Expert Group Meeting on
International Norms and Standards
relating to Disability
Part 1 of 8
A consultative Expert Group Meeting on International Norms and Standards relating to
Disability was convened by the United Nations in cooperation with Boalt Hall School of
Law, University of California at Berkeley and the World Institute on Disability (Oakland,
California USA) at Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California at Berkeley from
8-12 December 1998. This report presents the findings of the Meeting.
Fifteen experts in international law and disability policy issues attended the Meeting,
in their individual capacity. The list of participants is attached as an annex. The United
Nations Voluntary Fund on Disability co-financed the Meeting. Meeting participants elected
the following officers: Professor Andrew Byrnes of University of Hong Kong and Dr. Marcia
Rioux of the Roeher Institute, Canada, as Chairperson and Rapporteur respectively;
Professor Alison Dundes Renteln of University of Southern California and Dr. Ana Maria de
Frappola of the Inter-American Unit on Childhood, Families and Disabilities of the
Organisation of American States, as Secretaries of the Meeting.
The Meeting set out to review and discuss issues and trends relating to the practical
application of international norms and standards to promote the human rights of persons
with disabilities, and to offer findings and recommendations on the following:
- ways of increasing understanding of international norms and standards relating to
disability in relation to domestic law and policies;
- promoting their application in the domestic contexts; and
- appropriate legislative frameworks to promote relevant application of international
norms and standards, including formulation of model national legislation.
Findings of the Meeting were discussed in the public forum held on 11 December 1998,
co-organized by the World Institute on Disability, a non-governmental organization based
in Oakland, California and Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California at Berkeley.
The forum was attended by disability rights advocates from major non-governmental
organizations based in the San Francisco Bay Area, legal practitioners, the academic
community as well as members of United Nations Association of the United States. This
public Forum discussed application of international norms and standards in country and
project-specific situations, as well as broader issues of disability law and policy. The
recommendations that emerged in the course of those discussions have been incorporated
into the recommendations adopted by the Meeting. The Meeting particularly welcomed the
occasion of the forum, as well as the presence of representatives of disability groups
during the course of the Meeting, as participants were concerned with the inadequate
representation of persons with disabilities at the Meeting, and recommended that future
meetings of this sort should have such representation.
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