committee  consisting of  representatives from  government
and disability  organizations elaborated a draft  policy on the basis of the
Rules. The committee has continued to formulate a  plan of action.  Measures
have been taken to raise awareness.

  It  has   been  proposed  that   a  National   Coordinating  Committee  be
established during 1995, to  be followed by a disability unit in 1996, which
would function as the secretariat of the Committee.

  Copies of the Rules and the policy statement will be distributed.

  The  Government would  appreciate information  about activities  in  other


  The National Coordinating  Committee, established in 1981, has  translated
the Rules  into Turkish and distributed  them to  concerned institutions and
organizations.  The Rules are on the Committee's agenda.

  General policy on the Rules will be included  in the five-year plan, which
is currently being drafted.   The intention of  the Government is to include
the Rules in discussions with institutions and organizations.
    Efforts to  eliminate physical obstacles  will be  increased.  Personnel

and families  will be  trained and  statistics will  be collected through  a

  The Government would like additional information.

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

  Concerned ministries  have been  informed about  the Rules  and the  Rules
have also been distributed to concerned organizations.

  The  Rules  have  been  scrutinized  and  concerned ministries  will  take
account of the principles.

United States of America

  The Standard  Rules have  been incorporated  into recommendations  made to
the  President  and Congress  by  the  National  Council  on Disability,  an
independent  federal  agency  that  works  to  increase  the  inclusion  and
empowerment of persons with disabilities.

  During the past 20 years, the United States has passed legislation,  which
embodies  many  of  the  principles  articulated  in   the  Standard  Rules,
including the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which contains  non-discrimination
provisions  for  promoting  equality  and  opportunities  for  persons  with
disabilities.    The  Act  also  includes  provisions  for  the  hiring  and
advancement  of employees with  disabilities in  the Federal  Government and
affirmative action  plans for federal contractors.   Recommendations by  the
National  Council on Disability  led to  the Federal  Government passing the
Americans  with Disabilities  Act of  1990, creating  a wide  range of civil
rights that prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities.

Information submitted by non-governmental organizations


China Disabled Persons' Federation

  Brochures  in Chinese  have  been printed  and distributed  throughout the
country.   The message  of the Rules has been  made known through the media.
The Rules are often  used for reference.  The present Chinese legislation is
in  accordance with  the Rules.   Two  inspection tours  have been  made  to
monitor  the implementation of the  Rules.  China has  a five-year programme
on disability, in which most areas of the Rules are included.

  Brochures will be distributed  at the grass-roots  level.  The Rules  will
be incorporated in  the formulation of  the next  five-year programme.   The
main target  in  that five-year  programme will  be  poverty  relief in  the
market economy, especially for the poorest citizens.

  China would like  to exchange information with the United Nations and with
other countries concerning the implementation of the Rules.


Union   nationale  des   associations  de  parents  et   amis  de  personnes
handicapees  mentales  -  National  Union  of  Associations of  Parents  and
Friends of Persons with Mental Deficiency (UNAPEI)

  Paragraph 7 of rule 7  states that "the aim should  always be for  persons
with  disabilities  to obtain  employment in  the open  labour market.   For
persons with  disabilities whose  needs cannot  be met  in open  employment,
small units of sheltered or supported employment may be an alternative".

  In our  capacity as representatives of  persons with  mental deficiency in
France,  we are of  the opinion that there should  be an adapted response to
each type of disability.  One  must be realistic, and restrictive as well as

mistrustful  attitudes towards sheltered workshops may lead to the exclusion
of persons  with mental  deficiency; for  a great  number of  those persons,
access to specialized structures is the way to  greater inclusion.  Our  aim
is to temper exchanges of views  in international organizations where theory
does not necessarily correspond to reality.


National Forum for Welfare of the Mentally Handicapped

  The Ministry of Welfare will print the Rules in Hindi and distribute  them
throughout  the  country.    At  the   government  level,  the  question  of
translating the Rules into other vernacular languages is being discussed.

  The Government has prepared comprehensive legislation.

  The  National  Council  for  the  Welfare   of  the  Handicapped  will  be
encouraged to  discuss  the  Standard  Rules  and  to use  them  for  policy


Akim Israel  - National  Association for  the Habilitation  of the  Mentally

  In reply to the questions of the Special Rapporteur, Akim Israel has  made
an extensive  account  of the  various  programmes  in Israel  for  disabled
persons, especially for the mentally handicapped.

 South Africa

S.A. Federation for Mental Health

  The Rules  are  well  known  at the  government  level and  in  disability
circles.  The National Coordinating  Committee on  Disability was  formed in
1993.   Its  main  objective  is  to  implement  the  Rules.    At  present,
disability  policy and  legislation  are being  updated.    Non-governmental
organizations  participate in this process.   The Rules will mainly serve as
criteria regarding how change can be monitored.   The Committee is in  close
touch with the United Nations and Rehabilitation  International but welcomes
information and advice.



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Date last posted: 18 December 1999 16:30:10
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