Final report of the Special Rapporteur of the
Final 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
A. Human rights and disability
In accordance with the purpose of the monitoring - to further the effective implementation of the Rules - the Special Rapporteur has endeavoured to use all available opportunities to present the Rules, their background, message and function. During the 30 months since he began monitoring in August 1994, he has had discussions with 20 individual Governments, of which 15 were of developing countries or countries in transition. On all those occasions he has also involved the national organizations of disabled people. He has participated in about 35 international conferences and has held meetings with all the major United Nations agencies with responsibilities in the disability field. During the entire monitoring exercise he has had extensive correspondence and communication with numerous individuals, who in different ways have been involved in the monitoring task.
Meetings with individual Governments have been initiated mainly in two ways. In many cases the Special Rapporteur has been invited directly by Governments interested in discussing various aspects of the implementation of the Rules. In some cases the Special Rapporteur has suggested to Governments that a meeting should be held, as he was attending a conference in the country or in a neighbouring one.
The character of the talks has varied, owing to the situation in the particular country. In some cases Governments wished to present their new initiatives in the disability field to the Special Rapporteur and discuss various aspects of implementation (Japan, China, Mexico, India). Other visits have been made to countries in transition, where Governments wished to discuss how the disability issue could be integrated into the reconstruction or reorientation of governmental policy (South Africa, the Palestinian Authority, Estonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Czech Republic).
In some cases the Special Rapporteur's visit has resulted in written recommendations for future measures (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Czech Republic).
During all these visits, the Special Rapporteur has established contacts with existing organizations of disabled people and tried to involve other organizations and agencies in the disability field. The representatives of organizations of disabled persons have, in some cases, been invited by their Governments to participate in his deliberations with various ministries. The general impression of the Special Rapporteur is that his visits have often vitalized the dialogue between Governments and organizations. In some cases he has been able to suggest new initiatives to the organizations. In a few cases he has functioned as a mediator, suggesting a compromise. Such mediation has often concerned the establishment of a coordinating council, the composition and function of such a body.
In view of the great importance of the non-governmental organizations in the disability field in advocating the implementation of the Standard Rules, the Special Rapporteur has given high priority to his participation in major events organized by such organizations. In fact, he has attended almost all world congresses and assemblies arranged by the six organizations constituting the panel of experts. He has also attended numerous other international conferences. Some of those conferences have been jointly organized by Governments, specialized agencies and non-governmental organizations. A very useful type of conference for promoting the implementation of the Standard Rules has been the regional conference, with the participation of Governments and organizations. One such regional conference, held at Abidjan was of particular interest, as it was organized jointly by the three specialized agencies, ILO, UNESCO and WHO, in collaboration with UNDP. Participants came from Governments, organizations and the agencies referred to.
The participation of the Special Rapporteur has usually consisted in a general presentation of the Standard Rules, often followed by a workshop or a seminar where various aspects of the implementation work have been discussed. Through his participation at so many international meetings, the Special Rapporteur has reached numerous persons with different functions from a large number of countries with his message. At some of the world congresses organized by the international non-governmental organizations, more than 100 countries have been represented. Finally, he has also been invited to speak at universities, county councils, research seminars and seminars on development cooperation.
The correspondence in connection with the Special Rapporteur's various activities has been extensive. He has been asked to send written statements, which have been used in various texts. He has written a number of articles for magazines for the international non-governmental organizations, WHO and the European Union. He has provided advice concerning various implementation aspects, and in some cases people have raised individual issues with him. Owing to the extensive network of contacts he has developed during the monitoring task, the Special Rapporteur has often handled requests for speakers on the Standard Rules for various meetings and conferences.