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54/121. Implementation of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons:
towards a society for all in the twenty-first century

Resolution adopted by the General Assembly
[on the report of the Third Committee (A/54/595)]

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   The General Assembly,

   Recalling its resolutions 37/52 of 3 December 1982, by which it adopted the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons, 48/96 [1] of 20 December 1993, by which it adopted the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, 49/153 of 23 December 1994, 50/144 of 21 December 1995 and 52/82 of 12 December 1997,

   Recalling also Economic and Social Council resolutions 1997/19, on equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities, and 1997/20, on children with disabilities, of 21 July 1997 and Commission on Human Rights resolution 1998/31, on the human rights of persons with disabilities, of 17 April 1998, [2]

   Recalling further the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirming the obligations contained in relevant human rights instruments, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women [3] and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, [4]

   Reaffirming the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits and their respective follow-up reviews, in particular as they pertain to the promotion of the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities,

   Noting with appreciation the important contributions of subregional, regional and international seminars and conferences related to persons with disabilities, such as the Fifth World Assembly of Disabled Peoples' International, held at Mexico City from 1 to 7 December 1998, on the theme "Towards an inclusive twenty-first century",

   Expressing grave concern that situations of armed conflict have especially devastating consequences for the human rights of persons with disabilities,

   Mindful of the need to adopt and implement effective policies and strategies to promote the rights and the full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in economic, social, cultural and political life, on the basis of equality, to achieve a society for all,

   Concerned that improvement of disability awareness and sensitivity to disability issues has not been significant enough to improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities worldwide,

   Recognizing the importance of timely and reliable data on disability-sensitive policies, programme planning and evaluation and the need for further development of practical statistical methodology for the collection and compilation of data on populations with disabilities,

   Realizing that technology, in particular information technology, provides new possibilities for improving accessibility and employment for persons with disabilities and facilitating their full participation and equality, and welcoming the initiatives of the United Nations in promoting information technology as a means of achieving the universal goal of a society for all,

   1. Takes note with appreciation of the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons; [5]

   2. Welcomes the initiatives of Governments to enhance the rights of persons with disabilities and for the further equalization of opportunities by, for and with persons with disabilities, and also welcomes the contribution of the United Nations system and non-governmental organizations, as appropriate, in this regard;

   3. Notes with appreciation the valuable work undertaken by the Special Rapporteur for monitoring the implementation of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities of the Commission for Social Development under his second mandate for the period 1997-2000;

   4. Encourages Governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector, as appropriate, to take concrete measures to promote the implementation of relevant United Nations resolutions and agreed international standards concerning persons with disabilities, in particular the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, and for the further equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities by focusing on accessibility, health, social services, including training and rehabilitation, safety nets, employment and sustainable livelihoods, in the design and implementation of strategies, policies and programmes to promote a more inclusive society;

   5. Calls upon Governments to undertake all necessary measures to advance beyond the adoption of national plans for people with disabilities through, inter alia, the creation or reinforcement of arrangements for the promotion and awareness of disability issues and the allocation of sufficient resources for the full implementation of existing plans and initiatives, and emphasizes the importance of supporting national efforts through international cooperation in this regard;

   6. Encourages Governments and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to take practical actions, including public information campaigns, by, for and with persons with disabilities, with a view to increasing disability awareness and sensitivity to disability issues and to combating and overcoming discrimination against persons with disabilities and in order to further their full and effective participation in society;

   7. Encourages Governments to continue their support to non-governmental organizations contributing to the fulfilment of the implementation of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons;

   8. Also encourages Governments to involve persons with disabilities in the formulation of strategies and plans aimed at eradicating poverty, promoting education and enhancing employment;

   9. Urges relevant bodies and organizations of the United Nations system, including relevant human rights treaty bodies and the regional commissions, as well as intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and institutions, to work closely with the programme on disability of the Division for Social Policy and Development of the Secretariat in the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities, including activities at the field level, by sharing experiences, findings and recommendations on persons with disabilities;

   10. Urges Governments to cooperate with the Statistics Division of the Secretariat in the continued development of global statistics and indicators on disability, and encourages them to avail themselves of the technical assistance of the Division to build national capacities for national data-collection systems, as needed;

   11. Also urges Governments, in collaboration with the United Nations system, to give special attention to the rights, needs and well-being of children with disabilities and their families in the development of policies and programmes;

   12. Encourages Governments, concerned non-governmental organizations and the private sector to continue to support the United Nations Voluntary Fund on Disability with a view to implementing fully the World Programme of Action and the Standard Rules, including the work of the Special Rapporteur, and to support activities to build national capacities, with emphasis on priorities identified in resolution 52/82;

   13. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to support initiatives of relevant bodies and organizations of the United Nations system, as well as those of regional, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and institutions, for the promotion of the human rights of persons with disabilities and the further implementation of the World Programme of Action and in their efforts to integrate persons with disabilities in technical cooperation activities, both as beneficiaries and as decision makers;

   14. Also requests the Secretary-General to include, in his assessments of the implementation of the outcome of major United Nations conferences and summits to be considered at the forthcoming special sessions of the General Assembly, the contribution of these meetings to the promotion of the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities;

   15. Expresses its appreciation to the Secretary-General for his efforts in improving the accessibility of the United Nations for persons with disabilities, and urges him to continue to implement plans to provide a barrier-free environment, as well as information in an accessible format and communication services;

   16. Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly at its fifty-sixth session, through the Commission for Social Development at its thirty-ninth session, a report on the implementation of the present resolution.

83rd plenary meeting
17 December 1999

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1 A/37/351/Add.1 and Corr.1, annex, sect. VIII, recommendation I (IV).

2 See Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1998, Supplement No. 3 (E/1998/23), chap. II, sect. A.

3 Resolution 34/180, annex.

4 Resolution 44/25, annex.

5 A/54/388 and Add.1.

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