Back to: Third Session of the Ad Hoc Committee
Daily summary of discussions
summary of discussions related to Article 2
UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities
Third session of the Ad Hoc Committee - Daily Summary
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Volume 4, #1
May 24, 2004
Commenced: 10:28 AM
Adjourned: 12:56 PM
Ireland, speaking for the EU, expressed general agreement
with Article 2, but suggested new wording for (c). In place of “full
inclusion of persons with disabilities as equal citizens and participants
in all aspects of life”; the EU’s suggested wording is “full and effective
participation and inclusion in society on an equal basis for PWD.” EU
also proposed a new paragraph 2 (bis) based on CRC, Article 4. 2 (bis)
wording: “States parties shall undertake all appropriate legislative,
administrative and other means for the implementation of the present
Convention. With regard to economic, social, and cultural rights, States
parties shall undertake such measures to maximum extent of their available
resources and where needed within the framework of international cooperation.”
This would reflect the conviction that while parts of the Convention
may need to be implemented progressively, much of this Convention should
not be progressive, for example, non-discrimination.
Mali suggested a new paragraph (f) to make reference
to international cooperation. It is a fundamental principle of this
Convention, and includes both north-to-south cooperation and south-to-south
Japan agreed in principle with the EU. In order to
make clear the differentiations among paragraphs, the first sentence
of Article 2 should be changed to: “In their actions to achieve the
objective of the Convention and to implement its provisions, the parties
shall be guided inter alia by the following fundamental principles:”
Sierra Leone expressed acceptance of the original
wording. The EU proposal for 2 (bis) should be under obligations, Article
4. Principles are different from obligations.
Canada supported Korea’s idea of equality of men and
women. It suggested adding a new paragraph entitled “Equality between
men and women.”
Kenya advocated including the indivisibility and interdependence
of human rights in Article 2 as well as affirmative action to correct
the disadvantages which continually happen to PWD.
Sudan agreed with Sierra Leone that the EU's proposed
2 (bis) should be addressed in obligations, not principles. It also
agreed with Mali that international cooperation should be placed under
general principles. International cooperation would be one of the most
serious, difficult, and important topics addressed by the Committee.
Ireland replied to Sierra Leone and Sudan regarding
the EU’s position on 2 (bis). It wants 2 (bis) under this article or
as a new article. It does not want it under “general obligations” because
the whole Convention creates general obligations on States. The practice
in international human rights instruments is not to have titles on the
Articles. The EU has made large changes to Article 4 which will be discussed
when Article 4 is discussed. It commented that although it supported
equality for men and women, it is against putting this in Article 2.
This may be better placed in the Preamble.
India supported putting 2 (bis) under this article
or separate article because it is based on the principle of best endeavor
and progressive realization. It called for the additional recognition
that “special attention will be paid to the situation of persons with
severe and intellectual and multiple disabilities” and “the social model
would be preferred over medical model.”
Jordan stated that general principles should be precise.
It suggested several one word phrases such as acceptance, cooperation,
self determination, equality, and empowerment. This Article needs to
have positive statements.
Mexico supported the new wording of (c) by the EU
and agreed that 2 (bis) is relevant, but should be in Article 4, general
obligations. It also supported inclusion of equality between men and
women or a gender perspective. It proposed an amendment to paragraph
(d), adding human dignity instead of diversity. This paragraph would
now read: “respect for difference and acceptance of disability as part
of human diversity and humanity.”
Costa Rica agreed that gender is important so the
Convention should include it either in general principles or preamble.
It also supported the new words of 2(c), emphasizing that participation
and inclusion are important. It supported 2 (bis), but not in this article.
In 2(a), it proposed instead of “independence of persons,” the phrase
“independent life of persons.” Independent living is a known term, and
while no one is independent, under certain conditions a person can enjoy
an independent life. In addition, Costa Rica suggested adding “personal
development at all stages of life” because such language would be less
likely “to infantilize” PWD.
South Africa supported the original wording with the
five items and all additional proposed items. It proposed adding a new
paragraph on accessibility. Accessibility and universal design (Article
19) are essential to the Convention and will help States shift paradigms.
It supported Mexico’s amendment changing humanity to human dignity.
It also supported the EU proposal 2 (bis), but urged moving it to general
Eritrea supported addressing international cooperation
in another part of the Convention.
Japan suggested a new paragraph for Article 2, addressing
the realization of barrier-free environments. This will add a social
dimension to the Convention.
Russian Federation stated that the first part of the
EU proposal, 2 (bis), is redundant because once signed, States must
take all appropriate action to implement the Convention. In addition,
a paragraph about the equality between men and women was also superfluous,
because it is already covered by the general prohibition against discrimination.
Norway affirmed that gender equality is an important
concept to include in the Convention, although its exact placement is
yet to be determined.
Liechtenstein asked what is meant by general principles,
and offered the response that these are principles which would be helpful
in the interpretation and the application of the specific articles of
the Convention. The Principles should be relevant and applicable to
all substantive Articles, and their language should be tested against
the Articles. They should not be purposes.
Thailand would like to include self-determination
in the general principles. It is articulated in several national laws.
It supported the EU amendment (c), but would add at the end “in all
aspects of life.” It supported the content of 2 (bis). It suggested
a new paragraph “disability-inclusive international cooperation."
This is not new international cooperation, but that disability is included
in all international cooperation. Access and universal design should
be another general principle even though it is separate Article.
India proposed affirming the social model in the general
principles; this includes accessibility, barrier-free environments,
and redressing any circumstance which prevents a person from participating
in society and living in dignity. It suggested adding to Article 2 that
the social model will be preferred over the medical model and that affirmative
action can used to address inequality or disadvantage.
Next the floor was opened for comments from NGOs.
Association of Community Legal Centers supported the
text as currently drafted with this addition: “(f) protection from exploitation,
violence, victimization, abuse, harassment, and neglect, and (g) the
right of survival and to realize full potential.” PWD are subject to
increased risk of abuse, especially women, children, and people with
multiple disabilities. The lives of PWD are valued less and therefore
fewer medical and social interventions are given to PWD. PWD must be
given the protection and resources to realize their full potential.
National Human Rights Institutions suggested adding
in 2(a) “respect for human” before the word “dignity.” In 2(b). It suggested
adding non-sexism to non-discrimination. It urged that 2(e) should read
“equality of opportunities,” instead of “equality of opportunity.” It
supported access and universal design and suggested adding the principle
of reasonable accommodation. All human rights are indivisible, interdependent
International Disability Convention Solidarity in
Korea suggested adding self representation to general principles. No
one should speak for PWD; PWD should speak for themselves.
World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry
(WNUSP) and the World Blind Union (WBU) suggested an addition to 2(a):
“dignity, individual autonomy, including the freedom to make one’s own
choices through individual self-determination, and independence of persons.”
Commenced: 3:06 pm
Adjourned: 6 pm
ARTICLE 2: GENERAL PRINCIPLES (CONT)
No other delegates wished to intervene on Article 2. Inclusion International
(II) and World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (WNUSP)
expressed the view that it was not appropriate to single out one or
two disabilities, or create negative labeling by focusing on the severity
Volume 4, #9
June 4, 2004
Commenced: 10:17 AM
Recessed for informals: 10:48 AM
Reconvened: 11:15 AM
Adjourned: 12:55 PM
Procedural issues regarding the negotiating text for these last 2 sessions
were discussed at length. The Committee reached consensus to proceed
with the postponed reading of the Preamble of the WG draft text, instead
of Articles 1 and 2 of the “Non-paper” titled Consolidation of proposals
for Articles 1 and 2 of the Draft Text of the WG of the AHC (henceforth:
The Chair drew the attention of the Committee to Article
1, Purpose, of the Consolidated Text, and the Proposed Modifications
to the WG Text from which the Consolidated Text had been formulated
by a technical group. The Chair presented the Committee with 2 options:
to send the Consolidated Text to their home capitals for review, or
to proceed with comments on this Text at this time.
Ireland, on behalf of the European Union (EU) noted
while the Consolidated Text will be reviewed carefully by the EU, it
had some preliminary reactions to this. It reiterated its preference
for retaining the language in the WG draft text, because to “ensure,”
is stronger than to “promote, protect and fulfill” the full and equal
enjoyment of all human rights. Furthermore, grammatically, the “enjoyment”
of rights cannot be “fulfilled.”
South Africa, on behalf of Africa Group, called for
the consideration of items which were deferred until the next AHC meeting,
such as the Preamble, Monitoring, or structure. It needed to consult
its capital “before it can endorse a new process”. In taking this position
it highlighted the Group’s firm support for this Convention process
since its inception, when there was less consensus from other states.
Ireland (EU) took the position that the previous day's
decision to conclude this third session of the AHC with discussion of
Article 1 and 2 of the Consolidated Text should be followed. It is important
to take the negotiation process beyond what had already been achieved
in this first reading so as to make progress. The Committee had decided
to defer consideration of the Preamble and Monitoring topics until the
August AHC. It is inappropriate and counterproductive to change yesterday’s
Sierra Leone supported South Africa's proposal, without
prejudice to any other decisions made, because it views the Preamble
as vital. The AHC should at this stage take comments and amendments
on the Preamble, complete this, and proceed with a second reading in
Israel supported South Africa’s proposal and favored
proceeding with the remainder of the Draft Text of the WG, especially
Monitoring, the most important part of the Convention. It requests reconsideration
of yesterday’s decision to create momentum to advance this Convention.
Japan requested the Chair confer with the Bureau and
come to a decision, in order to avoid wasting time in the Committee
discussing procedural issues.
Mexico stated that yesterday’s decision to defer six
major clusters (title, structure, preamble, definitions, monitoring
mechanism, and final clauses) was not objected to by any delegation.
It is not prepared to discuss these issues since they were deferred.
Yesterday’s sole issue was whether today’s meeting would be open or
closed to NGOs. No one questioned the Chair’s proposal to begin negotiations
of Article 1 and 2. It does not support suspension of the meeting so
that the Bureau may meet yet again. The decision has been made to discuss
Article 1 and 2. It was now up to the Chair.
Russian Federation supported South Africa’s proposal
because States must take the first reading back to their capitals to
Burkina Faso supported South Africa because the AHC
decided, on the first day, to return later to the preamble, monitoring
Syria also supported South Africa because it has received
no direction from its capital about the Articles already discussed.
Jordan believed it was important to discuss Articles
1 and 2 as practice for next session as had been decided yesterday.
Some delegations have left. It inquired as to why States wanted input
from their capitals at this point because everything must be taken back.
Discussing procedural issues was taking up valuable time.
China favored a discussion of Articles 1 and 2 at
this session but expressed sympathy for South Africa’s proposal. The
text is new to many delegations. It hoped the Chair would consult the
Bureau to make future work go smoothly.
India agreed with South Africa’s proposal because
it believes it would be difficult to return to Articles 1 and 2 without
discussing all of the Convention first, including monitoring which is
key to implementation. It also needs to take the Proposed Modifications
back to its government before a second reading.
Yemen pointed out that it would take more time than
the AHC now has to discuss all the deferred issues. It is ready to take
part in any discussions, but some delegations have left so a full input
from the Committee would not be possible.
Eritrea supported South Africa and called on the AHC
to use its time fruitfully and end on a positive note.
Zambia also supported South Africa's proposal.
The Chair recessed to convene a meeting of the Bureau
aimed at reconciling these 2 views. Based on the majority support for
South Africa's proposal, the Bureau requested that the Committee rescind
yesterday’s decision to postpone the Preamble discussion, and join in
a consensus so that today’s work could move forward.
Mexico supported the Chair’s original decision and
will support today’s new decision. However, it expressed frustration
with the change in direction and the lack of consensus. It noted that
it could not participate meaningfully in today’s discussion due to lack
of notice and preparation.
Cuba supported the Chair’s proposal to move forward.
It also requested cessation of procedural discussions and future procedural
clarity to avoid waste of time and financial resources. It stressed
the importance of finalizing the work in the time allotted.
Yemen supported any decision made by the Chair. However,
discussing the Preamble today would not be efficient and, because many
delegations have left or have not had time to prepare, it would prevent
full participation on an important part of the Convention.
Israel supported continuing work on the Preamble as
proposed by the Chair, which might be difficult but would move the work
South Africa concurred that it was important to move
the work forward. It stated: “The African Group has no other agenda
except to ensure that finally PWD can enjoy their full human rights.”
EU expressed concern about the lengthy procedural
discussion, and the fact that some delegations have left when the AHC
was still continuing its work. It agreed to work on the Preamble in
the interest of progress, but expressed a preference for discussing
Articles 1 and 2 as agreed in the last session. It still insists that
NGOs be allowed to participate in discussions about Articles 1 and 2
and other matters.
Costa Rica supported the Chair, but expressed deep
concern about the decision. While ready to discuss the Preamble, Costa
Rica had concerns that reversing yesterday’s decision sets a precedent
of making exceptions to the rule on a procedural matter.