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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

Part 4 of 8  PreviousBack to ContentsNext




The Meeting sought to identify strategies for enhancing the full enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities, in particular how international standards could be used at the national level. The Meeting also considered what measures could be taken at the international level to strengthen efforts to ensure that full realisation of the rights of persons with disabilities.

The Meeting identified various strategies by which effective protection of the human rights of persons with disabilities could be enhanced at the national level.

Two general strategies were identified: the elaboration of laws, policies and programmes that address specifically the position and entitlements of persons with disabilities, and the formulation of general laws, policies and programmes that are inclusive of disability issues and perspectives (similar to what has become known as 'mainstreaming' in the context of gender issues).

In relation to each of these substantive approaches the Meeting also noted the critical importance of inclusion of persons with disabilities and disability perspectives in the formulation and implementation of both specific and general laws, policies and programmes. This entailed the participation of representatives of disability groups and persons with disabilities in the elaboration of laws, policies and programmes specifically addressing disability issues. It also meant the full participation of persons with disabilities as policymakers within government, and the adoption of measures that ensured that disability groups were able to provide substantive input into the formulation of laws and policies, including those not specifically addressing disability.

Participants noted that, while international standards could provide useful guidance for action, not all action is taken in response to international law provisions but may arise out of local or national conditions and understandings of certain disability issues. Measures to advance the rights of persons with disabilities could be taken at many levels, and in many cases actions resulting from a "bottom up" approach might be more effective than those that embody a "top down" approach. Legislation or regulations developed at the grassroots or local level may significantly contribute to empowering or protecting persons with disabilities in their most immediate setting. While local initiatives may sometimes be undertaken independently, often such initiatives will be adopted in response to a requirement to comply with national laws, which are generally more directly linked to international law and norms and standards relating to disability. A village or municipal ordinance will frequently be of much greater direct benefit to local persons with disabilities than an international convention or other instrument, but may well have been required or stimulated directly or indirectly by such an international instrument or the development of international norms and standards.

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A. Legal Strategies - constitution-making as an occasion for intervention

The Meeting noted the opportunities that the revision of a nations constitution or the adoption of a new constitution offered for enhancing the protection of the human rights of persons with disabilities at the highest level of the national legal system. Rights guarantees can be most visibly entrenched by inclusion of rights guarantees in the constitution of a nation or jurisdiction.

The form of constitutional protection could vary: it could invoke the inclusion of a specific reference to discrimination on the ground of disability (including discrimination by private actors); guarantees of a right to all measures to enable the full exercise of rights by persons with disabilities; guarantees of full representation in the political process; statements of the principle of non-discrimination etc. as a programmatic goal or directive principle that should guide all organs of government for example, the Constitution of Canada.17

Opportunities for constitutional interventions were most likely to arise when a period of radical constitutional change occurred. However, the chance to include such guarantee also arose in other situations. For example, recent constitutional changes in the United Kingdom including the adoption of a Bill of Rights and the process of devolution of some powers to regional governments could provide an opportunity to entrench human rights provisions or indeed to make specific provision for persons with disabilities.

More typically, radical constitutional change occurs after revolution or in a time of major political transformation. In such times of significant political change, the pace and agenda for constitutional change will be determined by the political situation in the jurisdiction. Whether the changes are the result of a successful national liberation struggle or a response to external forces, they may provide the opportunity for the incorporation of international norms and standards within the local context.

Constitutional protection may take the form of general human rights guarantees in the constitution, or constitutional provisions explicitly guaranteeing the rights of persons with disabilities. Recent examples of the inclusion of general provisions were the constitutions of most of the members of the Commonwealth of Independent States. While these did not contain provisions explicitly protecting the rights of persons with disabilities, they did include chapters based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, thereby indirectly improving the position of persons with disabilities. Similar guarantees are also found in the constitutions of many other States, as the inclusion of general rights guarantees based on or similar in content to international or regional human rights catalogues had been a feature of nearly all States which have attained independence since 1945. An example of a constitutional provision that explicitly addresses the rights of persons with disabilities is the Constitution of Malawi18. Another example was section 9 of the 1996 Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, which guarantees the right of all citizens to freedom from discrimination on a number of social criteria, including disability.

However, the Meeting noted that constitutional guarantees alone may not be enough and that more detailed implementing legislation may be needed to bolster constitutional guarantees. Furthermore, it was important to pay full regard to the local context and to ensure that any constitutional provision was solidly based in community expectations and supported by appropriate implementing legislation or mechanisms. For example, in the Constitution of Malawi provisions specifically guaranteeing the rights of persons with disabilities were included19. However, these had yet to be underpinned by any legislation and in a recent constitutional review the only proposal in this area was to replace the existing phrase with the phrase 'persons with disabilities', a suggestion which, if adopted, was unlikely to have any immediate effect on the situation of persons with disabilities in Malawi.

The importance of supplementing constitutional guarantees by detailed legislation or national policy on disability was also underlined by the South African experience20, where the government, in an effort to further practical implementation of the constitutional provisions, issued a major consultation report as part of developing a national disability strategy (a similar exercise was also subsequently undertaken in neighbouring Botswana).

There were many other cases in which constitutional change was proceeding or being discussed (for example, Nigeria and Kenya) and which may give rise to opportunities for significant input. Where the initiation or likelihood of radical constitutional or significant political change is identified, assistance should be given to local disability groups to support their efforts to have the rights of persons with disabilities fully recognised a new or revised constitution. Apart from facilitating access to relevant expertise, this could include providing compendia of constitutional provisions, national laws relating to disability, and international standards in order to assist lobbying for the inclusion of constitutional provisions relating to disability. Intergovernmental bodies, such as the Commonwealth Secretariat, have considerable experience in assisting with constitution-making and can provide national decisions makers access to a wide range of comparative material.

Inclusion of representatives of disability groups in the process of constitution-making itself was of central importance. Constitutional commissions and constituent assemblies usually involve representation of vocational or interest groups (as well as democratically elected members), a factor, which provides an opportunity to include representation of disability groups. For example, in Uganda in 1994 this approach ensured the inclusion of a delegate with a disability to represent citizens with disabilities as a special interest group. The new constitution contained provisions guaranteeing protection against discrimination on the ground of disability and a stipulation that in the 1996 elections five seats in Parliament should be reserved for representatives of persons with disabilities. The 1996 legislature in turn enacted legislation to provide for representation of persons with disabilities at every level of local government and the appointment of a Minister with responsibility for the elderly and persons with disabilities. The former is estimated to have resulted in the election of 47,000 representatives with disabilities or some 0.5% of the registered electorate in Uganda.

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B. Legislative strategies

One important pillar of ensuring the rights of persons with disabilities was the enactment of laws at the national level. In some cases national laws may be enacted to implement or give effect to international law standards. In other cases, national laws may be initiated independently of any international obligation yet may be closely modelled on or give effect to international norms or standards relating to disability. Finally, national law may involve a local initiative or the modification or development of an existing norm or standard and, if validated, may in turn become accepted as a new norm or standard for emulation or adaptation by other jurisdictions.

Apart from the constitutional strategies referred to above, the Meeting identified a number of additional strategies that might be utilised:

(a) Laws guaranteeing full participation in the political process and fair representation in representative political institutions, the public service, judicial and administrative institutions, and private sector bodies;

(b) Anti-discrimination laws (similar to the "Americans with Disabilities Act" of the United States or the British, Australian, Canadian and Hong Kong legislation);

(c) Other specific disability-related legislation, such as social protection legislation in many countries in Latin America21;

(d) Laws providing adequate protection against arbitrary institutionalisation of persons with disabilities, access by them to independent legal advisers and readily available remedies for unlawful deprivation of liberty;

(e) Laws to regulate the activities of locally-based actors abroad, similar to those that had been used by some countries to prevent companies incorporated in their territory from offering bribes to foreign government officials abroad.

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C. Strategies in other areas

While legal strategies were important, there were many other strategies that needed to be adopted in order to advance the human rights of persons with disabilities. Among those identified by the Meeting were:

(a) Collection of reliable statistics in order to analyse needs and formulate responsive policies;

(b) Administrative monitoring measures such as the preparation of budget impact statements, which broke down spending according to contribution;

(c) Encouraging a concern with disability issues as part of the concept of good corporate citizenship (for instance the Equality Exchange of the United Kingdom in the field of sex discrimination was referred to);

(d) Developing, in consultation with business groups and disability groups, codes of conduct governing domestic and international activities;

(e) Incentive-based schemes, such as providing tax relief or subsidies;

(f) Grant levy schemes, such as in Germany, under which employers were required to employ a certain number of persons with disabilities or to pay a levy, the proceeds being used to fund disability policy initiatives in a wide range of fields;

(g) Providing financial and other support to national and local disability rights groups to ensure that they are in a position to participate fully and to make their views and needs known;

(h) Bringing disability rights groups and other human rights groups, including the ones focussing on human rights of women, together to focus on the issue of rights of persons with disabilities;

(i) Developing policies to ensure full access to education at all levels by persons with disabilities, including special scholarship schemes;

(j) Support, perhaps by acting as patron, of disability interests by the Head of State or first spouse or senior members of the Executive which can be of great significance particularly in the developing world, for example to stimulate or galvanize action at local level (the development of the Paralympics and the Special Olympics were advanced significantly by the support of interested Heads of State); and

(k) Nations may additionally honour and recognize persons with disabilities as achievers and role models.

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D. Strategies for using international standards at the national level

While there were many strategies, legal and others, for enhancing the human rights of persons with disabilities, these measures don't necessarily involve the use or invocation of international standards. However, the Meeting was particularly interested in identifying ways in which international standards might be invoked or utilised at the national level. The Meeting noted that the efficacy and practicability of invoking international standards will vary from country to country.

1. Invoking international standards in domestic law

Translation of international norms and standards into national law and then to ensure its implementation can be a slow and complex process, but it can also be of critical importance. States are the major, though not the only, actors in transforming international standards into domestic law through legislation, executive and administrative action and the courts, which are necessary to empower persons with disabilities to vindicate their rights. States Parties to international treaties on human rights are legally bound to implement the provisions contained in the conventions in their domestic jurisdiction. International law generally leaves it to States to decide on the type of legislative and other measures, consistent with their constitutional processes, necessary to give effect to the obligations they accept. However, international human rights law requires that States ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms are violated have an effective remedy before independent and impartial tribunals or under other national procedures. Even if adoption of national legislation does not always ensure that individuals have recourse against violations of rights contained in international human rights instruments, the general character of treaty provisions makes it advisable for these instruments to be implemented by specific detailed provisions in domestic law.

Four main methods are available to implement international legal instruments in domestic law (and there are many variants of these in different jurisdictions):

(a) The direct effect of international legal instruments and customary international law in the national legal order;

(b) Direct incorporation of rights recognised in the international instrument into a national bill of rights or in a national law;

(c) Enactment of detailed legislative measures to give effect to the rights recognised in international legal instruments;

(d) Indirect incorporation or use of norms as aids to interpret other norms or to develop new norms in the domestic legal order.

The course of the legislative process will differ according to the particular domestic legal systems. For instance, incorporation of international human rights principles and norms in national constitutions - or similar documents - remains the most important way of bringing national laws into conformity with international standards.

The application of international law by domestic courts also can play an important role in implementing international human rights norms applicable to persons with disabilities by means of compliance with relevant international standards and citing precedents in other jurisdiction.

2. Role of domestic courts

Domestic courts can play a major role in identifying, interpreting and developing international standards and norms in the field of disability as in other areas. The greater the extent to which international norms on disability are known in the community, the greater the likelihood that domestic courts will apply these norms. In addition to serving as fora for the promotion and protection of international human rights of persons with disabilities, national courts can also stimulate law reform and public discussion through their decisions.

The position of international law differs from one nation to another. In some jurisdictions, international law is not directly applicable in domestic courts. While it may be persuasive or educative, tribunals differ in their willingness to consider and rely on international standards. Nevertheless, experience has shown that there was frequently much to be gained by invoking international standards - including unincorporated treaties or non-binding instruments - before domestic courts.

The extensive discussion of these issues within Commonwealth jurisdictions which had been started by the Bangalore Judicial Colloquium in 1988 and followed up in other judicial colloquia since then showed the potential for drawing on international standards in domestic litigation even when the instruments in question had not been directed incorporated as part of domestic law.22

Participants in the Meeting noted that there were many examples of the successful invocation of international standards in domestic courts in recent years, though the record of courts was variable in applying those standards. Examples included:

(a) Filartiga v Pena-Irala [ 2nd Circuit 1980 ], in which the United States' Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit relied on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as customary international law and as an authoritative guide for identification and clarification of the human rights guaranteed to all persons under the Charter of the United Nations. This was developed in Lareau v Manson , 507 F. Supp. 1177, 1193 n.18 (D. Conn.1980 ), where a federal district court in Conneticut used the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners as "an authoritative international statement of basic norms of human dignity and of certain practices which are repugnant to the conscience of mankind" and also utilized both the Universal Declaration and the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as aids for interpretation of the Eight Amendment to the United States' Constitution. About the same time, a decision of the Supreme Court of Oregon addressed human rights norms as part of the treatment of prisoners (See: Sterling v. Cupp, 290 Or.611 (1981)).

(b) In Unity Dow [1991],LRC (Const) 574 (HCA), [1991] LRC (Const) 623 (CA) the Botswana Court of Appeal held that, as Botswana was signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and other international human rights conventions prohibiting discrimination against women, it was proper to interpret the constitutional guarantee of equality (which did not explicitly cover sex discrimination) as prohibiting laws which discriminated on the basis of sex. It concluded that provisions of the citizenship law that a mother could not transmit her Botswanan nationality to her child violated the equality guarantee and were therefore void.23

(c) In Gradidge v. Grace Bros Pty Ltd. (1988) 93 FLR 414, Justice Kirby, then President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal, relied on the right to an interpreter in article 14 (3) (f) of the ICCPR to uphold the right of a person who was deaf and mute to a sign language interpreter in court proceedings.

(d) However, in Japan in the Shiomi case, a woman with a disability unsuccessfully invoked the Declaration on Rights of Disabled Persons in relation to her application for a disability welfare pension. Her application was refused as she was an alien and thus did not qualify for the pension at the time the disability was determined as a matter of law. This was upheld by the Supreme Court 2 Mar 1989 35 Shomu Geppo 1754.24

It was noted that many civil jurisdictions are more receptive to international law. For example, Argentinian NGOs have successfully brought cases based on international law in various human rights fields, including economic and social rights.25

Strategies for implementation in the judicial arena would include:

(a) Litigation either affirmative in pursuit of damages and / or injunctions or defensive in protecting the rights of the persons with disabilities26;

(b) Obtaining advisory opinions and declaratory judgments;

(c) Gap-filling: the refinement of the content of domestic law with decisions on relevant issues;

(d) Litigation to stimulate action, educates, expose, politicize or sensitize the public to disability issues; and

(e) Encouragement of individual access to training and recruitment to the Bar and Bench for persons with disabilities.

Advocates General, Peoples' Defenders or similar have a significant role to play. In litigation involving those with low incomes there was a need to ensure that legal aid or other support was available.

Education of the judiciary in the form of judicial dialogue and education tailored to the individual civil or common law system is critically important. Some jurisdictions may resent or ignore educational initiatives by outside actors and the exchange of information, rather than the didactic function, should be stressed. International and regional law conferences have an important function here. The Meeting noted the work that had been done by the Commonwealth Secretariat in organising a series of judicial colloquia for Commonwealth judges on the application of international human rights law in domestic litigation.

It was also important to educate lawyers on the relevance of international standards and to encourage them to rely on these standards before the courts. Advocates may often need substantial assistance in framing arguments based on international standards. There was a need to incorporate such material in continuing legal education programmes (including judicial studies programmes) and to encourage cooperation between lawyers and experienced national and international NGOs.

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E. Legislatures

1. Legislative and Policy Strategies

Legislatures also have a role in implementing international law at the national level. Legislators can be mobilized to support disability issues and are well placed to in turn lobby their colleagues and the executive in support. It was important to ensure that persons with disabilities are represented as legislators. The involvement of legislators with disability groups serves as an effective link and should be greatly encouraged.

When legislation is initiated by the Executive, there is scope for the Legislature to amend such legislation before enactment. In doing so, provision can be made for persons with disabilities by ensuring that the legislation addresses their demands and needs. For example, building regulations should have specific requirements for the disabled inserted, provisions which would unlikely be included in a 'Disabled Persons Bill'. Lobbying by and through legislators is essential, and the existence of legislators with disabilities is a most obvious and powerful reminder to others without disability. Legislators may be more receptive to general legislation rather than laws specifically addressing disability issues. In Latin America the perception is that general laws are enforced but provisions specifically addressing disability and other human rights issues may well be ignored and remain unenforced.

2. Process: inclusion, representation and full participation

The Meeting sought to identify a range of strategies that could contribute to the effective national implementation of general human rights standards and disability-specific standards and to the development of effective national laws, policies and institutions conducive to the realisation of the human rights of persons with disabilities. The Meeting discussed issues of process, institutions, and substantive models for laws and policy.

Fundamental to the achievement of the goal of an inclusive society and the development of strategies that reflect the rights and needs of persons with disabilities is the question of process. Persons with disabilities must be full participants in the bodies and procedures by which both general laws and policies, as well as disability-specific ones, are formulated. This is essential for ensuring the responsiveness, legitimacy and effectiveness of such laws and policies, as well as reflecting the rights of persons with disabilities to full participation in the life of the community, including all forms of public decision-making.27

This means not only that persons with disabilities should be full participants in special committees, advisory bodies or other bodies concerned with drawing up laws and policies on disability issues, but that persons with disabilities should be fully represented in all institutions of public decision-making: the executive government at the political level, the bureaucracy, the legislature, independent statutory bodies, and the judiciary. The recent experience in Uganda, under which the representation of persons with disabilities had been achieved at all levels of the political process and representative institutions through inclusive electoral laws was seen as an instructive model.

3. Public institutions

The Meeting identified two basic strategies in relation to public institutional development. The first was the need to develop institutions within and outside the organs of government that had distinct disability-related mandates. Just as had been the case for the integration of womens' rights and needs into government decision-making, the establishment of national machinery within government with the status and resources to ensure that disability issues were taken seriously was seen as central. The establishment of a disability rights ombudsperson, or the incorporation of a specific mandate into the work of an existing human rights commission was another option. A second critical aspect was the need to ensure that disability issues are incorporated into all existing institutions and processes as a matter of course.

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F. Other bodies and institutions

1. Governmental

It was noted that there are many other institutions that have developed which do not fit easily in any of the classic divisions of government reviewed above. These have varying degrees of autonomy according to the system in which they exist and the basis of their incorporation. Being somewhat distanced from core government they may well be more accessible as alternate fora for the receipt and investigation of complaints and for bringing to bear social or moral suasion and thus stimulating action by Government.

These institutions include:

(a)  Ombudspersons and similar offices, including officials concerned with protection and promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities;

(b) Human rights or equal opportunity commissions or other advisory or regulatory commissions, which may have a general competence or specific compentence in relation to discrimination against persons with disabilities; and

(c) Public inquiries, which can investigate issues or incidents and develop policy/ law reform proposals.

2. Non-governmental and civil society institutions

(a) Religious structures: leaders can exert powerful influence to change social attitudes to persons with disabilities and can mobilize sectors of the population in efforts to ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities;

(b) Cultural and Tribal processes: Tribal leaders may be mobilize members swiftly and effectively in enhancing the enjoyment of rights by persons with disabilities: the involvement of the Kabaka of Uganda and other traditional leaders in Uganda promoting polio vaccination in 1997;

(c) Educational institutions: Universities and secondary schools are arenas were dissemination of information about disability issues should be undertaken;

(d) Political processes: for example, political parties are encouraged to develop a policy on disability issues;

(e) Employers: employers can adopt and encourage relevant and effective measures to accommodate and utilize talents of persons with disabilities by using international norms and standards relating to employment of persons with disabilities, in consultation with experts, organisations and research institutes;

(f) Other professional organisations: in particular architects and the medical profession are in key positions to make valuable input in developing practices and regulations and should be targeted for sensitization and promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities in their own professional areas.

(g) Media and cultural institutions: The media can make especially important contributions through appropriate presentation of progress and obstacles in implementing disability-sensitive policies, programmes and projects. Public awareness of the contributions of persons with disabilities to the arts and culture and to the social and economic well-being of society as a whole can be effectively promoted through the media. Cultural institutions also, through celebration in public fora of the artistic and cultural contributions of persons with disabilities to the societies in which they live, can change perceptions. Cultural institutions may convene exchanges and dialogues focussing on the rich and varied skills, interests and aspirations of person with disabilities in artistic and cultural realms.

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G. Strategies for implementation: challenges of globalisation and privatisation

The Meeting considered the role that multilateral development and aid agencies might play in advancing or thwarting the rights of persons with disabilities. It noted that globalisation has a significant impact on the rights of persons with disabilities. The Meeting recognised that poverty makes people more vulnerable to disability, and that disability reinforces and exacerbates poverty. Hitherto, little systematic effort seems to have been made to include promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities in the planning or implementation mainstream development projects.

Globalisation and the privatisation of industry, transportation, and public utilities present additional challenges to disability advocates. Many of the decisions that will determine the extent of inclusion or exclusion of person with disabilities from public and economic life, such as decisions relating to the construction of industrial and educational facilities and places of public accommodation, or the design and operation of transportation and telecommunications systems, fall increasingly under the control of private, corporate actors. Economic globalisation, and with it movement in developing nations towards modernisation of state and private institutions and systems, emphasize requirements of competitiveness at the expense of social services. This emphasis on competitiveness, with its accompanying hostility towards social welfare-related regulation, can be expected to result, if not counteracted in some way, in the exclusion of vulnerable populations from social and economic opportunity and advancement.

Many of the private actors driving these developments are multi-national corporations, which would be subject to regulation, including regulation relating to accessibility, in their countries of incorporation. Finding ways to ensure compliance by these international actors with international norms and standards relating to disability and to have appropriate regard to social welfare concerns is of critical importance.

The Meeting recognized that globalisation may have positive effects on the advancement and interests of persons with disabilities. The United Nations, along with other multilateral organisations, should be encouraged to implement such programs and initiatives as will capitalize on the opportunities that globalisation presents. For example, advances in telecommunications and international travel have facilitated the development of ties and working relationships between disability advocacy groups in various parts of the world. This developing trend should be strengthened by international organisations, mulitlateral aid agencies and non-governmental organisations, including multilateral human rights organisations.

65. While it was beyond the scope of the Meeting to spell out in detail how the interests of persons with disabilities could be better served in connection with processes of globalisation, privatisation, and projects funded by multilateral assistance and international financial institutions, such as United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank, the Meeting made the following recommendations:

(a)  multilateral development agencies should encourage States to adopt special policies and legislation that promote the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of social, cultural, and economic life;

(b) multilateral development agencies should develop and promote minimum standards relating to accessibility and related disability rights issues in connection with the projects they sponsor and fund;

(c) the United Nations should commission an in-depth study of the effects of globalisation and privatisation on persons with disabilities in various regions of the world;

(d) the United Nations and other multilateral agencies should encourage and help facilitate the development of working relationships between disability community advocate groups in different countries, utilizing the networks and partnerships they have worldwide, thereby encouraging the development of transnational strategies to respond to the problems we here identify; and

disability advocacy groups in countries/regions affected by the operation of transnational groups should explore such strategies as the filing of litigation against transnational corporations operating in their countries to enforce the extraterritoriality provisions of disability law in those corporations’ home countries.

For example, section 102 of the Americans with Disabilities Act provides for extraterritorial application of the employment provisions of the A.D.A. in certain circumstances. That section has not yet been definitively interpreted by United States courts. Such suits, whether or not ultimately effective, could serve important politicizing and educative functions in countries where American transnational corporations operate.

The Meeting expressed its concern about the potential negative effects of free trade agreements, in particular multilateral agreements on investments, which could limit the ability of governments to legislate in relation to the rights of persons with disabilities. Specific examples of the issues involved include:

(a) the effects that privatisation of health systems may have on the enjoyment of the right to health care;

(b) the concern that the drive towards free movement of capital which seeks low taxation and low production costs will drive down wages and increase unemployment; and

(c) the impact on social security and pension system.

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17 Part 1, Article 15 of the Constitution Act 1982

18 Adopted in 1994 by the National Consultative Council (NCC)

19 Article 13, (g)

20 e.g.: Section 9 (3) of the Constitution of South Africa, 1997

21 See:

22 For the text of the Bangalore principles, see Commonwealth Secretariat and Interights, Developing Human Rights Jurisprudence: Conclusions of Judicial Colloquia and other meetings on the Domestic Application of international Human Rights Norms and on Government under the Law 1988-92 (London, Commonwealth Secretariat, 1992)

23 See generally Andrew Byrnes, Jane Connors and Lum Bik (eds), Advancing the human Rights of Women: Using International Human Rights Standards in Domestic Litigation (Commonwealth Secretariat, 1997)

24 See Yuji Iwasawa, International Law, Human Rights and Japanese Law (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1998), 39

25 See generally Martin Abregu and Christian Courtis, La aplicación de los tratados sobre derechos humanos por los tribunales locales (Buenos Aires, UNDP and Editores del Puerto, 2nd edition 1998

26 Litigation by people with disabilities could be specially effective in order to gain support by media and the general public

27 See "Strategies to Enhance Social Protection and Reduce Vulnerability", Inter-American Children's Institute, Montevideo 1998

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