Skip navigation links Sitemap | About us | FAQs

UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality
Back to: Seventh Session of the Ad Hoc Committee
Summaries of the Seventh Session

 

Daily summary of discussion at the seventh session
03 February 2006

Disclaimer

Original MS Word version
Languages: French

UN Convention on the Human Rights of People with Disabilities
Ad Hoc Committee - Daily Summaries

A service brought to you by Rehabilitation International (RI)



Volume 8, #15
February 03, 2006

 

 

MORNING SESSION

Before continuing the previous day’s discussion on international cooperation, the Chair noted that he would, at some point during the day, reopen the discussion on Article 12.  Though there had been some discussion about returning to other articles as well, the informal consultations on those subjects had not progressed to the point at which it would make sense to spend valuable time on them.  He stated that the formal report of the 7th Session had been circulated but noted that it did not include an annex containing a detailed report from the Chair, as had been done in the past.  The articles revised throughout the course of the session were annexed.

Article 32 - International cooperation (continued)

The Chair stated that some trends had emerged in the previous day’s meeting.  There were clearly a number of specific problems with the facilitator’s text, but they generally reflected those footnoted by the facilitator in the document.  In general, there was good support for the text and the Chair urged delegates to be cognizant of the time constraints and be brief in their interventions, reminding the committee that international cooperation would be revisited at the next meeting. 

Japan supported a separate article on international cooperation, noting its role in helping states to achieve the goal of ensuring the rights of PWD.  At the same time, it recalled that the obligation to promote and protect the rights of PWD lies primarily with states, as reflected in numerous UN documents.  Japan stated that its comments had not been supported in the facilitator’s group and therefore it would make a statement for the Chair’s note.   It proposed deleting “effective” in the third line of paragraph 1, stating that it is not possible to “ensure an effective outcome.”  It proposed replacing “ensuring” in 1(a) and “providing” in 1(b) with “encouraging.”    It proposed replacing in 1(a) “including international development programs,” which are closely related to economic assistance, with “international cooperation programs,”  which is a broader concept.

Mexico stressed the need to ensure that the provision on international cooperation reflects a broad, inclusive and balanced perspective.  It was confident that with the constructive participation of all participants, a text could be achieved that reflects the concerns of states to respond as a global society to ensure the rights of PWD.

Columbia fully supported the facilitator’s text as written, stating that the concerns raised in discussion were adequately covered therein. 

Jordan stated that international cooperation is at the heart of the matter of the convention:  there is need for an international agreement if there is no international cooperation.   It supported the facilitators text, with some suggestions.  In the third line of paragraph 1, Jordan proposed replacing “will” with “shall.”  In 1(b), it proposed replacing “capacity building” with “capacity development” and to add “assets building,” since international cooperation extends beyond financial assistance.  It must be multi-faceted so that all can benefit and all can contribute regardless of their capacity, although developing countries may need more assistance.  Jordan advocated the establishment of an international fund, similar to UNICEF and UNIFEM, because there are more than 600 million PWD worldwide.  It supported China’s proposal for paragraph 2. 

The Syrian Arab Republic acknowledged the concern that a commitment to international cooperation might diminish the importance of states’ national implementation obligations.  At same time there are immense differences among states regarding their capacity for implementation.  Developing countries clearly require international support to augment their own efforts.   Therefore, it supported the facilitator’s text, with a few amendments.  It supported Iran’s proposal to replace “realization of the purpose and objectives of…” with “implementation of the provisions of…”  in the second line of paragraph 1, and to replace “could” with “shall.” in last sentence of that paragraph.  This stronger language would encourage states to fulfill their obligations and work toward international cooperation.  The Syrian Arab Republic stated that deleting “as appropriate” in 1(d) would strengthen the sense of the paragraph.  It agreed that paragraph 2 represents a contradiction of paragraph 1 and therefore supported China’s proposal, which ensures follow-up and implementation through the joint efforts of donors and beneficiaries of international cooperation.

The Philippines stated that a separate article on international cooperation is a critical part of the convention and would represent a milestone in international human rights law by using explicit language on this subject.  A convention on disability is unique in that fulfilling its objectives depends largely on how active and forthcoming countries are in sharing their knowledge with one another.  The Philippines agreed that “irrespective of international cooperation” in paragraph 2 undermines spirit of the provision and urged delegates to consider the alternative language proposed by China.

Liechtenstein asserted that there was no real disagreements on substance.  There appeared to be consensus that international cooperation will greatly facilitate the achievement of the objectives set out in the convention, especially those that require considerable resources.  At same time, all delegations understand that States Parties have an obligation to take all necessary measures to fulfill their obligations under the convention, especially those that can be immediately realized, e.g., the non-discrimination provisions.  These are not new concepts but are reflected in other treaties, such as the ICESCR, and have not led to the interpretation that absent international cooperation, states are relieved of their obligations.  Liechtenstein reiterated that the various proposals regarding paragraph 2 did not differ in substance and noted it remained to be seen whether China’s proposal could overcome the differences expressed.  Perhaps one solution would be to take a more technical approach to the language, without qualifying the character of international cooperation or of states’ obligations.  For instance, the word “supplementary”  and “primary” tend to create confusion.  Liechtenstein suggested considering language referring to Article 4, if the Chinese proposal does not satisfy the concerns of others, in particular the EU.  In this case, “without prejudice to the provisions. of Article 4” could be added after “objectives of the present convention.”   This would eliminate the need for paragraph 2 and clarify that the General Obligations in Article 4, which are the core of the obligations States undertake, are not altered by the article on international cooperation. 

Costa Rica supported the proposals by China and Liechtenstein, but stated that its overall support was for the facilitator’s text.  Though the subject would have to be revisited, Costa Rica asserted that much progress had been made toward consensus.  It appreciated the fact that its original position was reflected in the text.

Thailand stated that it could be flexible with regard to technical and economic assistance in 1(b).  It supported China’s proposal for paragraph 2 and expressed its general support for the text.

El Salvador noted the importance of complementary mechanisms to support national implementation efforts.  It highlighted the importance of building the local, regional and national capacities and the need to achieve cooperation among different UN agencies and other donors.  El Salvador asserted that the convention should address the social responsibilities of corporations and civil society to benefit PWD.

Sudan stated that effective implementation can only be accomplished in the context of international cooperation, which supports and is a catalyst for national efforts.  It asserted that attempts are made to “shirk responsibility” for implementation and that many conventions have been “defeated” because they did not include a legal framework for implementation.  This convention should be absorbed in national legislation and fully implemented.  It supported the proposal of the Islamic Republic of Iran to replace “could” with “shall” in paragraph 1.  It supported China’s proposal for paragraph 2, which combines two issues: commitments on the national level and international cooperation to support such commitments.  It noted that the concern that international cooperation may lead to shirking responsibility for implementation is reasonable. 

Ethiopia supported the facilitator’s text as written.

IDC stressed the need for implementation and enforcement measures, the availability of technologies, accessible buildings/streets, sensory technologies, etc., and stated that achieving these aims requires a great deal of assistance and language must be found to ensure that this assistance can become a reality.  It highlighted Brazil’s comments on barriers and stated that, without prejudice to the role of special programs, mainstreaming of disability in all international programs and instruments is what is needed.  The absence of such inclusion equates to exclusion and discrimination and creates barriers for PWD.  IDC noted that the United States had begun to implement standards in its international aid programs that are equal to its domestic standards.  This is a reasonable action for highly developed countries.  Best practices should also be leveraged in terms of mainstreaming disability within programs and policies, including those of multi-national corporations, which often provide excellent examples.  One example is a large multi-national supermarket that promotes accessibility and trains and employs PWD, which promotes awareness of accessibility and the employability of PWD among other local employers. 

Project South asserted that this article is of immense importance to this convention because international cooperation is essential for full implementation.  Organizations of PWD must be considered critical participants in international cooperation.  They must be included in the execution of international cooperation programs or, at the very least, in the monitoring of these programs.  International cooperation must be multi-thematic and multi-directional.  Many countries with positive development indexes still treat PWD as second-class citizens.  The focus must be on optimizing resources and sharing information and experience; it is not just money that is needed.  In Brazil there are successful programs for empowerment of PWD in areas such as health, transportation and education that do not create a financial burden.  El Salvador has both direct and remote assistance through university student exchange programs and Mexico has developed a project focused on community rehabilitation strategies that can be transferred to Africa and Asia.  There is also a human rights training network being developed in the Middle East.  Project South vehemently stressed that the focus must be on cooperation.

The International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), which supports disability and development work in more than 100 countries worldwide, fully supported the IDC proposal for a separate article on international cooperation.  While not wishing to introduce a new concept to complicate discussions, the IDDC stressed the importance of inclusive development.  This means that the entire cycle of development - design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation – must be inclusive and ensure the meaningful participation of PWD and their representative organizations.  It also includes a human rights-based approach to international development.  The IDDC underscored importance of including PWD in all levels of international development, noting that 96% currently do not benefit from these programs.  However, there is a strong trend in many national development programs to ensure inclusion and thus it should not be difficult to reach consensus on an international cooperation provision in the convention.  Recalling the statement of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, IDDC stressed that the treaty must address both social development as well as human rights, and that international cooperation has an essential role to play, especially in developing countries.  It drew attention to the Resolution recently passed by the EU Parliament on disability and development, which highlights mainstreaming disability in all levels of policy and calls for implementation of EU guidelines on disability and development.  The EU Parliament also called on the European Commission to support a separate article on international cooperation in the convention as the necessary foundation for collaborative actions to ensure inclusive development and to facilitate bilateral and multilateral efforts.  The IDDC also noted the importance of international monitoring for international cooperation.

Disabled Peoples’ International highlighted the crucial role of PWD and their representative organization in the context of international cooperation.  As noted by the High Commissioner on Human Rights, international cooperation will be an invaluable tool in the implementation of the convention.  However, meaningful international cooperation cannot be realized if it lacks the unique input of PWD.  As many have noted, the current treaty negotiation process could not have progressed to this point without  the substantive input of the disability movement.  Therefore, any article on international cooperation must explicitly reference the need for meaningful participation of disabled people in all international cooperation activities.

The Special Rapporteur on Disability reminded the committee that it was formulating a comprehensive international convention that will have a direct effect on the conduct and values of states.  It must be based on the principles of equality fairness, participation and opportunity.  Because this is a global instrument, it cannot ignore the differences in the cultures, economics,  politics and social affairs among countries.  Bridging these gaps requires the highest degree of cooperation.  Cultural differences have been bridged to reach consensus on other articles of the convention, and this is a precondition for international cooperation.   The convention cannot be implemented without international cooperation and the commitments should include measures beyond simply the financial ones that can be provided by wealthy countries. 

The Syrian Arab Republic stated that, with regard to the comments of Costa Rica, it could understand the apprehension that international assistance might undermine national efforts.  However, it could not “accept that a colleague would ignore the understanding by some states who accepted this text because it referred to the assistance that some countries could provide.”  Some amendments were submitted which are very important in terms of replacing weak language or language that implies that states will not honor their commitments, both of which undermine entire convention. 

The Chair stated that he did not understand the Syrian Arab Republic’s comments and wondered whether this might be due to an interpretation issue.

Yemen stated that it was not a matter of interpretation.  It fully supported the position of the Special Rapporteur, which reflected a clear understanding of the issue.

The Chair noted his understanding that the Syrian Arab Republic’s comments related to an intervention by another delegation.  He reiterated that this may be an interpretation issue and encouraged consultation between the Syrian Arab Republic delegation and that of Costa Rica. 

The Syrian Arab Republic asserted that it was not a problem of interpretation: the delegate stated that he was sure of what he had said and had heard the interpretation, which was a good one.

The Chair began to respond but was alerted that there was no simultaneous interpretation into Spanish at that moment.  The technical problem was resolved and the Chair proceeded, repeating his suggestion for informal consultation between the Syrian Arab Republic and Costa Rica.  As this concluded the discussion of international cooperation, the Chair summarized the discussion as follows:

The Chair concluded by repeating his suggestion that both the facilitator’s text  and China’s proposal be included in brackets in the collection of revised articles for further discussion, with the issue of placement still not finally resolved, but moving towards resolution.  The Chair urged delegations to reconsider whether they could live with the balance in the facilitator’s text.  He reiterated that there was no clear agreement regarding the language of paragraph 2, however there had been strong support for China’s proposal. The Chair noted that there may be other proposals to consider in future discussions, such as Liechtenstein’s addition of “without prejudice to the provisions of Article 4” after “objectives of the present convention.”  

Sudan appreciated the Chair’s summary but disagreed with his view regarding paragraph 2.  Sudan had expected the Chair to indicate that China’s proposal enjoyed broad support and would be incorporated to serve as the basis for further discussion.  Instead, the Chair had asserted that there were two proposal still under consideration: the text from China which had good support and the facilitator’s text which had less support.  Sudan noted that sometimes there were texts that generated great support but were not mentioned in the summary and other times a proposal that was only supported by one or two other delegations was mentioned in the summary.  Sudan stated that it did not accept the Chair’s summary regarding paragraph 2. 

The Chair stated that he had indicated in his summary that China’s proposal had achieved broad support.  However, it was also clear that there were a number of delegations that did not support it and therefore, though it was an extremely useful contribution, it was not a text that commanded general support.  That was why he proposed the strategy of including both texts - to reflect the two alternative approaches to the issue - in addition to considering other language.  He stated that this was not an issue of substance, but an issue of language, and it was appropriate to include both options in the revised text given that neither text clearly commanded general support.  The Chair stated that, if the committee believed that only one text warranted inclusion, he would follow the lead of the group.  However, in his estimation, the inclusion of both texts would be helpful and accurately reflected the sense of the committee.

Sudan asserted that it was not a question of formulation.  There were two different approaches.  The facilitator’s text indicated that obligations can be implemented without international cooperation.   However, China’s proposal “couples both; that international cooperation should be the framework for strengthening obligations and implementing obligations.”  The latter was the approach supported by the Special Rapporteur.  Sudan asserted that the idea that states must implement the convention with or without international cooperation is a different issue.  It was not a question of formulation but of two contradictory ideas.  China’s proposal should be the basis for discussion.  To put the facilitator’s text, which did not enjoy broad support, on equal footing with China’s proposal was not fair.

The Chair stated that the mechanism of providing bracketed alternatives does not indicate equal support for both but that there are two approaches that are important to two separate groups and that further reflection is required.  Pretending that the alternative approach does not exist does not bring us forward in the process.  The Chair noted that the committee’s process had been open, transparent and genuine – in fact, the least politicized of the many processes the Chair had ever participated in.  On this particular issue, there was clearly differing support for each text, The Chair reiterated that the elements in each were similar; it was simply a matter of language.  He was confident that the issue would be resolved but that including only one option and pretending that there was general agreement was not the appropriate approach.

China stated that it was flexible with respect to the proposed amendments to its language, however it fully agreed with Sudan.  It asserted that specifying the importance of international cooperation was not necessary.  This had already been done in many other international instruments.  To highlight the importance of international cooperation in paragraph 1 and then to say in paragraph 2 that international cooperation is “irrespective” of national obligations is simply contradictory.  This illogical analysis was the reason paragraph 2 was simply not in the right place.  China then asked for clarification on a “procedural matter.”  It noted that the Chair had indicated that its proposal had not achieved “unanimous” support and asked whether all proposals that the Chair had decided to incorporate into revised articles had achieved unanimous support.  It was China’s understanding that they had not, in fact, achieved unanimous support, but that the Chair had often “cleaned up” the language of the proposals in the process of revising the articles.  China was confused as to why the Chair did not take that approach with the article on international cooperation – that is, use his judgment about the prevailing views of the committee and produce a revised Chair’s text of this article.  If he could not do this, China requested that the Chair take back the revised articles that had already been distributed and add into these texts some of its proposals and comments – which were completely different from those that had been included in the Chair’s revisions.

The Chair stated that, clearly, the revised texts did not reflect unanimous support.  It was his job to assess which proposals command broad support and which do not.  The Chair reminded the committee that it had begun the process with a 200-page document and that, through the course of seven sessions, the committee had worked to reduce and refine it and produce a text with a good chance for general acceptance and adoption.  Inevitably, in this process, many proposals that do not generate support are eliminated. At same time, there are certain issues that must be resolved satisfactorily in drafting a convention and one of these is international cooperation.  The Chair pointed out that the current text on international cooperation was the product of an extensive process convened and led by the facilitator, who noted the lack of consensus on paragraph 2 via a footnote. This was a very carefully balanced text.  There was a proposal from China with alternate language that clearly obtained the balance – even the preponderance - of support within the room.  Still, in the Chair’s opinion, the issue was not yet resolved or resolvable at this stage.  The way to advance this issue at the next meeting would be to maintain the facilitator’s text in brackets and the Chinese text in brackets, reflecting the two approaches that have been discussed at length. The Chair disagreed with Sudan that this was a substantive issue.  He believed that there was general agreement on substance and the problem was a matter of language.  Therefore, it was better to retain both alternatives.

Sudan began to respond to the Chair, however there was no audible simultaneous interpretation in the English language.  The Chair apologized to the speaker and invited him to begin again.

Sudan argued that it was not a question of drafting but two different schools of thought on international cooperation.  We must deal with what helps to strengthen international cooperation, however paragraph 2 said that states must abide by obligations irrespective of international cooperation, which was in contradiction with subject of article.  China’s proposal attempted to bring obligations in line with international cooperation and insisted that international cooperation is important while stipulating that states’ obligations should be observed in the context of international cooperation.  Sudan stated that whenever it raised a concern, the Chair referred to that concern as a problem of interpretation even when it was a matter of a difference in view, not interpretation.  It asserted that achieving consensus required resolving problems, which could not be achieved by defining disagreements as interpretation or language problems. 

China stated that if the issue related to paragraph 2 was not a matter of substance, then it would not insist on the wording of its proposal.  It was willing to work with other delegations on a new proposals or even eliminating paragraph 2 entirely.  It noted that Article 4 already contains a provision on international cooperation and that it was unnecessary to have another paragraph addressing it.  China requested that, if the Chair’s process was going to include putting two completely different paragraphs on the same issue in the revised text for this article, he should indicate the other articles for which the same approach had been taken.  

The Chair stated that the text on international cooperation had not been through the same number and levels of processes as other articles.  In previous working documents, no text on international cooperation had been included.  Therefore, relative to other articles, the article on international cooperation was in a relatively early stage of development.  The Chair reminded the committee that many other articles had also included bracketed proposals and alternatives in their earlier iterations.  He noted that, unlike many UN processes, this negotiation had focused on outcome and had avoided endless procedural discussions.  He implored delegations to conclude the discussion on this matter.

Brazil confirmed that it preferred to move on to Article 12.

Indonesia supported proceeding to Article 12.  Although it agreed with China’s comment regarding the elimination of paragraph 2, Indonesia stated that this could be discussed later.

China noted the Chair’s indication that there had previously been uncertainty regarding the inclusion of a separate article on international cooperation.  China asked whether the Chair believed that he would be able to develop some kind of consolidated or “cleaned-up” language, perhaps as a working paper instead of a proposed Chair’s revised article.

The Chair stated that there was a clear trend toward the inclusion of a separate article on international cooperation, however some delegations advocated including the subject in the general obligations. Clearly, this equated to lack of agreement.  However, this was a process of negotiation and gradual refinement and development -  a matter of taking the text along at a pace and to an end that everyone could accept.  This had been and would continue be a successful approach.  There was a clear consensus that international cooperation is essential to this convention.  The committee was simply not quite at the stage yet where there was a text everyone could agree upon.  This particular article, because it was controversial, had been subject to lengthy process, chaired by a facilitator who moved the process further along than many had expected.  Still, the text was not yet finalized.  The Chair proposed to move to Article 12.

ARTICLE 12 – Equal recognition before the law

The Chair stated that informal consultations had been held to discuss some significant issues related to the article on equal recognition before the law.  Though it was clear that this issue would not be resolved at this meeting, the committee should assess whether the consultations had produced a text that would serve as a better basis of discussion at the August meeting.  If the new text was not deemed to be an improvement, the committee could proceed with the previous text when it reconvened in August.  This question only should be the topic of discussion and the Chair hoped that it could be resolved quickly.  He stated that if there was not clear support for the new text, it would be not replace the existing draft language of Article 12.

Canada which had facilitated the informal work on Article 12, stated that the new text was the result of a collective effort among several states and NGOs.  Though it did not necessarily represent a complete consensus, it was the best effort of the group to narrow down the contentious elements.  Canada characterized the proposal as a framework for discussion, recognizing the broad range of issues still to be addressed.  It noted that the proposal was based on the existing working text.  As such, paragraphs 1, 2 and 5 remained largely unchanged, though a footnote had been added to paragraph 1 to denote an issue that remained to be addressed.  Consistent with the views of a number of delegations, paragraph 3 placed particular emphasis on supported decision making and reflected the crucial nature of individual autonomy of PWD who require such support.  Paragraph 4 set up the principles of safeguards to maintain autonomy while addressing the risk of abuse that may arise in the context of substitute decision-making. 

Brazil stated that the new formulation for Article 12 was a step in the right direction and addressed some of its concerns.  However it did not adequately reflect Brazil’s position of promoting a paradigm shift toward the exercise of legal capacity to allow all PWD to make their own decisions.  To eliminate the ambiguity on that matter, it supported the IDC amendments, which clarified and strengthen the focus on the provision of support.
                                    
Serbia and Montenegro was concerned that although there was no prohibition on substitute decision making in the new text, it must be recognized that there are extreme cases in which substitute decision making is necessary and thus it must be mentioned in the text.  It supported the position of Ireland that there should be a presumption of full legal capacity of PWD, noting that there are exceptional cases where in which substitute decision-making and legal guardianship are needed. Serbia and Montenegro insisted on returning to the Chair’s original text as a basis for discussion.  It is important to remember that this will be a binding document.  In the context of international monitoring, if the text provides only for supported decision making, then some parties opposed to substitute decision making may use this text to accuse states of breaching its obligations under the convention.  Though it wholeheartedly supported the paradigm shift toward supported decision making, Serbia and Montenegro also supported mentioning the possibility of substitute decision making rather than ignoring it completely.

Mexico stated that the question of legal capacity was not exclusive to this article but is linked to issues in other articles as well.  National laws may contain provisions on legal and personal representation of PWD and we must provide safeguards to prevent abuse.  The issue may be solved through inclusion of an article that would explicitly ensure the dignity and integrity of PWD even when there is no violation of national legislation. This would provide parties with leeway to provide protection as a positive measure - not as a limitation but rather as a legal regime.  Mexico stated that, to achieve this, it had circulated a draft article to stand as an independent article on personal legal representation for consideration at the next session.  It noted that Canada’s text was also a good platform for further debate.  Mexico stressed the importance of addressing legal representation, though it was flexible with regard to language.

Argentina stated that Canada’s proposal was balanced and useful for further negotiations and that it would support the text.  It noted the reference in paragraph 4 to the paradigm of assistance in decision making and said that it would continue to study IDC’s proposal.

New Zealand supported the new language of Article 12 as a good balance between the need to signal a paradigm shift and need to provide some level of detail about measures required to ensure PWD have the support required to enjoy legal capacity and that support is free from abuse.  While it might suggest some changes, New Zealand welcomed the text as basis for further discussion. It noted that IDC’s concerns had been well expressed and would be carefully considered.  New Zealand also stated that it would consider Mexico’s proposal.   This article is extremely important and its ideas cannot be jeopardized by an inability to reach a consensus.

The Russian Federation supported the text as a basis for discussion.  Though it noted concerns about formulation of paragraphs 2, 3 and 4, it reserved its final position until later.  It question whether it was necessary to include “in all aspects of life” in paragraph 2.   It had concerns similar to those of Serbia and Montenegro, however it preferred Canada’s text of 2(bis).  The Russian Federation noted that CEDAW was used as a basis for the development of the language regarding legal capacity in civil matters and stated that more analysis was needed to determine the extent to which the context of disability requires further expansion of this concept.  It stated that it would consider the text carefully before the next meeting, noting that this article has broad application and may be more complicated than it appears. 

Australia supported Canada’s proposal as the basis for further discussion. The language clearly enshrined the desired paradigm shift toward supported decision-making.  It shared the concern of Serbia and Montenegro regarding coverage of representation regimes and corresponding safeguards.  However, Australia believed that the proposal provided for this in a subtle but meaningful way through the concept of proportionality of measures and safeguards according to each person’s circumstances.  The provision did not force a prediction of when 100% support is or is not legally required.   It provided a sound basis for implementation and for monitoring.  Australia noted that there were a range of views regarding whether or not to explicitly reference personal representation and that some views were strongly held.  Flexibility would be required to reach a consensus.  What was clear was that the provision must not allow states to have processes that exclude capacity as the norm.

Jamaica agreed that the Canadian text was a good basis on which to proceed, although it could be improved.  The provision must recognize PWD as persons before the law, ensure that they enjoy their legal capacity on equal basis with others, and provide for the fact that in some cases support would be required.  This support can range from very little to substantial support, and appropriate corresponding safeguards are necessary.  It is important that these safeguards are linked to the support being provided and not to the legal capacity of the person.  Therefore, it favored IDC’s proposed amendment of paragraph. 4 of the Canadian proposal.  With this amendment incorporated, Jamaica supported adopting Canada’s proposal as the basis for future discussions. 

The Syrian Arab Republic stated the Canada’s proposal for paragraph 2 was very different from the working text in that it deleted the exclusive reference to PWD having the legal ability to act.  The Syrian Arab Republic recalled its earlier comment that people with mental disabilities cannot legally represent themselves. They have the right to be treated in accordance with the law, provided that their special circumstances are taken into account.  It stated that paragraph 2(a) of the original text included very important concepts but had been deleted from the text revised by Canada.  It stated that paragraph 3 of the Canadian proposal was not clear.  Paragraph 4 discussed personal representation, which had already been covered in 2(b) of the original text.  In paragraph 5, the Syrian Arab Republic stated that it was necessary to reference the kind of disability in order to clarify the level of ability to act before granting rights to own property, manage financial affairs, etc.  This must be done to protect PWD from exploitation and abuse in these matters. 

Yemen stated that unless the concerns of some delegations regarding “laws of special representation or lack of representation” were addressed, some of these countries would not be “allowed to join the convention without proper verification.”  The two proposals were still unclear with regard to the distinction between legal representation or legal capacity and ability to enjoy it.  Even persons without disabilities cannot, in some circumstances, enjoy their legal capacity.  This is true in cases of trauma or sickness.  Likewise, although Yemen supported the principle of independence of PWD and the right to equal recognition before the law, it stated that there are certain handicaps and disabilities that will not allow a person to enjoy independent legal capacity.  As such, representation in itself has something is related to major life issues, such as religion, life practices, etc.  Therefore, Yemen could not support the last two lines of the proposal.  It concurred with Serbia and Montenegro regarding the need for explicit recognition of personal representation as something that is needed in certain circumstances.   It reiterated the need to make a distinction between legal capacity and the ability to exercise it.  Yemen supported the comments of the Syrian Arab Republic regarding inheritance and other financial matters, noting that it would be difficult for Yemen to show flexibility on this issue.  With regard to this, the convention should defer to national legislation.

The Chair reminded the committee that the task before it was to decide which text – the Chair’s text or the proposed revision – should serve as the basis for further discussion in August.  

The United States supported Canada’s text as the basis for further discussion, which reflected the basic approach taken in the US.

Kenya, on behalf of Africa Group, supported the Canadian text as a basis for further discussion. It stated that both the Canadian text and the IDC proposal focused too heavily on the paradigm shift and not enough on the situation in which PWD do require somebody else to make decisions on their behalf.  This article must explicitly protect the rights of those persons, who are particularly vulnerable. It is not sufficient to stop at the point of supported decision making.  Neglecting to ensure the rights of those whose disabilities are so severe that they cannot express their preferences would represent a critical failure of the convention.  As we draft this convention, the rights of all persons with disabilities must be the key focus, including the most vulnerable.  With respect to Africa, if the wording in this article was not exactly right, many states would likely attach reservations to the convention.

Austria, on behalf of EU, supported the Canadian proposal, although imperfect, as a basis for further discussion.  This proposal better reflected the idea that while respecting legal capacities, this convention must be drafted with a view to the future and promote the paradigm shift toward supported decision making.  However, that shift is not complete in any country and if we want widespread ratification, we must respect the current reality as well.   

China stated that the footnote to paragraph 2 in Canada’s text served to dispel many of the concerns and suggested that the footnote be retained in revised text.  It proposed adding “principles of applicable…” after “with” in paragraph 3, line 3.  This would help to solve the problems that arise in many countries with respect to the application of international law.  In paragraph 4, line 7, China proposed adding “or other” before “reveal, to take into account different judicial systems.  It supported the comments of the Russian Federation and Australia relating to representation. 

Serbia and Montenegro noted that, based on the discussion, it still preferred the Chair’s text, but would be flexible on integrating Mexico’s or Canada’s text.

Japan supported Canada’s text as basis for further discussion.  It agreed with Kenya that there was a problem with the wording related to legal capacity and proposed replacing “legal capacity” in paragraphs 3 and 4 with “capacity to act.”  However, Japan recognized that consensus would be difficult because of the many different legal systems and stated that another alternative would be to add a clarification in the article, in parenthesis, to reflect that, in some legal systems “legal capacity” means the “capacity to act.”   Japan noted that parenthetical clarifications may not be common in international instruments.  On the issue of substitute representation, Japan supported paragraph 4 as written, because this kind of representation does not exist in Japan and undermines the paradigm shift.  Substitute representation was already implicit in the text, as supported decision making ranges from 1% to 100%.   It proposed deleting “periodic” before “review” in paragraph 4.  The review process should be determined by an independent judiciary and there should be flexibility in the text on this.  Japan stated that paragraphs 4 and 5 were compatible, because in some systems, acts relating to property can be restricted. 

The Chair noted that, in actual practice, 100% support would equate to personal representation.  It is, however, a different approach to that point and eliminates the term “personal representation” which clearly causes difficulty for some delegates and is not consistent with paradigm shift in according to some delegations.  Nonetheless, the reality it is the same.  There is a need to cover all situations, as stated by Kenya.

Costa Rica supported the text by Canada as the best option for proceeding.  Despite many valid legal concerns, this text had the potential to achieve the two key objectives: 1) ensure the paradigm shift through which we will promote supported decision making as much as possible; and 2) as Kenya said, take into account the exceptional cases in which support is not enough provides for that situation.  In a small fraction of cases, the need is not for support to the decision making but support to the person. 

Singapore supported Canada’s text and supported ensuring a distinction between “legal capacity” and “ability to act.”  As stated by Yemen, PWD have the right to equal recognition before the law but in cases where substitute decision making is required, must be the necessary safeguards.  A provision for personal representation should be added in the revised draft. 

The Russian Federation asserted that the proposal from Mexico must be taken into account in further negotiations. It supported providing a footnote recognizing the difficulty of translating the term “legal capacity.”  The Russian Federation stated that, during previous discussions of Article 4, it had submitted a proposal for a separate paragraph, based on the provisions of universal human rights instruments, to be placed between paragraph 3 of the Chair’s text and 3(bis) of the EU proposal.  In context of forthcoming discussion on Article 12, this might prove to be a tool by which the concerns voiced by many delegations could be addressed.

Kenya, on behalf of Africa Group, clarified that it preferred the Chair’s text to the text from Canada.  

The meeting was adjourned.

 

 

AFTERNOON SESSION

Article 12 – Equal recognition before the law (continued)

IDC supported the Canadian proposal for Article 12, as refined by Jamaica and Brazil, noting that while it had some concerns with parts of the language of the proposal it believed they could be addressed within the framework of the supported decision making model reflected in the Canadian proposal.

The Chair noted that both the Canadian proposed text and the Chair’s text received high levels of support and therefore the revised text would include both versions as alternative approaches or potential components for a merged text.  This would preserve the issues for the August meeting and facilitate further discussion at that time.  Given the substantial debate on the significant issues of legal capacity and supported decision making, the Chair stated that it was inappropriate to select one text over the other at this time. 

 

Article 34 - International Monitoring

The Chair stated that the International Labor Office had compiled information addressing the issue and the discussion questions distributed by the Chair.  In addition, several civil society groups had provided comments that were available on the UN Enable website.

South Africa supported the consideration of establishing an independent monitoring mechanism for the convention, pending the outcome of the UN treaty body reform process.  With respect to composition of the monitoring body, it endorsed the inclusion of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations.  It emphasized the importance of balanced gender and regional representation within the membership and specified competency, experience, and expertise in the fields of human rights and disability as critical qualifications for members of the monitoring body.  It proposed that the committee be composed of 18-24 members, representing a diverse nature of disability and multiple competencies.  It noted with interest the possibility, mentioned in Article 38 of the Chair’s discussion text on monitoring (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7discussmonit.htm), of the future transfer of the monitoring system to another body.  It supported a compulsory comprehensive State report within two years of entry-into-force or accession to the convention, as two years is adequate time to establish the necessary framework for implementation of the convention.  It also endorsed additional reports be submitted by States Parties upon request by the monitoring committee.  It supported the competency of the committee to receive direct individual communications and complaints provided that the State Party gives prior consent.  It noted the need to clarify the terms of reference involving the ombudsperson or special disability advocate given the questions that arise in this matter, such as what the similarities and differences will be between the “ombudsperson” and the Special Rapporteur on Disability.

The United States strongly supported the need for international monitoring, but, in light of the current need for treaty body reform and the specific comments of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, it suggested using existing international monitoring bodies in lieu of the creation of a new, independent monitoring committee.  Use of existing monitoring bodies would provide immediate expertise on nondiscrimination, consistency of jurisprudence, efficiency, avoidance of redundancy and cost saving.  The existing bodies, such as the Human Rights Commission, already have jurisdiction over many issues in the convention and have dealt specifically with disabilities issues.  Moreover, mainstreaming into existing bodies could reinvigorate these bodies.  However, the United States emphasized its flexibility on the issue and reserved the right to comment on the Chair’s text on a future occasion.

The Russian Federation supported the concept of international monitoring.  The use of national monitoring systems alone, while an important component of monitoring, will not be sufficient to accomplish timely implementation, monitoring, supervision and oversight of the convention.  The Russian Federation emphasized the importance of considering the various methods of monitoring, such as a system similar to CEDAW, an individual complaints and inquiries program, or a special ombudsperson.  It will also be necessary to take into account the budgetary implication of monitoring programs as well as the need for general UN treaty body reform.  Given the limited financial resources and the need for broad reform within the UN system, it suggested using the United States proposal as an interim solution rather than burdening the already strained treaty body system with another independent monitoring committee.  The existing bodies already have monitoring mandates to ensure the same general rights that are addressed in this convention. Moreover, the need for further special machinery for this convention can be satisfied through “soft law” mechanisms in the General Assembly. Thus, there would be a system of monitoring in the already existing bodies during the period of time when states are creating their own national monitoring machinery and regional cooperation efforts, and until states have sufficient implementation practice.  It noted the arguments against this proposal, namely that existing bodies are already over budget and backlogged.  It emphasized that this proposal is only one possible solution, as is the inclusion of any special article on monitoring.  It suggested the alternative possibility of formulating only the substantive norms within the convention and, based on these norms, establishing the framework for monitoring at a later time, thereby avoiding any delay associated with the potentially long-term debate on this issue.  It also noted the need to consider whether the Ad Hoc Committee had a mandate to discuss the issue at all or if it should request the views of the Third Committee. Finally, it suggested, in light of the myriad questions that arise in connection with this issue, deferring to the next session any detailed discussion of the international monitoring provisions, as they touch upon not only formulation but also political issues.  

Brazil supported the creation of an independent monitoring committee for the convention, stating that without a separate monitoring body, the convention would be “second-rate.”  Despite the need for reform of the UN treaty body system, there is no reason why creation of a monitoring committee for this convention should wait for the outcome of that reform.  Adjustments can always be made after reform is complete and perhaps the monitoring committee itself could serve as an example to influence the reform process.  It supported an initial compulsory state report, but thereafter requiring only responses to specific questions posed by the committee as any further reporting requirements would be a burden to the states.  It reserved the right to comment on other proposals in the Chair’s text at a later date after further study and consideration.

Australia supported the United States and the Russian Federation in their view that creation of a new treaty body would not be necessary or appropriate.  Reform of the treaty body system is needed and to create an additional treaty body at this time would burden an already under funded and inefficient system.  It stated that creation of a new body would present a risk that disability issues are not mainstreamed into current human rights machinery; moreover, the current machinery has ample experience dealing with the issues raised in the convention.  It suggested imposing an obligation on States Parties preparing reports for the current human rights monitoring bodies to include reports on the obligations under this convention.  In addition, the mainstreaming of the disability convention in to current machinery may serve to reinvigorate the system.

Mexico supported the creation of an independent monitoring body for the convention, suggesting the system utilized by the International Convention for Protection of All Persons Against Forced Disappearance as a model of flexibility, innovation, impartiality, efficiency and effectiveness.  It proposed geographical distribution, relevant legal experience, gender equality, and nominations by states as factors to be considered during membership selection.  It supported a four year term with possibility for reelection, and an initial compulsory reporting obligation for a state two years following entry into force or accession.  It also proposed the use of committee inspections, recommendations, and an individual grievance process.

Indonesia supported the concept of international monitoring but voiced its concerns regarding the resource implications of the proliferation of monitoring mechanisms and the need to strengthen and improve existing machinery.  It also questioned the ability of developing countries to fulfill their reporting obligations, but maintained a position of flexibility and cooperation.  It reserved its comments on the Chair’s text for a later date.

Serbia and Montenegro favored the creation of an independent monitoring body.  It supported Brazil’s reasoning that without a separate body the convention will be second-rate.  Furthermore, relying on existing machinery may preclude important involvement of persons with disabilities in the monitoring process and could fail to adequately grasp and address the unique issues facing persons with disabilities.  The minimum timeline predicted for completion of reform of the UN treaty body system is four years, which would delay effective implementation.  It supported 35(2) as a basis for election of the committee but reserved its opinion on whether this process should occur on a national level or through the office of the Secretary General.  It suggested as a possibility a system of national nomination and election with participation of civil society, in particular persons with disabilities and their representative organizations.  It supported an initial membership of 18 persons, increasing proportionately to the number of States Parties.  It supported a four-year term of office with a single chance of reelection, and an initial compulsory reporting obligation on the States Parties two years following entry into force or accession.  It proposed subsequent periodic reporting obligations, regardless of committee request or direction, to ensure continuous supervision.  As to specific issues regarding communications and procedure, it proposed addressing these within the framework of an optional protocol to the convention.  It did not support the use of interstate complaint procedures. It was concerned that regular state conferences would be financially burdensome for some states, and it reserved its opinion regarding a potential ombudsperson until further consideration and study could be completed.  It did question, however, the need to have an additional office to address issues already within the competence of the monitoring committee.

Liechtenstein, voicing concern that the current system would be unable to absorb the large quantity of information that would arise upon entry into force, supported the immediate creation of an independent monitoring body with provisions allowing for future alteration based upon reform of the treaty body system.  It agreed with the Russian Federation’s point that financial implications of any option must be considered.  It emphasized the importance of specific expertise on disability issues in the committee membership, and the lack of this critical experience in current monitoring bodies.  It supported flexible reporting obligations, limited meeting times, and a committee membership of twelve individuals initially, expanding in proportion to the number of States Parties.  It proposed the nomination of candidates through the office of Secretary General with election of members by States Parties.  It supported state conferences, proposing that these coincide with the meetings to elect committee members.  It noted the potential use of an ombudsperson as a visible face of the convention, with closer ties to media than a committee could engender, but also noted the need to define how the ombudsperson would be integrated into the system.

China enumerated three principles fundamental to the issue of international monitoring.  First, it emphasized the need to maintain focus on the purpose of the convention to heighten national and international attention to the rights of persons with disabilities and effective protection and promotion of those rights; consequently, monitoring should facilitate national participation in implementation and ensuring effectiveness.  Second, it mentioned the need to establish and improve the monitoring mechanisms of all countries.  Monitoring is first and foremost the responsibility of States Parties through legislation and other measures, with the assistance of more than one hundred agencies worldwide assisting in the protection and promotion of rights of persons with disabilities.  Third, it noted the importance of giving equal weight to efficacy and efficiency.  This involves consideration of utilization of current UN resources and the lessons to be drawn from other monitoring of other conventions.  It noted the already important role the Special Rapporteur on Disability has played in monitoring the implementation of the Standard Rules.  Moreover, the Panel of Experts and the functional bodies in the UN are a closely coordinated tool of implementation and monitoring.  China suggested utilization of existing mechanisms, in light of the above concepts and facts, to supplement and complement the implementation of the convention, and it supported strong consideration of the proposals made by the United States, the Russian Federation and others.  Finally, it suggested further study on the issue to avoid overlap and waste of resources, and to find the best solution acceptable to all parties.

Austria, on behalf of the EU, first referred others to its “non-paper” posted on the UN Enable website. (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7contgovs.htm). This document addresses selection criteria, including independence from government, gender balance, knowledge, experience, and election by States Parties.  It supported a committee similar in size to CRC or CEDAW committees, beginning with twelve members and increasing to eighteen based on the increase in numbers of States Parties.  It proposed a term of office of five years with a single chance of reelection.  It proposed that the committee have a list of issues for each member state to address in its reports, and it supported state reporting upon request by committee.  It allowed for the possibility of regular reporting, if necessary, but did not support a requirement of full-scale reports in this case; it proposed that focused reporting in such a situation would be more efficient and appropriate.  It noted that the EU had not yet reached a consensus on the issue of competence of the committee to receive individual communications, stating that many states feel it would be best to wait for the resolution of establishing a complaints procedure for the ICESCR.  It was also undecided as to an interstate complaint procedure, but it supported an inquiry procedure for the committee.  It also noted the usefulness of other processes and mechanisms, such as biannual States Parties conferences or an Ombudsperson, but suggested further discussion on these issues.
 
Kenya reserved the right to comment in detail at a future time but generally supported the establishment of an independent monitoring body for the convention, despite impending treaty body reform.  It suggested immediate establishment of the committee with a mechanism included for future amendment.  It noted positively the ideas in the Chair’s text.  It supported the establishment of national mechanisms as proposed in the draft.  It also supported the idea of voluntary reporting by non-member states.  It supported flexible reporting requirements and consultations on the national level of various issues.  It noted its continuing consideration of the issue of individual communication, and it also noted the potential usefulness of an inquiry procedure and States Parties conferences to ensure convergence and global consistency.  It supported latitude for the committee to conduct studies but was still considering the idea of a disability advocate.  It largely supported the majority of the Chair’s text and would return to a detailed discussion at the next meeting.

The Special Rapporteur supported the Chair with respect to the need to use international expedience, drawing on the strengths and avoiding the weaknesses of existing monitoring systems.  Because of the new conceptual ideas introduced by the convention, that is, the protection of a group that encompasses all gender, race, age, ethnicity, and religion through the reformulation of human culture, she proposed developing all-inclusive monitoring machinery that considers regional, national and international dimensions.  On the national level, she supported utilizing advocates from a country in line with the convention, half of them being persons with disabilities, to monitor the government and to record encroachments and breaches.  She proposed the appointment of an Ombudsperson in each State Party who would consider any complaints filed.  On a regional level, she supported the creation of a regional body to observe and follow up on implementation, assisting individual States Parties in this regard.  On the international level, she suggested the establishment of an expert international committee, with membership drawing from the representative organizations of persons with disabilities and experts on disabilities issues, to review reports from States Parties, representative organizations, and regions and states working closely with the Special Rapporteur in charge of a specific program of monitoring, increasing awareness and international action.  Finally, she reiterated the necessity of an accurate monitoring system to the success of the convention.

IDC strongly supported the need for an independent monitoring body, as disability issues have never been included in the core of the existing Human Rights framework.  The existing system has not dealt with the issue of rights of persons with disabilities yet, or has only done so from a welfare perspective or on its own terms.  It emphasized, therefore, that failure to create an independent committee would largely nullify the fruits of the convention; it would exclude persons with disabilities from participation in the monitoring process.  Finally, it stated that its responses to the individual proposals within the Chair’s text would be posted on the internet, noting its support for a disability rights advocate to create synergy between existing specialized procedures and the treaty body process.

Adoption of the Report 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 on its seventh session

(http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7report-e.htm)

The Chair noted that the Eighth Session of the Ad Hoc Committee would meet from 14-25 August, 2006 instead of 7-18 August, 2006, the dates originally stated in the Report and the GA Resolution 60/232.  All other errors in the report would be corrected as well.  The Chair emphasized draft proposal 13 under Section 4 (Recommendations), which would allow for assistance for those with visual impairments during the next AHC session.  The Committee approved Section 1 (Introduction), Section 2 (Organizational Matters), and Section 3 (Organization of Work) of the Report for adoption.

In the context of Section 4 (Recommendations), specifically draft proposal 13 regarding Braille services, the Secretary presented a synopsis of the financial implications of the Braille printer services and a projected cost for the services, excluding staff and training, during the eighth session ($6,400.00) and during 2007 ($12,800.00).  He noted that Services for the Visually Impaired and Duxbury Systems provided the Braille services and that the Department of Economic and Social Affairs operated the printer.  He stated that the UN Voluntary Funding on Disability met the costs for the Braille services during the Seventh Session and suggested a similar approach during future sessions.  He noted however that, while discussion regarding the implementation of broader services for the visually and hearing impaired is ongoing, due to the reality of limited resources, the long-term funding situation must be further explored. 

The Chair noted surprise at the high projected costs for the Braille services.  He stated that his understanding was that the cost of operating the printer was significantly less than the number stated – approximately $3,000 -  and that his consultations with senior members of the Secretariat had revealed with the costs could be met within existing resources.  

The United States also expressed surprise at the projected cost for Braille services, stating that it had had the impression that the costs would be negligible and could be met through existing resources.   For this reason, the US reserved its decision regarding approval of Section 4 of the Report. 

The Chair asserted that this cost of this essential service was not prohibitive in the context of the UN budget and would have to be covered one way or another. 

The Chair noted that there are two annexes to the Report.  Annex 1 contains a list of additional NGOs accredited to the AHC.  Annex 2 is the revised draft articles, which are incorrectly headed now; there is no report as such from the Chairman yet, only the draft articles.  The Report was adopted and the Chair moved on to make closing remarks to assess where the negotiating process is and to suggest a way forward. The Chair summarized the status of each section of the convention by sorting the articles into three categories: no significant issues remaining, some issues remaining, and difficult issues remaining.

The “some issues remaining” category includes the Preamble, Article 2 (definitions), the new Article 4(h), Article 4(1) (a) to (c), and the issue of where to include women and children.  Other issues in this category include Article 6(2) and whether to merge it with another paragraph, Article 7(4) regarding children and the state, the expansion of Article 11 to include situations of risk, Article 21 and the list of forms of communication, and the bracketed language in Article 23 regarding national laws.  The Chair noted in the context of Article 23 and “national laws” that a footnote would be included in the travaux preparatoires to indicate that the article is not meant to contradict national laws but to ensure nondiscrimination against persons with disabilities within the context of national laws.  Also included in this category is Article 24 on education, the deletion of Article 26(2), Article 28 and whether to use “social protection” or “social security,” and the language of Article 32. 

The Chair also noted several articles that still have difficult issues remaining.  Article 12 issues, in the context of a support model and its safeguards, include the proper degree of prescription and the inclusion of a reference to personal representatives.  Regarding Article 17, there is still no language that satisfies the issues raised.  In Article 25, the issues of sexual and reproductive health services include misinterpretation problems, but the Chair stated that a note would be included in the travaux preparatoires to guide subsequent interpretation of this language. 

The Chair noted that delegates should come to the August session having considered different perspectives and demonstrating flexibility on how to move forward.  The Chair noted that for the August session the focus should be on remaining substantive issues and international monitoring, not on linguistics or technicalities.  He requested that delegates decide on what they can live with as opposed to what they ideally would like to have.  Regarding international monitoring, he noted the need informal consultations on the issue, and he invited Mexico to convene the consultations.  He stated that regarding the draft final provisions he would ask Liechtenstein to work with legal experts from delegations to create a basis for the session in August.  He noted that if everyone approaches the August session in a self-disciplined way then he could foresee the adoption of the convention at some stage in the 61st General Assembly.  Lastly, he thanked everyone.  
 
The Chair’s entire closing remarks can be found on the UN Enable website, available at http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7Chairclose.htm

In response to a question from the Syrian Arab Republic regarding footnotes, the Chair stated that the footnotes will appear as footnotes in the revised text, that they will be incorporated in some way in the final adopted report or text, and that they are an integral part of the agreement.

Sudan, Australia, Costa Rica on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean Group, Austria on behalf of the EU, Yemen, South Africa, the United States, and the IDC all expressed their gratitude to the Chair, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the Bureau, the Secretariat, the other delegations and all other people who made this session of the AHC a success.  Regarding the Chair’s leadership, Costa Rica captured the sentiments of the delegations in its statement to the Chair, “The great sign of wisdom is constant serenity.  You, sir, are extremely wise.”

Australia strongly supported the Report recommendations regarding Braille, noting that the preparation of convention documents in Braille is representative of the many small adjustments—which are reasonable rather than a disproportionate, unjustifiable burden or an undue hardship—that will allow persons with disabilities to function in society on an equal basis with others. 
The IDC in its later statements echoed this point.

The Chair thanked the Bureau for advice and assistance on behalf of all.

Austria, on behalf of the EU, mentioned that it would like the European Commission to join this convention as a State Party, a technical matter it hopes can be easily addressed.  It also noted the positive contributions of NGOs and civil society through this process and called for their continued inclusion in future sessions of the AHC.  It emphasized that while the accessibility of the UN has greatly improved, efforts should be made to continue improvements in this area not just during the AHC but also intersessionally to ensure full participation by persons with disabilities at the UN.

The IDC thanked the Department of Economic and Social Affairs for its efforts in providing text in Braille, which made it easy for full participation.  It also thanked those delegations that supported its proposals and suggestions through incorporation into proposed amendments, all states that contributed to the UN Voluntary Funding on Disability and those delegations that included persons with disabilities among their members.  It emphasized the importance of continuing the contributions to the UN Voluntary Funding on Disability and the need to have continued participation by persons with disabilities in the future drafting and negotiations processes for this convention. 

The IDC noted that there were complex issues remaining in regard to definitions, especially the definition of “persons with disabilities,” which it stressed must be full and comprehensive to ensure against exclusion of any person with a disability.  It emphasized the importance of a twin-track approach for women and children and noted the need for further reference to these groups in articles on employment, education, and political participation.  It also mentioned that the conspicuous absence of a reference to indigenous persons should be addressed so these persons are not excluded from the Convention.  It emphasized the need for a support model and free and informed consent, which are tied to the ability to exercise full legal capacity and protection against involuntary treatment.  It emphasized that the paradigm shift is essential for true change, and only a convention embracing the paradigm shift will truly be welcomed by persons with disabilities around the world. 

The 7th Session of the Ad Hoc Committee was adjourned.

 

 

 


The Seventh Ad Hoc Committee Daily Summaries is a public service by Rehabilitation international (RI)*, a global network promoting the Rights, Inclusion and Rehabilitation of people with disabilities. RI extends its sincere gratitude to the Government of Mexico for its generous support as well as to the Government of Liechtenstein for their technical support towards this project. RI also recognizes the significant contribution of the Council for American Students in International Negotiations (CASIN), whose members are serving as reporters for the Seventh Session.

The daily summaries are available online at http://www.riglobal.org/un/index.html in MSWord; http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7summary.htm; and http://www.ishr.ch

Reporters for Volume 8, #15 were Haley Nicholson, Kate Burum and Kristen Buttram. Editors for  #15 were Kristen Buttram and Joelle Balfe, who is also the Coordinator for the Volume 8 series. Please forward any corrections or comments to joelle8summaries@yahoo.com.

Anyone wishing to disseminate the Summaries and/or translate them into additional languages is encouraged to do so, with the request that you please retain the above crediting language.

* The Daily Summaries do not reflect the views of Rehabilitation International.


Home | Sitemap | About us | FAQs | Contact us

United Nations, 2006
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Division for Social Policy and Development