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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality

Expert Group Meeting on
International Norms and Standards
relating to Disability

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INTRODUCTION

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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United Nations, 2003-04
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Division for Social Policy and Development