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Back to: Seventh Session of the Ad Hoc Committee
Summaries of the Seventh Session

Daily summary of discussion at the seventh session
25 January 2006

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

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Volume 8, #8
January 25, 2006

 

 

 

MORNING SESSION

Article 25 - Health

The Chair continued discussion of Article 25 from the previous day.

Written proposals and statements were submitted by the following delegations, UN agencies and NGOs:

Kenya (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7kenya.htm)
EU (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7docs/ahc7eu1.doc)
Mexico (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7mexico.htm)
US (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7usa.htm)

World Health Organisation (WHO) (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7docs/ahc7whoart25.doc)

Federation of and for People with Disabilities (Kenya) (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7docs/ahc7fdpart2526.doc)
IDC (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7docs/ahc7idcart25.doc)
Japan Disability Forum (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7docs/ahc7jdf1.doc)
Mental Disability Rights International (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7docs/ahc7mdriart25.doc)
Society of Catholic Social Scientists (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7docs/ahc7scssart25.doc)

South Africa expressed that health is a constitutional right central to the public health policy of any country. South Africa proposed changing the second sentence of the chapeau to read “States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure accessibility and availability of health services facilities and goods for persons with disabilities,…” The reference to “sexual and reproductive health” should be retained in 25(a). The language at the end of 25(b) regarding prevention needs further clarification and may need to be deleted.

The Chair responded that the language in 25(b) is intended to cover the situation where PWD develop further disabilities due to the lack of health care. He noted the point made repeatedly by El Salvador that children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable in this respect.

Brazil strongly supported deleting the brackets around “sexual and reproductive health services.” This article should include women with disabilities and Brazil recommended language from the joint facilitator’s proposal (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7docs/ahc7fachwo.doc). A provision on reasonable accommodation should be added after 25(b), thus making it 25(b)(bis).. Brazil supported IDC’s proposed 25(d) prohibiting forced interventions and forced sterilizations.

Norway supported US proposal to add “in an accessible environment and on an equal basis with others.” to the end of the chapeau. It also supported retaining “sexuality and reproductive health.” Norway did not support South Africa’s proposal on children and the elderly, noting that the entire life cycle should be covered. It suggested language such as “at all stages of life” to cover this idea. Norway interpreted “on the basis of free and informed consent” in 25(d) as not excluding assistive or substitutive decision making. It supported IDC's proposal to 25(d) to replace “where necessary” with “inter-alia.” The US proposal for 25(e) was noted as interesting, but one that needs further study.

Morocco suggested that 25(b) be amended to include the statement that “States Parties shall take all precautions to prevent disabilities from arising.” Maternal and child health services, including vaccinations, are critical to preventing disabilities. Failure to treat rheumatic diseases, due to resource constraints, leads to a high incidence of disabilities, especially in the South. It suggested addressing qualifications of health personnel, including continuing medical education, in order to better serve PWD. This could be added to Article 24(d) on education and teacher training. It also supported the US proposals, especially the new sub-paragraphs 25(e) and 25(g) on genetic and technological resources.

Syrian Arab Republic asserted that the chapeau should be strengthened and more detail added to the subparagraphs. It supports the deletion of “sexual and reproductive health services” in 25(a), noting that such wording does not appear in other international conventions and supporting the Holy See's argument against creating any new international rights that are binding on States Parties. It supported Qatar’s comments regarding the need for food and nutrition. Syrian Arab Republic supported 25(b), ensuring the right of PWD to necessary health services and adding a paragraph on the prevention of disabilities. It noted the importance of improving training of health personnel.

Austria, on behalf of the European Union, suggested replacing “physical and mental health” with “health” in the chapeau, noting that “health” includes mental, physical and social health. In 25(a), “and quality” should be added after “standard.” The brackets around “sexual and reproductive health services” should be deleted and the language retained. The EU argued that these terms do not refer to abortion, despite the concern expressed by many delegations. The delegate suggested that the US proposal on genetic data and technology does not relate to health and should not be a part of this article. It supported IDC’s proposal in 25(b) to delete “where necessary” and include “inter-alia” and agreed with China’s proposal to move 17(3) to Article 25. Qatar’s proposal regarding food and water has some merit conceptually, but the language requires further work before it is acceptable.

The Chair stated his understanding of China’s proposal on Article 17(3) was that it not be moved to Article 25 and the EU stated that it could accept moving it or keeping it where it is.

Kenya outlined all of the changes in its written proposal. It noted that its suggestion to replace “provide” with “ensure the provision of,” in 25(b) was made because many services are provided by the private sector, not by states. It stated that its proposal to 25(e) was to clarify the language which was unclear. Kenya explained that the language in 25(f) was taken from the previous text, and was necessary due to the lack of understanding of disability issues by health professionals. It supported IDC’s new (d) ter concerning informed consent.

Yemen supported the deletion of “physical and mental” in the chapeau, asserting that psychological health is different from mental health; mental disease may be a result of physical ailment, etc., and thus “health” would cover all interpretations. Regarding 25(a), PWD are in greater need of health programs and thus the reference to “on an equal basis” is not appropriate. Illness for PWD may compound their disability, and vice versa. Therefore “as provided other persons” should be replaced with “in accordance with the conditions of their disability.” The term “sexual and reproductive health” should be deleted. The delegate noted that it is not only culture that complicates the inclusion of this language but that the difficulty of different interpretations should be avoided. Regarding 25(d), Yemen reiterated the concern about the concept of “equality” that it had raised in 25(a) and proposed adding the same language to (d) that it had proposed in (a). It supported Qatar’s proposal to merge two paragraphs to read “To reaffirm the right of persons with disabilities to receive food and nutritional supplements and adequate treatment and not to deprive them of these services, which could lead to their deaths.” Yemen stated that it would consult with Morocco regarding its comment on prevention of disability but supported its proposal regarding the need to raise the quality of health services provided in developing countries.

Japan supported the Chair’s text, although it favored stronger reflection of the language of 12(2)(d) of the Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR). To this end, it suggested amending the second sentence of the chapeau to read “States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to create conditions which would assure to all persons with disabilities health and rehabilitation services.” It suggested the third sentence of the chapeau should be combined or linked with the previous sentence. In 25(a), Japan supported retaining “sexual and reproductive services”. Regarding 25(d), Japan proposed deleting “on the basis of free and informed consent” for reasons expressed earlier in the week. If deletion is not supported, it should be changed to “including free and informed consent.” The US proposal to 25(e) seemed unnecessary as statistics and data collection are covered in Article 31, and its new 25(g) appeared to be a general statement that did not belong in an article on health.

The Philippines noted that its state policy protects the right of health of PWD and makes health services available to them at an affordable cost. It supported the US proposal on the role of parents in decision making and the Chair’s text regarding early identification of disability. It would be flexible regarding the bracketed language in 25(a), with the understanding that the provision is compatible with the respect for human rights.

Senegal noted the primacy of health and its inter-dependence with all other aspects of life. It supported Kenya’s proposal to refer to quality of services in 25(a) and to stipulate that PWD should be provided with either free health services or services at affordable prices. It noted the US suggestion for re-wording “sexual and reproductive health services” and supported “reproductive care.” Senegal also supported Morocco’s proposal concerning the establishment of health agencies.

El Salvador agreed with the proposed text in general. However, “heath-related rehabilitation” could be deleted from the chapeau as it is covered in Article 26. 25(a) should be amended to read: “Provide persons with disabilities on an equal footing with others comprehensive and quality health services.” El Salvador supported Chile’s proposal on the Spanish translation of “elderly.”

Jordan noted that “sexual and reproductive health services” creates a problem regarding implementation and must be deleted or amended. It supported the US proposal, believing that “health services” is broader than just medical services. Regarding the US proposal on 25(e), Jordan believed that genetic research is very important and noted the need for a legal solution and restrictions on genetic research to address gender selection favoring male over female children, which threatens the demographic balance of societies and often results in girl babies being neglected and deprived of life. It proposed new wording in 25(d) to address this issue. It supported Morocco’s proposal on prevention, but stressed that early detection and intervention should begin after birth to avoid the “elimination” of births of babies with disabilities. It also supported the US proposal regarding the role of parents in the life and health of their children but suggested that its proposed new 25(g) applies to more than health and would be better placed in Article 31.

The Chair discussed the idea of prevention as raised by Morocco and Jordan. In 25(b) there is a requirement regarding early identification and intervention as appropriate. The issue is in a health-based context and has been raised by many states.

Uruguay supported Mexico’s proposal to change the placement of “health-related rehabilitation” in the chapeau. The proposal to have a broad concept of health is valid and the EU proposal to delete references to physical and mental health is understood. It did not support the US proposal to replace “services” with “care”, but could accept “services and care”. Uruguay supported retaining “sexual and reproductive services,” agreeing with the EU that this is not about abortion, but suggested consideration of “sexual and reproductive health” as an alternative to address concerns. Regarding 25(e), it doubted that this is the appropriate article in which to include this language. Also, Uruguay supported the Mexican proposal to replace “where permitted by national law” with “under the terms of national legislation.”

Costa Rica strongly supported the idea that “sexual and reproductive health services” does not refer to abortion. It suggested that Uruguay’s proposal may provide a drafting solution and was a good suggestion. It should be noted that this committee is drafting a convention, not regulations. It supported the ideas behind the proposals made by the US and Qatar. However, noting other delegations’ statements carefully, the best way to reach consensus is to build on those ideas but to limit the language. Costa Rica appealed to the US and Qatar to meet with other delegations that expressed interest in order to find a solution that incorporates safeguards and still recognizes the others’ opinions on detail of language.

Pakistan supported the deletion of “sexual and reproductive health services.”

Sudan noted that the right to health is particularly important for PWD. It supported deleting “sexual and reproductive health services,” asserting that the concept is not found in other conventions. In this convention, questions should be answered instead of created. In the chapeau, Sudan supported Yemen’s proposal include “in accordance with the conditions of their disability” instead the phrase dealing with the health of others. It supported Qatar regarding the mention of access to food and nutrition, as it had in previous proposals, and Morocco’s proposal regarding prevention in 25(b). It also strongly supported proposals to enhance the level of training of all health care personnel.

Mali supported retaining “sexual and reproductive health services” recognizing that women with disabilities often experience discrimination with regard to reproductive health. The concept of health insurance should be retained in 25(e).

Canada reiterated its strong support for the text and noted the strong basis for consensus. It supported the retention of “sexual and reproductive health services.” Canada stated that this article is guaranteed on an equal basis with others and it did not understand why there were so many concerns about it.

Egypt agreed with Canada that it is necessary to affirm equality with other persons, but stated that it would be more comfortable if “sexual and reproductive health services” was deleted.

Ethiopia supported deleting “ physical and mental” in the chapeau as “health” is more accommodating of all aspects of the subject. It supported retaining “sexual and reproductive health services” and the US proposal on genetic research.

Qatar supported Yemen’s proposal to merge the two paragraphs dealing with food and necessary medical care, asserting that denial of food and nutrition can lead to death.

US supported the concept of Qatar’s proposal and would study the new language proposed.

The Chair drew attention to the statement circulated by the UN Special Rapporteur on Health, Mr. Paul Hunt. He then gave the floor to the World Health Organization (WHO)

The WHO representative explained that the constitution of the WHO establishes that the maximum degree of health that can be attained is a fundamental right for every human being. To cooperate with States in guaranteeing that right, WHO offers technical cooperation to promote and protect that right in the context of PWD. There are two fundamental elements of health. The first is the social determinants of health and the second is health services and health care. The latter includes the four basic components of primary health care established by the Declaration of Alma Ata (http://www.who.int/hpr/NPH/docs/declaration_almaata.pdf): attention, protection, prevention and rehabilitation. Of these four, rehabilitation is often the weakest component of primary healthcare. The representative reiterated the former High Commissioner for Human Rights’ statement that the right to health continues to be an illusion for millions and that health is not a marginal element but the most fundamental human right, necessary for a life of dignity. Drawing attention to the WHO’s proposal to Article 25, the spokesperson noted that, because rehabilitation is also an illusion for the majority of PWD, it is the duty of the WHO to ensure that all elements of rehabilitation are included in the article relating to health and that PWD are provided the same healthcare opportunities that are available to other persons, including sexual and reproductive health care and public health programs. Regarding sexual and reproductive health, there appears to be confusion regarding what this actually means. It has to do with the comprehensive heath of all women and is generally part of health services in most states. Many women with disabilities do not receive these services, and this increases their risk for communicable diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and also decreases early detection of breast cancer, cervical cancer and other life threatening diseases. The right to sexual and reproductive health care is consistent with the Convention on the Elimination of All Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and with Genera Comment 14 of the CESCR. WHO has also suggested that programs be closely related with those in the education and labor sectors and include the full participation of PWD. In addition, WHO supported training in disability issues for all medical and health personnel. There is also a need to promote equal participation and improve quality of life of PWD by reducing attitudinal and physical barriers.

A representative from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), a WHO regional office, continued by stating that Article 25 should refer to measures adopted by states aimed at ensuring not only access to health services, but also to health facilities, care, treatment, and quality drugs, in conformity General Comment 14 of CESCR. Also in line with CESCR, it should also refer to preventive health care and include mention of the treatment and rehabilitative care of children, both boys and girls, and the elderly. The article should provide for the formation of interdisciplinary public health teams to prevent disabilities and require that they receive training on human rights standards and norms regarding the protection of integrity, personal freedoms and informed consent. Public health personnel should also be trained in international standards relating to restriction of rights in exceptional circumstance, stressing that such restriction should be limited in duration and subject to periodic review according to international standards. PAHO also recommended that the article refer to measures to ensure that public health personnel understand their obligation as government representatives to provide health care that protects all rights and fundamental freedoms. The ethical standards in Article 25 should conform to standards established in other instruments addressing public health.

IDC referred to its proposal posted online and outlined the changes therein. It stressed that differentiating between “physical and mental health” and “health” is not necessary and that a gender reference is necessary. With regard to “sexual and reproductive health,” the agendas behind the linguistic proposals of “care” and “services,” etc. were unclear. This is about the rights of PWD. IDC stressed the need for accessibility in health care and asserted that it is not necessary to address prevention in a convention on the rights of PWD. It noted its proposal to 25(b), but stated its flexibility regarding Norway’s suggestion of “at all stages of life” as an alternative to its own proposed language “of all ages.” IDC stressed the need for PWD to exercise free choice with regard to health care as the justification of its proposed 25(d) bis. The concept of informed consent is central to this article, as reflected in (d) ter, which addresses consent in relation to a range of services and interventions. It noted its flexibility regarding the placement of the statement “No child shall be sterilized on the basis of disability.” but was not flexible regarding its inclusion. The IDC also noted the support of some delegates of the concepts in its proposed (d) quarter, which ensures that PWD to have access to their own medical records and the right to prevent disclosure of information to third parties. Referring to the US proposal to change “services” to “care”, IDC did not support this proposal. “Care” will add a paternalistic tone that is not helpful. In addition, genetics should not be addressed here, as they are not disability-specific. The same is true of scientific research. IDC supported Mexico regarding training of staff and professionals in disability awareness and thanked Qatar for its proposal, which is important but may require further linguistic adjustments. With regard to the WHO’s statement, IDC commented that rehabilitation is not only a part of health but is a much broader concept. It noted that much of what was proposed by the WHO is too detailed, even for IDC.

Women’s IDC reiterated its support for the inclusion of reproductive health. Women with disabilities are not included in mainstream health care programs, particularly with regard to maternal and gynecological issues. There is a lack of knowledge of the interaction of disability and sexuality among the medical community. Many women with disabilities are sent to poorly equipped, rehabilitation-focused facilities or facilities that are not accessible. Many women with HIV/AIDS are deprived of medications on the basis of gender. That is why it is important to add “gender-sensitive” to the chapeau. Additionally, women with disabilities face stereotypes concerning their sexuality as well their parenting abilities. IDC’s 25(c) bis is proposed to address this, and its proposed addition to 25(d) also addresses women specifically.

Another representative of IDC noted delegations’ support for the IDC’s strengthened language on informed consent and for the replacement of “where necessary” with “inter alia” in 25(d). It noted that Mexico’s proposal to divide 25(d) into three paragraphs is an alternative that ensures that free and informed consent is addressed as a right in itself or as an aspect of the right to health, and not simply dealt with as a subject for training or a matter for ethical standards. CESCR General Comment 14 defines the right to health as encompassing a range of freedoms and entitlements, including the right to control one’s body, sexual and reproductive freedoms and the right to be free from interference and the entitlement to a system of health protection on a basis of equality. The representative agreed with Norway’s comment that informed consent should be interpreted in the light of an understanding of legal capacity but disagreed that this includes substitute decision-making. The IDC’s position on children’s rights in decision-making, also supported by the facilitator on children’s issues, involves recognition of evolving capacity and should be included in Article 3 on General Principles. IDC asserted that 17(3) and (4) contradict the approach to free and informed consent in Article 25. The representative informed the committee that the IDC’s proposal to not differentiate “physical and mental” health was fully endorsed by the IDC member organizations of people with psycho-social disabilities and intellectual disabilities. The term “mental disabilities” is not helpful, nor is separating people with different types of disabilities in relation to the right to health, as the Special Rapporteur has done in his report. Finally, for many PWD, the issue of affordable health care is paramount and may in some cases include the need for free services.

Another IDC representative expressed support for retaining “services” instead of “care” as a more rights-based term. “Care” promotes a perception that PWD need to be taken care of. IDC supported “under terms of national legislation” to replace “where permitted by national law” as proposed by Mexico, and the suggestion by Columbia and the WHO regarding a new paragraph on assistive technology, including orthotic and prosthetic services, but preferred the general term “assistive technology.” IDC noted that there are large groups of people with chronic illness and disease, also sometimes called “medical disabilities” for which healthcare is crucial for survival. Thus this article is relevant to a huge portion of the world’s population.

Federation of and for People with Disabilities (Kenya) asserted that this article must address extreme poverty. Its suggestion to add “free of charge” to 25(b) was precisely because the lack of affordable health care results in PWD not being able to access services that would improve their health and mitigate the effects of their disability, especially in the developing world. Other articles require states to provide assistance and it should be no different with respect to health care. It will require the same level of political will and international cooperation that resulted in free primary education, which is called for in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and which many thought would be impossible to achieve.

People with Disability Australia/Australia National Association of Community Legal Centres stated that the US proposal to replace in 25(a) the word “range” with “quality” would eliminate the horizontal dimension that ensures access to the full breadth of services, including child, women and indigenous health. The qualitative dimension is already covered by the word “standard,” but does not cover the necessary concept that “range” addresses. For the same reasons, replacing “services” with “care” is not supported. The concept of health care is narrower than health services.

MDRI expressed concern that this article references “health care” instead of the broader range of “facilities, goods and services” recognized by the CESCR committee. It did not support the US proposal to replace “services” with “care”, which would further limit the concept. Thus, MDRI supported the proposal of South Africa to include the term “health facilities, goods and services” as critical to ensuring that PWD are not provided a lower standard than others with regard to the right to health. This language should be added in the appropriate places throughout the text. MDRI underscored the point made by the EU, Uruguay and Costa Rica that “services” does not relate to abortion. It reiterated the point made by the previous speaker regarding the US proposal to replace “range” with “quality” in 25(a), adding that it also gives the provision the traditional public health flavor, rather than framing it in human rights terms. MDRI suggested replacing “ensure access” with “ensure the availability and accessibility” in the chapeau and supported Mexico’s proposal to split 25(b) into three separate paragraphs to reflect the principle of free and informed consent more effectively.

National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI) supported the US proposal for 25(e), noting that it reflects very accurately concerns in footnote 78 of the working group draft. NHRI suggested that Article 17(3) and Article 25(d) and (e) are all premised on equality and autonomy. However, Article 17(4) makes a deviation from these other paragraphs and should be revisited and possibly deleted in order to be consistent throughout the text.

Society of Catholic Social Scientists supported comprehensive health care for women. However, it was concerned with the narrow interpretation of women’s health care needs reflected by the use of the term “sexual and reproductive health services.” The representative was also troubled by the lack of equal health care provided to PWD when their life is in the balance and supported Qatar’s proposal concerning the issue of food and water. It stated that quality of life is not determined by the medical community and the basic right of food and water should not be denied based on the perceived “value” of the life in question.

The Chair noted the strong support for the Article on Health. He summarized the extensive discussion as follows:

• There was good support for deleting “physical and mental” before “health” in the chapeau.
• The proposal to restructure the chapeau to be in line with Article 12 of CESCR was not well supported
• There was discussion about referring to health-related rehabilitation, and its inclusion reflected earlier discussions that demonstrated a desire to draw a distinction between health and health-related rehabilitation on the one hand, and general habilitation and rehabilitation on the other hand.
• There was much debate regarding “health care” versus “health services” and the Chair did not understand why this should come into the discussion on the rights of children. The theoretical distinction is that there may be an arcane difference between service and care and some perceive that one includes abortion while the other does not. However, while several delegations expressed the view that “services” does not include a right to abortion, not a single delegation asserted that it does. The goal of the convention is to ensure same rights and services to persons with disabilities as others have. The Chair reiterated that the committee is not in the business of changing national laws with regard to things such as abortion. He noted that Article 12(1) of CEDAW and Article 24(1) of CRC refer to “health care services,” while Article 45(1)(c) of the Convention on Migrant Workers refers to “health services.” As this language has been debated and resolved in these other parts of the UN system, and does not, in fact, appear to include the elements that some are concerned about, it should not be difficult to agree to a formulation here. The Chair suggested that “health care services” would be an appropriate term and asked delegations with different points of view to consult each other if they would like to work on a compromise.
• There was a desire for gender to be dealt with more strongly but there appeared to be no particular support for specific proposed language, and the Chair requested further informal discussion.
• Regarding replacing “standard” with “range” in 25(a), the Chair noted that, on its face, this would exclude access to the same range of services provided to persons without disabilities. The best compromise would be to use the term “range, standard and quality,” ensuring that PWD are treated same basis as others.
• On the issue of affordability, the Chair noted several proposals to refer to free health services. He suggested “the same range, standard and quality of free or affordable health care services as provided to other persons” as a positive solution, which would again place PWD on the same footing with others.
• Regarding “sexual and reproductive health services,” the issue was clearly not resolved and that needs to be reflected in the text.
• A proposal to include a reference to providing language in accessible formats in 25(b) had not been taken up by any other delegates.
• The question with regard to the inclusion in 25(b) of children and the elderly had received a lot of discussion in the past. The issue of mainstreaming particular groups was something that needs to be looked at generically.
• The proposals to refer to “according to the condition of the disability” were not taken up by many delegations and would change the meaning of the text.
• There had been extensive debate on proposals surrounding free and informed consent in 25(d). Some expressed that this did not preclude, in their interpretation, substitute decision-making in extreme circumstances. There were other proposals that would make the requirements for consent even tighter. The Chair commented that the existing language was probably a good balance of the two views.
• Related to consent, the proposal surrounding parental involvement had not come up before and perhaps warrants further reflection. It involves the question of privacy, which is important to a number of jurisdictions and most delegations are probably not familiar with jurisdictional privacy laws. Some had expressed unease about adding new concepts to the article on health, such as the inclusion of reference to genetic data, and the need to reflect on these new ideas was noted.
• There was a strong support for replacing “when necessary” with “inter alia” in 25(d).
• The US proposal to 25(e), covering collection of genetic data, had generated concern and delegates had expressed the need for further reflection.
• In 25(e), a number of delegations referenced the insertion of “where permitted by national law” in reference to life insurance. The Chair noted that the reason for the qualification is that some Islamic countries do not permit life insurance, as expressed at the previous meeting. Kenya’s suggestion to add “where such insurance is permitted by national law” would solve this problem. The approach suggested by several delegations to use “under the terms of national legislation” did not seem to achieve this.
• With respect to Qatar’s proposal regarding providing food and other supplements when not receiving them would ensure death, the Chair noted that the facilitator’s text reflected lack of agreement on this issue when it came up in previous meetings. Although several delegations support Qatar’s proposal, there was not wholehearted support for it and many wished to look further at the language. The Chair noted the remaining division and requested that Qatar meet with colleagues who expressed reservations in order to come up with language acceptable to all.
• Regarding Morocco’s proposal dealing with prevention, the Chair noted that early identification and intervention were dealt with in 25(b) and encouraged informal discussion to find other language that could be generally agreed upon.
• The Chair encouraged delegations to consult on language to address training of health professional, a concept that seemed to have broad support.
• Language on the privacy of medical records was already covered in Article 22(2) and required that States Parties shall protect the privacy of personal, health and rehabilitation information of persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others. The Chair questioned whether it is necessary to have more specific language and noted that, if so, parties should consult and bring something specific forward.
• The proposal by China to reconsider moving Article 17(3) to Article 25 was noted by the Chair. He suggested that the issue could be looked at again when the committee takes a position on whether to retain Article 17(4), which is still an unresolved issue.

ARTICLE 26 – Habilitation and Rehabilitation

The Chair noted receipt of proposals in advance from Kenya and from IDC.

Brazil supported a separate article on this issue and three of the proposals made by IDC. First, it supported the added language in the chapeau to reinforce the idea that “one size does not fit all.” It also supported the reference to informed consent in 26(a). Lastly, it supported the new 26(3) on the design, development, production and availability of communications and assistive technology, which is an important topic missing from the Chair’s text.

Israel proposed adding in 26(1) the word “sensory” after “physical” in the first sentence. In the second sentence, it suggested that the last phrase read “in the areas of health, social services, independent living, employment, education and leisure, in such a way that:” Israel proposed amending the end of 25(1)(a) to read “multidisciplinary comprehensive assessment and intervention of individual needs and abilities.” It fully supported the IDC idea of adding 25(3), noting that rehabilitation is not possible without assistive technology. Finally, training is needed in order to familiarize rehabilitation professionals with the ideas and practices in the convention and Israel proposed adding “consistent with the principles of this convention” to the end of 25(2).

The Chair commented on the IDC proposal for 25(3), recalling that with previous drafts, provisions on promoting design, development, and production of technology were scattered throughout the document and that the committee had tried to reduce those and address the issue in Article 4(f). He noted that Article 4(f) language covers a range of technologies, but may need to be expanded. He discouraged reverting back to the practice of repeating points such as this in a scattered way throughout the text.

Yemen recalled its long involvement on this issue, dating back to April 2003, when it had submitted a text, and noted that it had also provided a revised text to the Secretariat - in both Arabic and English - at the 6th session. Yemen reported that it did not find a reference to that text in the Chair’s letter and explained that it would be willing to submit the text again. It then inquired as to the status of the original submission. It noted that its text supported the right of civil society to participate in habilitation and rehabilitation, addressed the issue of free choice and included need to for PWD to find and access services – all issues that are missing from the current draft. The delegate asserted that the committee should consider its proposal and asked the Chair whether he wanted it to be read into the record or re-submitted in writing.

The Chair stated that it would be appropriate to submit it in writing. He recalled the extensive discussion on this topic and that it had been referred to the facilitator’s group, which had developed language on which the current text was based. The Chair’s noted that over the course of various meetings, the committee had received a large volume of proposals, at one point comprising several hundred pages of text. He requested that Yemen provide any changes in writing.

Yemen agreed with to the Chair’s proposal but stressed that there is a technical problem with the Secretariat concerning translation. It had been told that submissions would only be accepted in English, even though Arabic is an official language of the UN. It asked the Chair if submissions must be submitted in English, or if Arabic and other official languages are acceptable.

The Chair referred the question to the Secretariat.

The Secretariat noted that the requirements of the UN Secretariat include six official languages, but that the working languages are English and French. Noting that this committee is working in the “informal mode,” the Secretariat stated that it is “supposed to provide documentation at this stage in English mainly.” Translation of the documents in the future into the official languages of the UN would be taken into consideration at a later stage.

The session was adjourned.


 

AFTERNOON SESSION

Article 26 – Habilitation and Rehabilitation

The Chair noted that the delegation from Yemen had indicated the day before that it had a text to contribute to the discussion. That proposal was not yet available in writing but Yemen was invited to read it out to the committee so that delegations would have the benefit of those suggestions during its discussion of this article.

Serbia and Montenegro supported the Chair’s text and the separate article on this topic. It favored keeping the chapeau brief but supported IDC’s proposal to mention gender and refer to “all stages of life.” It also supported IDC’s 26(a)bis regarding privacy but felt it should be combined with the concept of training and placed in a separate paragraph elsewhere. It provided language to that end. It supported the reference to assistive technology but believed that it belonged in Article 4 on General Obligations.

Yemen noted that its text was in Arabic but would be translated into English. The delegate stated that “Four is now placed in summary fashion from Article 21 of the report of the working group on health, habilitation and rehabilitation.” Yemen proceeded to read its proposed text for Article 26 on Habilitation and Rehabilitation as follows:

“26(1) States Parties undertake to provide habilitation and rehabilitation to persons with disabilities on mental, physical and other aspects to allow them to live their lives in a natural manner.
26(2) States Parties shall ensure that the habilitation and rehab of PWD takes place only after having obtained their fully informed consent.
26(3) Associations of persons with disabilities should participate at all stages of habilitation and rehabilitation including the passing of relevant legislation to that effect.
26(4) Ensure that habilitation and rehabilitation services provide comfortable accommodation on a voluntary basis, ensuring the presence of groups to provide support and advice by persons, including persons with disabilities.”

Canada was generally comfortable with the article. It suggested adding in 26(1) “including through facilitating peer support” after “measures.” In order to accommodate the IDC’s proposal to 26(1) aimed at ensuring a fully inclusive approach, Canada suggested adding “all” before “persons with disabilities” in the first line. This would eliminate the need for the IDC’s longer proposal later in that paragraph.
Canada endorsed the IDC’s proposal to 26(1)(a) as written in order to emphasize the will of the individual participating in the programs.

Russian Federation supported this separate article on habilitation and rehabilitation, which is a key article in the convention. The broad picture shows that policies of states have two strategic goals. The first is social support to PWD and the second is ensuring rehabilitation for PWD to minimize the restrictions created by their disabilities and maximize their potential. It supported the Chair’s text but suggested dividing the concept of developing physical and mental abilities from developing social and vocational abilities in 25(1). It supported the proposals of other delegations and trusted the Chair’s judgment in revising the text.

Austria, on behalf of the EU, supported the text as written but noted that some additions would add value. It supported the IDC’s proposals in 25(1) to add “and maintain” after “attain.” It also supported incorporating a gender and an age perspective in this paragraph but stated that the IDC proposal is too detailed. It suggested limiting the specifics in the IDC’s addition to gender and age. The EU also suggested adding at the end of 25(1)(a) “and are prepared and realized in cooperation with persons with disabilities concerned.” This would balance the involvement of PWD with the professionals involved.

Kenya supported the article but suggested adding in “free and affordable” between “extend” and “comprehensive” in 26(1). It also proposed adding two new paragraphs to the article. 26(1)(c) would read “Require habilitation and rehabilitation professionals to provide care to persons with disabilities on the basis of free and informed consent by where necessary raising awareness of the human rights, dignity, autonomy and needs of persons with disabilities through training and the promulgation of ethical standards for public and private health care.” 26(1)(d) would read: Ensure the training of sufficient number of habilitation and rehabilitation professionals, including persons with disabilities.”

Bosnia Herzegovina proposed the inclusion of two concepts: peer support, which was already mentioned by Canada, and the reference to PWD providing rehabilitation themselves, as Kenya suggested.

Sudan had been prepared to support the article as written but noted that the proposal by Yemen included some important concepts that were missing. It suggested that the two texts be combined to encompass all of the ideas. It noted some serious substantive problems affecting the Arabic translation of the entire text. Sudan requested that the revised texts issued by the Chair be available in languages other than English.

The Chair noted the problems arising with the working languages the availability of resources and promised to try to address it.

Jordan supported the article as well-written and concise but proposed that in 26(1)(a) the multidisciplinary approach mentioned should include the assessment of PWD’s strengths as well as their needs. 26(2) must be included in Article 4 on General Obligations, as training is needed in multiple areas and mentioning it in every relevant article is not desirable.

The Chair noted that Jordan’s last comment raises a problem that continues to surface. He noted that the text was based on a series of proposals that had been developed independently of one another and a lot of work had been done to cull through those proposals and arrive at a text that attempts to avoid repeating ideas such as training throughout but rather addresses these topics in the general obligations. He asserted that Article 4 would need to be carefully examined to ensure that it adequately covers all of the important subjects, but that it would not add value to the convention to overload the text with repetitions of these subjects throughout.

Colombia stated that the article is very comprehensive but noted its proposal from the 6th session regarding the provision of prosthetic services. Colombia asserted that this subject should be addressed in Article 26 and would not be appropriate for inclusion in Article 4. In addition, health and rehabilitation is not always available. Services should be available and the quality standardized, which would also assist in the monitoring phase of the convention.

Republic of Korea supported Canada’s addition of “peer support” in 26(1) and Kenya’s proposal regarding the participation of persons with disabilities as rehabilitation professionals in 26(2). The delegate reminded the committee that the facilitator’s process on gender was still ongoing and the results of that would determine the approach to gender sensitivity.

Ethiopia suggested that “including in rural areas” could be deleted as the idea is covered by “in their own communities.”

Syrian Arab Republic supported the proposal by Yemen as addressing some important new ideas and suggested amalgamating it with the Chair’s text. It noted that Yemen’s first proposed paragraph includes the notion of peer support but did not cover rural areas, which should be added. In the Chair’s text, Syrian Arab Republic noted the proposal to add “leisure” to the end of 26(1), but did not support the addition. Leisure in itself does not require comprehensive habilitation and rehabilitation services. In addition, leisure is covered in Article 30.

Mexico supported the text but suggested replacing in 26(1)(b) “including in rural areas” with “particularly in rural areas.”

China noted the lack of availability of habilitation and rehabilitation services in many circumstances. Effective and positive measures are needed to address this problem. This positive point should be clearly stressed in the chapeau. It supported the IDC proposal to add “and maintain” and “individual” in 26(1). It did not support adding “free and informed consent” in 26(1)(a) and suggested maintaining the Chair’s text with the two IDC amendments mentioned.

IDC explained that its additions to the first sentence of the chapeau were an effort to ensure that it addresses not only the concept of rehabilitation but focuses on the individual. Its addition to the second part of the chapeau may seem detailed but these references help to individualize the article and introduce the gender component. IDC did not support Canada’s suggestion that this reference could be deleted and that the point would be sufficiently incorporated by referring to “all persons with disabilities.” IDC was disappointed that the concept of community based rehabilitation (CBR) had not been mentioned by any delegations, as PWD in developing countries depend on CBR. IDC pointed to its 25(1)(b) bis as a critical addition regarding independence and self-determination. Regarding the IDC’s new 25(3) on assistive technologies, the representative expressed that IDC would consider its incorporation in Article 4, however it is very useful in this article. IDC noted that Article 4 may well become the entire convention with all of the ideas put forth for adding subjects to it. IDC was grateful for the supportive comments of many delegations.

Another representative from IDC asserted that inclusion of a separate article on habilitation and rehabilitation represents an important step in the paradigm shift away from the medical model. Millions of PWD, especially in the developing world, live difficult lives as a result of the lack of habilitation and rehabilitation services. Therefore it is important to include “free and affordable” in this article. The representative supported the need for training of personnel, as raised by Kenya and Bosnia Herzegovina

A third IDC representative underscored the IDC’s efforts to individualize the concepts in the text as particularly important for PWD from developing countries. When it comes to habilitation and rehabilitation in national laws, especially in developing countries, proclamations of general concepts and ideas in the convention will not result in the kind of programmatic and legislative results that are needed. Therefore the individualization, especially with regard to gender balance, is extremely important. In addition, inclusion of the concept of free and informed consent is critical, in particular with regard to children and PWD who cannot express their consent completely. Privacy issues are also a concern, as is the ability for PWD to choose the services they choose to access. Some legislation requires PWD to follow specific rehabilitation programs, aspects of which may not be relevant or desired by different people.

MDRI highlighted that this article is not a rights-based provision and thus the references to rehabilitation in the articles on the right to health and the right to work must not be deleted in an effort to consolidate all references to this subject in one place in the text.

The Chair summarized the discussion as follows:

• There was strong support for the text of Article 26.
• The text from Yemen would be examined carefully to ensure that the concepts it contains that not covered in the Chair’s text are incorporated. These concepts include the concept for free and informed consent, for which there was good support. The Chair cautioned that some jurisdictions do not require informed consent with respect to health care or rehabilitation and that its inclusion should not be construed to require a change in policies that apply to the entire population. Another new concept in Yemen’s proposal was the inclusion of PWD at all stages of habilitation and rehabilitation, including in the passage of legislation. The question remains as to whether this should be dealt with in Article 4(3) which addresses this topic in a general way. The third element of Yemen’s text, ensuring that services are provided on a voluntary basis and include advice and support of PWD, seemed to overlap somewhat with the concept of “peer support,” raised by several delegations. Finally, it is important to capture Yemen’s idea that the objective of the article is to provide PWD with the services they need to live their lives in a natural manner.
• Some proposals to restructure the chapeau were made but did not generate very much support.
• There was support for adding “and maintain” and “individual” in 26(1).
• The IDC proposal to articulate specific elements toward the end of 26(1) was met with some concern regarding creating a negative inference in other articles where such elements are not listed. The Chair suggested including only “gender, culture and age” as a possible compromise to including the entire list.
• The issue of gender was supported by many delegations and will be looked at carefully when the facilitator’s group completes its work.
• A proposal to address cost had been made and the Chair suggested that “free or affordable,” which is the formulation used in Article 25, should be repeated here.
• In 26(1)(a) there were proposals to balance the concept of needs of PWD with the strengths of PWD, which is consistent with the objectives of the convention.
• In 26(1)(b), the reference to rural areas generated some discussion. The Chair stated that the language “including in rural areas” was added to ensure that PWD in rural areas were not disadvantaged, since provision of services tends to focus on larger communities and rural areas are often not prioritized. There may be linguistic difficulties in some languages that create a sense of redundancy within the sentence, although the English text does not have that problem. Jordan proposed shifting the subject of rural areas to Article 4, which should be considered when that article is discussed.
• Concerns that Article 4 may “become the whole convention” were noted, however the Chair repeated that the objective of that article is to deal with cross-cutting issues up front to ensure their wide applicability and so that they will not have to be repeated throughout the text.
• There was strong support for adding “including persons with disabilities” at the end of 26(2).
• Assistive technology was raised. This is also a topic addressed in Article 4(f).
• Proposals to add a paragraph on privacy were not taken up by many delegations. Privacy is addressed in Article 22(2) and repeating this provision may not be necessary. The same issue had arisen in Article 25.

Article 27 - Employment

Proposals had been received from the EU (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7docs/ahc7eu1.doc),
Canada (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7canada.htm)
Israel (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7israel.htm),
The International Labor Organization (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7docs/ahc7ilo1.doc) and the IDC (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7docs/ahc7idcchairamend1.doc).

Israel stressed the need for the language in the convention to reflect the clear distinction between discrimination on the basis of disability, a topic it would address in 27(a), and the need to ensure that employment protections and standards of general application are applied equally to PWD, which it proposed to address in 27(a) bis. This is a substantive point that requires addressing both discrimination and equality. The other key subject Israel highlighted was the issue in 27(j) of its proposal, related to PWD working outside the open labor market – of which there are millions according to International Labor Organization (ILO) statistics. Article 27 cannot ignore this problem. States absolutely must take all possible measures to facilitate the move of PWD into the open labor market. And where PWD do work outside the open labor market, States must ensure decent working conditions. The argument that their work is not of substantive economic value and thus does not constitute “work” as understood by this convention must not be accepted. This would leave them unprotected by the convention in this regard. Israel noted its flexibility in terms of language and terminology, but not with regard to the substance of its proposal.

Mali proposed the addition of “and rules and regulations” after “legislation” in 27(a). It also proposed splitting 27(a) into two paragraphs, with the first addressing legislative protections and the second addressing the remainder of issues beginning with “continuance of employment.” Regarding 27(b), Mali proposed adding the word “fully” before “exercise their labor and trade union rights…”

Japan noted that the idea expressed in the second sentence regarding States Parties setting an example by employing PWD had not generated much support at the 6th session. Japan believed that this is an important concept that should be included and suggested that this sentence be separated into its own paragraph, which would become 27(j). It proposed deleting “through legislation” in 27(a), arguing that what follows is too detailed to be implemented strictly through legislation. If this proposal is not accepted, then the term should be amended to “applicable legislation,” to promote the idea of equality of PWD with others. In 27(f) the concept of quotas should be added. Regarding Israel’s proposed new 27(j), Japan supported the concept but required time to study the proposal.

Austria, on behalf of the EU, noted that the text was well balanced and generally supported it. With regard to 27(b), EU suggested that “on an equal basis with others” should replace “in accordance with national laws of general legislation,” as it had suggested in other articles. The EU noted that the example set by States Parties by employing PWD also has the effect of promoting social integration.

Australia noted a concern similar to that expressed by Japan in 27(a) and proposed that “through legislation” be augmented by “or other instruments or other methods appropriate to national conditions and practice.” It was concerned about the reference to affirmative action programs in 27(f), as this is not part of the national policy in Australia. However, it noted that it would be flexible about including this language. Australia indicated that it would study Israel’s proposals.

South Africa proposed adding in 27(a) the words “codes of good practice and regulations” after “through legislation”. In 27(c) “lifelong learning and skills development” should be added after “continuing training,” and the word “general” should be deleted. In 27(f) “employment targets” should be added after “affirmative action programmes.” In 27(i) the term “professional rehabilitation” is unclear and should be deleted. South Africa supported Israel’s new 27(j). Finally, the article is not clear regarding inclusion of specific legislation with regard to employment equity, labor relations and basic conditions of employment.

Serbia and Montenegro supported the text with a few amendments. It agreed with the position of several delegations that had proposed augmenting “through legislation” with “and other instruments” or similar language, although it believed that South Africa’s proposal was too specific. It supported the EU’s proposal to 27(b) as well as Israel’s proposal to change “ensure” to “require” in 27(g) and its proposed 27(j).

Kenya agreed with Japan’s suggestion to split the chapeau into two paragraphs, but suggested that language recognizing the role of the private sector should be included, as PWD are consumers of products produced by the private sector and the private sector is an important source of employment opportunities for PWD. Kenya supported IDC’s proposal to 27(e). It also supported IDC’s proposal to add a paragraph ensuring that PWD are not held in servitude or subjected forced labor. Kenya would consider Israel’s proposed 27(j).

Brazil supported “on an equal basis with others” to replace “in accordance with national laws of general legislation.” Brazil supported retaining the language on affirmative action. It supported the concept of Israel’s 27(j) as well as 27(j) of the facilitator’s proposal on gender (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7docs/ahc7fachwo1.doc)

Canada supported the content of Israel’s proposal 27(a) bis but favored including this concept in 27(a) rather than separating it into a new paragraph. It supported “require” over “ensure” in 27(g) but believed that the concepts in Israel’s 27(j) were covered in 27(c) and (d). Canada believed that PWD already have the right to work under the ICCPR and thus suggested replacing “recognize” with “reaffirm” in the chapeau.
It supported the IDC’s proposal to 27(a), suggesting that protection from harassment be added as well, and the proposal of others to substitute “on an equal basis with others” for “in accordance with national laws of general legislation.” Canada was concerned that the facilitator’s proposal for 27(j) on gender was vague and preferred the language in its own written proposal, which is based on CEDAW Article 11. It was open to language regarding slavery or servitude if it reflects the absolute prohibition of such reflected in the ICCPR.

The Chair noted that the facilitator’s text on women was not yet available but would be considered when that report circulated.

United States supported Israel’s proposals to divide 27(a) into two paragraphs and its amendment to 27(g). The US also supported the suggestion to change “on an equal basis with others” to “in accordance with national laws of general legislation.” Regarding Kenya’s proposal, the US supported the idea in principle, but stated that some of the language, such as the word “servitude,” has a very specific meaning in other instruments and would need to be carefully dealt with.

Singapore supported the suggestion to change “on an equal basis with others” to “in accordance with national laws of general legislation,” noting measures such as negotiations with trade unions and employers are also very important in this context. It supported the IDC’s proposal to 27(b) and Mali’s addition of “fully” before “exercise.” Singapore concurred with Australia regarding “affirmative action,” though it noted that it was prefaced by “may include” and could therefore accept it. In 27(g), “facilitate” should replace “ensure.” “Ensure” would indicate a need for 100% compliance, compelling states to take punitive action against those who do not provide reasonable accommodations – a situation that would be complicated depending on the relationships between unions, employers and government in different countries.

Yemen supported retaining “in accordance with national laws of general legislation” in 27(b) but also adding “on an equal basis with others.” It suggested adding “and those who live away from their original places of residences” at the end of 27(g). Yemen noted that the right to participate in trade unions and associations was already covered by Article 29, but that it was flexible about its placement.

Chile noted that the title in the Spanish text is “Employment and Unemployment” and should be simply “Work” or “Labor.” It proposed that the chapeau be framed in terms of non-discrimination to be consistent with other articles in the convention. It supported IDC’s proposal to 27(a). “To encourage” in 27(f) is weak language and Chile recommended that the concept of “to promote” With respect to affirmative action, the delegate noted that such measures may be ordinary or extraordinary and described the broad spectrum of what such measures may include. This broad spectrum provides choice to states regarding what is applicable to a given situation – in some cases that may include fines or penalties while in others it may be preferable to provide incentives to employers. All such measures are designed to promote employment of PWD. Thus, the affirmative action language must be retained to avoid moving backward in the standards established by the ILO Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Convention (C159) (http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/convde.pl?C159). Chile also supported Israel’s 27(j), which it noted is also consistent with the ILO convention in that it supports PWD in the open labor market but also recognizes protected labor for PWD who are not able to participate in that market.

Jamaica was satisfied with Chair’s text, however it had some changes to propose. It noted the suggestions of Israel and Japan, and the concerns expressed by Australia and Singapore. To address these concerns, Jamaica proposed that the chapeau be amended to read: “States Parties shall by legislation and other appropriate steps safeguard and promote the realization of the right to work, including measures to:” Then, the word “legislation” would be deleted in 27(a). The language relating to States Parties setting an example by employing PWD should become a new 27(a). It supported Israel’s proposal to replace “ensure” with “require,” noting that because it relates to reasonable accommodation, “require” would not be too onerous. It supported Israel’s 27(j), noting the need for options for PWD and for the implementation of safeguards in situations outside of the open labor market. It also supported the suggestion to replace “on an equal basis with others” for “in accordance with national laws of general legislation” in 27(b). Rather than include Canada’s reference to disabilities acquired on the job, Jamaica preferred to address the needs for high standards in occupational safety and health, relating both to preventing job-related disabilities and to addressing the needs of PWD in the workplace.

Norway noted that it could accept the text as written, although it supported many of the suggestions made during discussion. It supported Canada’s and Israel’s proposals to the chapeau. It suggested that the IDC text was stronger in the area of States Parties setting an example by employing PWD and also supported its version of 27(a). It noted that Israel’s proposal was similar to the IDC’s and Norway could support either one. In 27(b) it supported the suggestion to replace “in accordance with national laws of general legislation” with “on an equal basis with others” It did not support IDC’s proposal to 27(e), which appeared to limit these opportunities to micro-enterprises, although it did support IDC’s proposal to 27(f). Norway noted that Chile’s suggestion to replace “encourage” with “promote” was a good one and that it would study Israel’s remaining proposals.

New Zealand could support the Chair’s text as written. Regarding Israel’s 27(j), it noted that, throughout the negotiations there had been discussion regarding alternative conditions of PWD, which is the very opposite of inclusion or equality. The idea that “alternatives” need to be found for persons with more serious disabilities, would only serve to shift the line of who may be discriminated against. Inclusion must be promoted for all persons with disabilities. Different levels and kinds of support may be needed to achieve this, and much of the content of the convention is dedicated to describing these levels and the associated measures. New Zealand believed that even where considerable support and accommodations are needed, the work should still be considered part of the labor market. Some delegations had suggested that this falls outside the labor market, which is a risky assertion that opens the door for sheltered workshops. New Zealand asserted that the article already addresses situations in which more extensive support is needed, and did not support the new provision proposed by Israel. Issues of implementation and emphasis should be very carefully considered with regard to this.

Russian Federation noted Japan’s proposal regarding the subject of quotas. It did not believe that excluding the notion of quotas was the best approach, despite the complications they sometimes create. Rather, a constructive way to include this idea in the text should be found, possibly in 27(d) or, more appropriately in 27(f). If properly regulated, quotas can help to meet the needs of PWD to work. It supported Israel’s proposals to 27(a) and for a new 27(j).

Croatia proposed adding “to fulfill the professional requirements requested by the corresponding public organization” in the second sentence of the chapeau after “persons with disabilities,” noting that this suggestion was based partly on the IDC proposal. It also supported Israel’s proposal regarding legislation in that sentence. Croatia asserted that PWD should not be given jobs because of their disabilities, but because of the education, training and capabilities and warned against creating the impression of “charity” with respect to employment of PWD.

Mexico supported including “worthy” after “labor market” to ensure a labor market that has dignity and an open environment, which has been discussed by the ILO. It accepted South Africa’s proposal to 27(a) to include “codes of good practice and regulations.” In 27(d), Mexico supported the ILO’s suggested language providing provide alternative forms of employment where necessary. In 27(f) “encourage” should be replaced with “promote” and the ILO’s suggestion about retaining workers who acquire a disability should be added. The concept of occupational reorientation and rehabilitation should be included in 27(i). Mexico supported the proposal to include the concept of labor-related violence and harassment, though it was flexible regarding its placement. It was open to Kenya’s proposal addressing servitude and slavery.

China noted that PWD face many obstacles related to employment and the convention should require positive measures to ensure equal opportunity for PWD to work. It supported Jamaica’s proposal to the chapeau and Japan’s suggestion regarding the private sector, however the latter should be included in 27(j), not in the chapeau. In 27(b), China supported the suggestion to substitute “on an equal basis with others” for “in accordance with national laws of general legislation.” Consideration should be given to proposals to 27(f) that would strengthen the message that States Parties should take positive measures to promote the full employment of PWD, and the order of 27(e) and 27(f) should be reversed.

Costa Rica supported the proposal to separate 27(a) into two paragraphs and to replace “in accordance with national laws of general legislation” with “on an equal basis with others.” Regarding Israel’s proposed 27(j), Costa Rica suggested that this subject is better addressed by the text in 27(d) from the ILO. It also supported the ILO’s proposal to 27(f).

The session 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, #8 were Vasti Cedeno and Michael Northcutt. The Writer/Editor for the Volume 8 series is Joelle Balfe. Please forward any corrections or comments to joelle8summaries@yahoo.com.

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