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Documents of the Second Session
Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral
International Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and
Dignity of Persons with Disabilities
New York, 16-27 June 2003
I am sending herewith the text of the Declaration of Quito (see annex), to be circulated during the second session of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities.
(Signed) Luis Gallegos
Annex to the letter dated 23 May 2003 from the Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities
[Original: Spanish and English]
11 April 2003
The participants nominated by the Governments of the Hemisphere, gathered in Quito, Ecuador, from 9 to 11 April 2003, for the occasion of the Regional Seminar and Workshop of the Americas, exchanged views, information and experience on existing norms and standards related to the rights of persons with disabilities and development, and on the basis of their deliberations, declared the following:
The representatives recognize that the challenges faced by persons with disabilities are generally of a structural nature, which requires actions by States to prevent their exclusion, and to promote their full participation in all aspects of political, economic, social, and cultural life on an equal footing.
They also express their concern at the disadvantageous situation of most persons with disabilities, whose human rights are frequently violated by discriminatory practices, lack of participation in decision-making and abuse stemming from prejudice and stereotypes.
They recognize the urgency of renewing efforts and undertaking a global commitment to ensure that all persons with disabilities fully enjoy all their rights. Accordingly, they deem as a significant achievement the adoption by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 2001, of resolution 56/168 on a comprehensive and integral international convention to promote and protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities, in response to the legitimate demands of individuals and non-governmental organizations that have raised their voices on behalf of more than 600 million persons with disabilities around the world, the majority of whom live in a situation of poverty, and the aspiration of all countries to achieve both universal awareness and better living conditions.
They support the drafting of an international convention, based on internationally recognized rights and principles, that reflects the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of all human rights and the principle of non-discrimination and consider the experiences, norms and standards related to social development as key elements of this convention.
They reiterate that it is precisely within the context of promoting the rights of persons with disabilities and identifying the best mechanisms to ensure the exercise thereof, that each State, acting within the framework of its sovereign competence and taking into account its own level of development, should adopt measures required to guarantee the access of persons with disabilities to a better quality of life in all countries.
The participants nominated by the Governments express their deep concern at the fact that 80 per cent of persons with disabilities in the world live in developing countries, and they recognize the need for the convention to promote international cooperation measures, in order to significantly improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities in those regions where they are even further marginalized.
They reaffirm their conviction that the concerns, contributions and experiences of those actors who will be its main beneficiaries should be taken into account in the development of a legal instrument of this nature. In this connection, they welcome the adoption of General Assembly resolution 56/510, which provides for the broadest possible participation by non-governmental organizations, particularly organizations of persons with disabilities, in the work of the Ad Hoc Committee in charge of drafting the convention, and they reaffirm the importance of ensuring that the drafting process continues to be inclusive.
They stress the need for the Ad Hoc Committee, during its second session to be held in New York from 16 to 27 June 2003, to devote itself to considering all proposals for a draft convention that may have been submitted to it as of that date, including the text proposed by Mexico, and the suggestions on that text formulated by Venezuela and Ecuador.
They reiterate the relevance of the input that the Committee will receive from the regional meetings held in Thailand, Lebanon, South Africa and Belgium, expert meetings and numerous contributions from Governments, intergovernmental organizations, specialized agencies, and non-governmental organizations, and, in particular, the outcome of this important meeting.
The representatives of the Hemisphere declare the commitment of their Governments to participate actively and constructively in this significant negotiation process, and they express their intention to finalize and adopt an international convention within a reasonable period of time.
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* While supporting selected elements of the Declaration, the United States of America and Canada cannot join the consensus on this document, as their Governments are currently reviewing and formulating positions on these issues.
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