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Back to: Third Session of the Ad Hoc Committee
Daily summary of discussions

Daily summary of discussions related to Article 24

UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities
Third session of the Ad Hoc Committee - Daily Summary
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Volume 4, #7
June 2, 2004

Afternoon Session
Commenced: 3:20 PM
Adjourned: 5:57 PM

Ireland, on behalf of the European Union (EU) suggested amending the chapeau by replacing “and shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities” with “and shall promote appropriate measures for persons with disabilities to,” because the original text goes beyond the powers of States to deliver. The Convention should deal with the universality of PWD, so 24.3 should be deleted because it singles out a particular disability group. In 24.4, to avoid appearing to create new rights, the chapeau should be revised to read as follows: “With a view to enabling persons with disabilities to participate on an equal basis as others in recreational, leisure and sporting activities, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to” in order to indicate the purpose of State measures. Because instruction, training and support are provided by sporting organizations on a voluntary basis, not by States, 24.4(b) should be revised to read: “ensure that persons with disabilities have an opportunity to organize and participate in sporting activities and encourage the provision of appropriate instruction, training and support." Finally, both 24.4(c), which is covered in Article 19, and 24.4(d), which is covered by the EU's revised 24.4(b), should be deleted.

Yemen proposed splitting Article 24 into two articles -- one, Article 24, "Participation in cultural life, including intellectual, civilization and history, which would end after 24.3; and another, Article 24(bis), "Participation in recreation and sport activities," drawing on the text in 24.4. In 24.1(b), “free” should be added before “multimedia formats.” In 24.1(c), the words “international and regional" should be added before "television."

Mexico proposed a title change with the addition of “physical culture” between “leisure” and “and sport.” In 24.1(a) the words “and express” should be inserted following “utilize.” In 24.1(d), “hospitality” should be replaced by “hotel,” and the words “and services” should be inserted after “industry.” In the 24.4 chapeau the words “on an equal basis with others,” should be replaced by “in conditions of equity with other persons." In 24.4(a), “sporting activities" should be deleted and, after "leisure" should be inserted the words “activities, physical culture and sports." In 24.4(b), the phrases “the same” and “that is available to other participants" should be deleted, and “in conditions of equity with other participants" should be inserted after "support." In 24.4(c), Mexico suggested inserting “all” before “PWD,” and “to participate in sporting activities in conditions of equity within the education system, including children with disabilities” following “venues.” It suggested deleting “and that children with disabilities have equal access to participating in sporting activities with the education system.” In 24.4(d) it suggested inserting “and” after “recreational”; and deleting “and sporting” after “leisure"; and adding “physical culture and sports” after “activities.” States should take on a major role in promoting access to cultural opportunities for PWD.

Thailand suggested amending 24.2 by deleting the words “and unreasonable” and replacing them with “any.” Following “cultural materials,” the rest of the sentence should be deleted. States should play a major legislative role in ensuring these rights. Many activities are organized and run by private entities, but they are obliged to follow the law.

Chile noted, in reference to 24.1(d) regarding access to cultural facilities, that “access” is important, but it is equally important to consider what else is required for people to enjoy cultural events. In 24.4, it proposed adding two subsections. The first would refer to developing the sports potential of PWD, by promoting their involvement at various levels. The second would address training for teachers and monitors handling sports and recreational programs in methods for facilitating the participation of PWD.

South Africa proposed separating recreational and leisure rights from cultural rights, addressing the latter in a new paragraph, 24(bis), which would also incorporate the current Article's content relating to cultural and linguistic identity and rights as suggested by footnote 109. Providing for cultural and linguistic rights would bring this Convention into conformity with other international instruments. South Africa also proposed several amendments. In the chapeau of 24.4, “equal” should be replaced with “equitable”; and the words "to promote a healthy lifestyle" should be inserted after "sporting activities." In 24.4(a), “encourage” should be replaced by “ensure"; before "regional" should be inserted the word "club," because this is where participation in organized sports often begins, providing a base for advancing to higher levels of sport; and the words “to the fullest extent possible” should be deleted because this implies a focus on their limitations. The text of 24.4(b) should be changed to read, “Ensure that PWD have an opportunity to organise and participate in sporting, recreational and leisure activities, and to receive equitable and relevant instruction, training, resources and support.” South Africa explained that providing “the same” resources and support to PWD would be inequitable; and the phrase “that is available to other participants” is redundant. The text of 24.4(c) should be changed to read: “Ensure that PWD have access to sporting, recreational, and leisure facilities." The clause regarding children with disabilities' access to sporting activities within the education system should be moved to Article 17 on Education. In 24.4(d), the word "equal" should be inserted before "access." South Africa suggested a new subparagraph, 24.4(d)(bis), as follows: “Ensure equitable access to government and private funding for PWD to facilitate full participation in sporting, recreational and leisure activities and organization.” In order to target the media, 24.4(d)(bis) should go on to read as follows: “Encourage all public media to give appropriate and equitable coverage of the achievement of persons with disabilities in sports, recreational and leisure activities, as well as the availability of such activities to all persons with disabilities.”

New Zealand noted duplication in the provisions of this Article. For example, the facility access provisions in 24.1(d) duplicate Article 19's references to accessibility in the built environment; and the issue of cultural materials in accessible formats, required by 24.1(b), should be adequately dealt with in Article 13, access to information. Therefore, parts of these subparagraphs can be eliminated. New Zealand also disagreed with proposals to separate cultural/artistic activities from other activities. Based on these concerns, it submitted a proposed revision of 24.1, consolidating paragraphs 24.1 and 24.4, to address rights to participate in both types of activities. (24.2 and 24.3 would remain essentially unchanged.) In its revision, New Zealand attempts to address several other concerns as well. The current paragraph 24.4 seems concerned primarily with the competitive nature of sports, in which participants advance to different levels; however, other kinds of cultural activities may also be pursued at the local, regional, national, and international levels, whether competitively or not. Also, the opportunity to develop and utilize potential should apply to physical, as well as creative and artistic, endeavors. The amendment to the chapeau of 24.1 aims to use language from other international human rights instruments, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The phrase "on an equal basis" in 24.1(b) takes into account the fact that some activities are private, and not available to the general public. New Zealand pointed out that 24.4(c) contains two very different ideas, and suggested expanding the second half of the subparagraph, to cover children with disabilities' access to all cultural, leisure, and physical activities, not just those in the education system, and moving it to the Article on children. New Zealand opposed the EU's proposal to delete 24.3, because sign language is integral to the cultural development of Deaf people. However, it recommended consideration of whether the cultural identity of other groups of PWD should also be addressed here. New Zealand opposed Thailand's proposal to amend 24.2 by deleting the phrase " while respecting the provisions of international law." That clause would not inhibit the implementation of the paragraph.

Kenya suggested change in the title to “Participation in Cultural Life, Religion, Recreation, Leisure, and Sport.” It introduced new paragraph, 24.4(bis), to read as follows: “States Parties recognize the fundamental right of PWD to practice a religion of their choice, and shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that PWD:
"(a) enjoy the opportunity to develop their spirituality and practice their faith;
"(b) have access to houses of worship, shrines and sites of religious importance;
"(c) can belong to a community of believers and participate fully in the life of the congregation and in the rites, ceremonies and sacraments that are a part of worship;
"(d) have access to appropriate religious education and receive instruction in the format that best suits their needs;
"(e) will be protected from religious abuse, exploitation and coercion.”

Israel proposed several amendments. In the chapeau of 24.1, after “to ensure,” should be inserted “including by way of legislation to the maximum extent that is reasonable.” At the end of 24.1(a) should be added “and the society as a whole”; and the words “and physical potential” should be inserted following the words “intellectual.” In 24.1(d), after “libraries,” should be inserted “concert and other musical performances"; and the words “as far as possible” should be replaced by “work to the maximum extent possible.” In 24.3, the words “who are deaf” should be replaced by “with disabilities of all kinds.” In 24.4, at end of the chapeau should be added “Do all the following at the maximum extent that is reasonable.” In 24.4(d), after “leisure,” the word “tourism” should be added.

Japan agreed with the EU amendment for the chapeau of 24.1, and suggested that some issues here need to be done by the private sector rather than the government due to financial implications. In 24.2, it suggested strengthening the last part of sentence to comply with international agreements, by replacing “while” with “in accordance with international agreements.” In suggested deleting 24.3, as this issue should be dealt with under 2(d). Japan supported the thrust of 24.4, but it may be overly prescriptive and needing simplification.

made two proposals. In 24.2, it suggested deleting “excessive and discriminatory” since intellectual property rights have not been an obstacle for PWD. In 24.4, it suggested deleting “on an equal basis with others.”

Canada supported a more principled and less prescriptive article. In the chapeau of 24.1, it endorsed the revisions offered by the EU. It echoed New Zealand's concerns about the overly detailed nature of 24.1(b), (c), and (d), and the overlap among them and with other Articles, especially with the access issue. It supported the New Zealand proposed revision of 24.1(b): pointing out the problem of listing technologies which may become outdated, it supported shortening the subparagraph and deleting its mention of specific formats. In 24.2, it suggested deletion of “an unreasonable,” while retaining “discriminatory.” It proposed retaining 24.4 on its own, as dedicated to the very important issue of sports. Regarding 24.4(c), it echoed New Zealand's comments that the content addresses two issues, access to venues and recreational participation by children, which either are or could be covered elsewhere in the Convention. Canada expressed uncertainty about what is intended in 24.4(d), and asked for either clarification, or else deletion.

The Republic of Korea echoed Canada in attaching importance to 24.4(a) regarding sports activities for PWD. To broaden the scope of this subparagraph, Korea proposed appending to it, "and promote sporting activities tailored to the needs of persons with disabilities as well as disability-specific sports.”

Jordan called for retaining both cultural and sports in this Article, because it “put the mind and body together”, and supported Kenya’s proposal to include religion, in order to add the component of “soul.” It proposed a rewording of 24.1(b) to read: “Enjoy equitable access to and participation in cultural and sports material, activities, services and facilities.” Subparagraphs 24.1(c) and (d) should be deleted, as the ideas therein are included in the previous article. Article 24.4 in its entirety should be deleted.

China proposed adding language on a gradual timetable through the insertion of “progressive” after “appropriate.” Paragraph 24.2 should focus on how to ensure that PWD have access to culture, not to stipulate how States Parties should formulate their law as to the protection of intellectual rights so as not to discriminate against PWD, as countries, apart from legislation, have other measures to ensure access to culture. There are also specific international instruments to protect intellectual property in order to avoid unnecessary inconsistency. China recommended that the Committee revisit the paragraph and consider rewording it in a way that would ensure equal enjoyment of cultural rights. It directed the Committee to footnote 109 (for 24.3), and endorsed the idea contained therein, that to avoid unbalanced text, the content of this paragraph should be reflected in other paragraphs or Articles. Upon consideration of footnote 111, China proposed that in 24.4(a) “mainstream” be deleted, as sports activities for people without disabilities might not meet the needs of PWD and disability-specific activities, such as the Paralympics, may need to be organized.

Bahrain supported this Article and proposed inserting in 24.4(c), after “resources,” the words “to qualified and specialized children.”

Costa Rica considered this Article to have particular relevance, as quality of life is impacted by the ability to participate in cultural life, recreational activities, leisure, and sport. In 24.1(d), in addition to physical access to sites, the subparagraph should address “enjoyment of” cultural representations (e.g., to see and enjoy volcanoes). Regarding 24.3, Costa Rica wanted to draw distinctions, as the paragraph as it stands generates a discriminatory dimension, and proposed a rewording: “States Parties recognize that persons living under their jurisdiction are entitled to their own specific cultural and linguistic identities and shall take all appropriate measures to support it.” In 24.4 it proposed the insertion of “including tourism” after “sporting activities.” In 24.4(b), “same” should be deleted so that the last part of the subparagraph reads: “to receive instruction, training and resources appropriate to ensure the involvement of PWD.” A new subparagraph should be placed after 24.4(c): “To see to it that persons with disabilities gain access and be able to enjoy tourist activities.” In 24.4(c) “with the educational system” should be replaced by “including the educational system.” Subparagraph 24.4(d) should be deleted.

Morocco proposed the insertion of “at the least cost” after “enjoy access” in 24.4(b).

The Holy See supported this Article in principle and Kenya’s contribution. Religious practice is a non-derogable right recognized in both the UDHR and international juridical instruments. Affording protection of this right in this Convention is a serious issue. It agreed with Jordan on the integration in human life of many aspects: mind, body, and soul.

Ireland, speaking only on its own behalf, commented on the proposal offered by Kenya. Ireland has consistently been a main sponsor of resolutions on the freedom of religion and belief, and when it questions the inclusion of this issue in the article, it is not out of a lack of interest in the subject. PWD are already entitled to all human rights and it is not necessary in this Convention to repeat each and every one contained in the two international covenants on human rights. The question of freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief is well set out in Article 18 of the ICCPR, has been elaborated on in the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance Based on Religion and Belief, and further elaborated upon by the jurisprudence of the Human Rights Committee, and in the resolutions sponsored by Ireland over the past 20 years. In this framework, the proposal from Kenya would significantly restrict the rights of PWD. It unintentionally elaborates a separate right to freedom of religion in relation to PWD, which undermines the general right which they already possess under international law. It would not oppose an appropriate reference in this Convention, but expressed grave reservations as to the formulation of Kenya’s proposal.

Uganda support Kenya’s proposal, as many places of worship are not accessible to PWD, and some organizers of these institutions may not be aware of the needs of PWD. Some of the practices of these institutions are onerous to PWD and if PWD are going to enjoy the right to worship at a religious institution of their choice then this Convention should include a provision to ensure that those involved in these institutions take into account the needs of PWD. In 24.1(d), the word “exhibits” should be inserted between “two” and “monuments." In 24.3, “and the deafblind” should be inserted after “deaf.” In 24.4(b), “necessary” should replace “same,” as it might not be possible for persons with certain disabilities to receive the same instruction, so “necessary” is a more appropriate word. Uganda supported Kenya’s amendment for 24.4(d). It introduced a new paragraph 24.5: “States Parties shall take all appropriate steps to remove all discriminatory societal barriers to the enjoyment of all the rights in this Article.”

Thailand expressed concern that some delegates misunderstand the impact of intellectual property protection laws. There is evidence that existing laws protecting intellectual property rights and copyrights do constitute and/or lead to discriminatory barriers to access to cultural materials by PWD. The Convention should find a way to ensure that domestic and international laws, intended to protect intellectual property rights and copyrights, do not limit PWD access to materials.

Namibia supported Kenya's proposal to insert “religion” in the title. In 24.4(a), “Ensure” should replace “Encourage”; "integrated" should replace “mainstream”; and “all levels, including local,” should be inserted before “regional.” In 24.4(b), “necessary” should replace “same.” It proposed a new, 24.4(e), as follows: “Ensure that persons with disabilities subject to multiple forms of discrimination, such as women and refugees have access to sports, recreation and leisure activities.”

Philippines supported the suggestion, advanced by Kenya, Uganda, the Holy See and Namibia, to incorporate religion as one of the issues that States Parties should recognize and support.

The Chair opened the floor for comments from interested NGOs.

Inclusion International stated that like music, sports offer the opportunity for persons with intellectual disabilities, and all persons, to self-expression. Music and sport bring people together and provide shared understanding and appreciation regardless of disability. It is necessary to support everyone, to build confidence and self-esteem and to make everyone feel as though they are part of the team. Sport should be integrated. II stressed the importance of moving beyond the Special Olympics to true inclusion in sport.

Landmine Survivors Network fully supported the inclusion in this Convention of the rights to participate in cultural life as well as recreation, sport, and leisure. The participation of PWD in sport and recreation activities contributes to physical fitness, mental well-being and social integration, but too often PWD are excluded from participation in sports and recreation activities. A strong provision for the right to sport, recreation, and leisure would serve to raise awareness of the importance of such participation, both for individuals and for society. LSN strongly supported Yemen's proposal to address sport, recreation and leisure in a separate article. In the UN Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for People with Disabilities (UN SR) there are separate rules, one dealing with culture, and one dealing with sport and recreation. Separating the articles would allow for full elaboration of the issues related to each right and would assist States with implementation and monitoring. LSN supported Kenya's proposal to add religion. Also, it expressed concern that the current text does not reference the right of children with disabilities to play, which represents a departure from existing law, such as the CRC. It proposed adding a new subparagraph specifically addressing the right of children with disabilities to have access to age-appropriate play, leisure, and recreational sport activities.

People with Disability Australia Incorporated, along with (Australian) National Association of Community Legal Centres and the Australian Federation of Disability Organizations applauded the terms of this Article. It stated that the removal of barriers constituted by intellectual property law (including copyrights) applies to all information, not just cultural information, and suggested that this provision could be dealt with more comprehensively in 19.2 (Accessibility). “Exhibits” should be inserted before “monuments” and “throughout” should be inserted after “to” in 24.1(d), to clarify that all aspects of sites of cultural significance are made accessible. As suggested by LSN and other delegations, “necessary” should replace “same” in 24.4(b), since PWD may need additional support to participate in sport. The ideas contained in 24.4(c) should be separated into two articles to avoid confusion. The words “services and facilities” should follow “venues” in this subparagraph. Religious participation and the accessibility of religious sites should also be addressed in this article.

Save the Children asserted the importance of the right to play for the development of personality, potential, and expression on an equal basis with others and without discrimination. In recognizing the importance of play and sports for the socialization of children, young people, and adults with disabilities, SCF recommended the insertion of a new paragraph:
“States Parties recognize the right of all children and adults with disabilities to play and shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that PWD:
"(a) have the opportunity to develop their personality potential and expression on an equal basis with others;
"(b) have the opportunity to socialize, make friends, and participate in society;
"(c) have access to playgrounds, events, and activities on an equal basis with others;
"(d) have the necessary support to initiate and take part in play like others.”
24.1(b) should be appended with “and that such access also extends to literature and cultural materials appropriate for children with disabilities.”

World Federation of the Deafblind expressed concern that sport and culture appear in the same article, and recommended their separation. People who are deafblind live in a different world, a tactile one. The qualities they develop as a result of living in a tactile world – patience, caution, concentration – are those qualities required by artists, and thus, culture is not only something to consume, but is also a right to perform. WFDB supported the proposal of Thailand, because it is increasingly difficult for people who are deafblind to access literature and other materials due to the strengthening of copyright laws.

Northeastern University Center for the Study of Sport in Society supported Yemen, South Africa, and Namibia on their proposals for 24.4 and New Zealand’s efforts to include local levels of participation in 24.4(a). This article should be revised by replacing “regional, national and international levels” with “all levels of participation”. It also supported Korea’s inclusion of “disability specific” in 24.4(b), as this provision reflects the intention of developing sport programs where athletes with disabilities participate with other athletes with similar disabilities. The Convention has been forthright in qualifying “mainstream” sports but it is necessary that 24.4(b) refer to disability specific sport in order to avoid redundancy with the provisions in 24.4(a). It supported Uganda’s proposal to replace “same” with “necessary” in 24.4(b).

World Federation of the Deaf noted the importance of this Article to the development of one’s full potential and personality, and for Deaf people in particular, for whom language is a basic to identity development. Culture for the Deaf community is based in vision. The right of language, identity, and culture does not mean segregation from society because sign language spans other cultures. If these cultural and linguistic rights of the Deaf community are not recognized, it will be unable to develop to its full creative, artistic, and intellectual potential.

World Blind Union strongly supported Thailand’s proposal for 24.2, as even schoolbooks are covered by copyright and are sometimes not able to be made accessible to persons with visual impairments. Regarding 24.1(c), WBU proposed adding text that refers to audio description as a means to access to cultural material.

National Human Rights Institutions recognized the merit in splitting this article into two separate articles, one dealing with cultural life, and one dealing with recreation, leisure, and sport. It recommended retaining 24.3.

Arab Organization of Disabled People recommended separating cultural life from recreation, leisure and sport, because for PWD, sport is not only recreation, but also deals with rehabilitation from a physical and social perspective. It supported the proposals of Yemen.

World Union for Progressive Judaism supported the inclusion of Article 24 and fully supported proposals adding the right to have access to religious activities and services. It proposed a new paragraph recommended that all cultural and religious materials be accessible.

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