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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality

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

8 of 9 previousHomenext


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. Background
B. The monitoring mechanism
C. Meetings of the panel of experts
D. Guidelines issued by the Commission for Social Development


A. Human rights and disability
B. Disability statistics programme of the Statistical Division of the Department for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis
C. United Nations Children's Fund
D. International Labour Organization
E. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
F. World Health Organization



A. Promoting implementation of the Standard Rules

1. Meetings with Governments
2. Conferences
3. Correspondence and communications

B. Surveying progress

1. First survey
2. Second survey
(a) General policy
(b) Legislation: rule 15
(c) Accessibility: rule 5
(d) Organizations of persons with disabilities:
rule 18

(e) Coordination of work: rule 17

C. Related surveys - education: rule 6

1. Legal regulation of the right to special education
2. Parents' role
3. Education forms and the issue of integration
4. Special education legislation

D. Related survey - employment: rule 7

1. Summary of rule 7
2. ILO Convention No. 159



D. Related survey - employment: rule 7

1. Summary of rule 7

One of the most important fields for action in disability policy concerns the creation of equal job opportunities. Without success in that area, it will not be possible to achieve the overall goal of full participation. The essence of rule 7 on employment is that persons with disabilities should be empowered to exercise their right to gainful employment, and that it is the responsibility of States to remove all remaining obstacles to employment. The aim should always be for persons with disabilities to obtain employment in the open labour market. For persons with disabilities whose needs cannot be met in open employment, small units of sheltered or supported employment may be an alternative.

The following quotations further illustrate the contents of rule 7:

(a) "Laws and regulations in the employment field must not discriminate against persons with disabilities and must not raise obstacles to their employment" (para. 1);

(b) "States should actively support the integration of persons with disabilities into open employment" (para. 2);

(c) "States, workers' organizations and employers should cooperate with organizations of persons with disabilities concerning all measures to create training and employment opportunities ..." (para. 9).

The text also contains several examples of various technical measures that could be taken by Governments in order to achieve those objectives.

Equal opportunities and the integration of disabled persons into the community are also the objectives of Convention No. 159, adopted by ILO in 1983, which is in conformity with the provisions of rule 7 on employment in the Standard Rules. In fact, rule 7 was formulated on the basis of that Convention.

2. ILO Convention No. 159

121. Convention No. 159 provides for vocational rehabilitation measures for all categories of disabled persons and for promotion of employment opportunities and equal treatment of disabled men and women. The Convention also requires that member countries, when formulating and implementing policies, should consult organizations of disabled persons.

When the survey was made at the beginning of 1996, 54 countries had ratified the Convention.

The distribution of those countries is as follows:

(a) Industrialized countries - 14;

(b) Countries in the Middle East and North Africa - 5;

(c) Countries in transition - 11;

(d) Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean region - 13;

(e) Countries in sub-Saharan Africa - 8;

(f) Countries in South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific - 3.

In accordance with article 22 of the ILO Constitution ratifying member States must submit an annual report to the International Labour Office. In the report member States must give information about all the measures taken for the purpose of giving effect to the Convention.

A Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations is appointed by the Governing Body of ILO. The Committee's main task consists of examining the reports submitted by Governments. ILO may write to Governments and request them to provide additional information.

In order to assist the Special Rapporteur in monitoring rule 7 on employment, ILO made country reports and communications between Governments and the Committee of Experts available for his analysis. He has studied six articles of the Convention that are close to the contents of rule 7 on employment. Following are a few general observations concerning the compliance by ratifying countries with requirements under some of the articles:

(a) Eleven of the 54 countries have not yet supplied any Government report;

(b) Eleven countries, mainly industrialized countries, have given effect to the Convention through various measures based on legislation. In those countries the Convention is considered by the ILO to be applied in its entirety;

(c) In seven countries measures concerning consultations and cooperation with representative organizations of disabled persons have not been ensured;

(d) In three countries there are no measures to enable disabled persons to gain and maintain employment;

(e) In 10 countries measures concerning vocational rehabilitation and employment services in rural areas and remote communities have not been ensured;

(f) In eight countries measures to provide qualified vocational rehabilitation staff have not yet been taken;

(g) In 16 countries the legislation is insufficient to guarantee full application of the Convention, or the Convention is deemed to be applied to a very limited extent. In one country the Convention is deemed not to be applied. In one country the information supplied is insufficient to assess the compliance of national policy and practice with the requirements of the Convention. In one country the existing legislation is insufficient to serve as a framework for national policy.

To summarize, the measures that are least implemented concern vocational rehabilitation in rural areas, cooperation with organizations of persons with disabilities and availability of qualified staff. That implies that a considerable number of disabled persons do not receive appropriate training. The role played by organizations of persons with disabilities in representing their groups in an advisory capacity has not yet been recognized in many countries. The lack of training of staff in vocational rehabilitation is a serious shortcoming in many countries, which leads to lower quality in training programmes.

The measure that is implemented in almost every country concerns anti-discrimination provisions in the employment field, that is, the same principles should apply to the treatment of disabled workers and of workers generally.

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