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
31 January 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, #12
January 31, 2006

 

 

 

MORNING SESSION

Article 4 -General Obligations - continued.

Singapore supported Japan’s suggestion that 4.1(a) be amended to be in line with Article 2 of CEDAW and Article 4 of CRC. Singapore also supported the proposal to insert “and maintain” after “adopt.”  It supported deleting in 4.2 the text beginning with the word “accept.”  Regarding 4.3, Singapore supported Australia's proposal to substitute “shall consult…representative organizations” with “shall take appropriate measures to ensure adequate consultations.” It also supported Korea in deleting the last sentence in 4.3 as too prescriptive. Singapore did not support the inclusion of remedies in this article.

El Salvador asserted that States Parties should act as promptly as possible to ensure the effectiveness of rights, and that “progressivity” should not be interpreted by states as an excuse to postpone measures to ensure the effectiveness of rights.  As a middle-income country, it emphasized that the convention should clearly establish international cooperation as a complement to national efforts to ensure its implementation.

Norway believed that in 4.2, the proposed definition of discrimination was consistent with the Chair’s view that the non-realisation of economic, social and cultural rights, as well as a lack of accessibility, is difficult to define as discrimination. It noted that the proposed definition of discrimination in Article 2 is also consistent with this view. It felt that it must be made clear that the prohibition of discrimination based on disability in Article 5 must in all cases be implemented immediately, but take into account lack of resources as a limiting factor.  It supported the other proposals made by the EU.

Canada supported Singapore's proposed amendment to 4.1(a). In particular, Canada believed the language should mirror either Article 2(f) of CEDAW or Article 4 of the UN Declaration on Violence against Women. PWD have not been equally included in society for a variety of reasons, including custom and tradition, and that the convention must very clearly indicate that such discriminating customs and traditions are not to be tolerated.

Serbia and Montenegro agreed that it would be awkward to provide remedies with regard to economic, social and cultural rights in this convention, as this would provide a higher standard for PWD than for others, since no similar provision exists in the ICESCR.  It would be flexible regarding remedies with respect to civil and political rights if there is a precedent for this in the ICCPR.  It supported the Russian Federation in addressing the issue of implementation in federal states.  Serbia and Montenegro supported the Russian Federation and China regarding the concept of PWD having not only rights on the same basis as others, but also the same duties and responsibilities as expressed in human rights instruments.  It supported looking carefully for precedents in other human rights instruments, noting that just as we do not seek to create new rights for PWD we must take care not to establish any new duties.  It supported Brazil in proposing National Councils for Disabilities (or similar bodies) and joined Canada in supporting Singapore’s proposed amendments to paragraph 4.1(a).

India was pleased that its proposal to 4.3, regarding representation of family members of PWD in the consultation process, had been addressed by the language “representative organizations,” and supported keeping this language in the article. It supported the Russian Federation's amendment to 4.2, which would replace “measures to the maximum of its available resources” with “effective and appropriate measures.”  With regard to legal remedies, India stated this had been addressed in 4.1(a), in which states are under obligation to take legislative measures to implement the convention, but expressed flexibility about the issue.

Liechtenstein supported the article as proposed and explicitly spelling out remedies, as experience has shown that governments can be unwilling to specify remedies, even when required to take all necessary legislative measures.  It supported the concept in 4.1(c) but preferred alternate wording, noting that the word “mainstream” is often problematic, especially in translation.

Russian Federation followed up on previous comments regarding Article 4 and referred to the wording in its written proposal.

South Africa reaffirmed the position of the African Group and supported mainstreaming in totality, as presented in 4.1(c), as a meaningful way of ensuring that PWD are protected through specific systems and methods.

Ethiopia was concerned with the word “inconsistent” in 4.1(a), stating that there may be some cultures and practices that are inconsistent with the convention without necessarily contravening it.  Therefore, it suggested replacing "inconsistent" with “against” or “against this current convention” or “which comes in conflict with this present convention.”

The IDC supported the contributions of Singapore and Canada on 4.1(a) and suggested deleting the words “and to discourage,” to be consistent with 2(f) of CEDAW. Regarding 4.1(b), it did not support deleting the reference to national constitutions, noting that the same wording is found in CEDAW. It proposed an alternative wording to 4.1(c) to avoid using the word “mainstream,” to focus on persons with disabilities rather than disability issues, and to ensure integration of PWD in all policies and programs, not only those related to economic and social development.  It asked delegates to reconsider supporting its proposal to 4.1(h), regarding the use of public funds for the implementation of the convention.  It believed the convention was struggling to deal with the issue of progressive realization, and opposed deleting the last part of 4.2 regarding the immediate application of non-discrimination.   IDC insisted on differentiating between accessibility and reasonable accommodation, especially when addressing denial of reasonable accommodation as a form of discrimination.  It acknowledged that accessibility will have to be implemented progressively but believed reasonable accommodation to be a core element of a non-discrimination approach.  Regarding 4.3, it emphasized that consultation with PWD must happen not just on issues directly related to PWD, but with all issues which affect them. It supported Brazil regarding how this would be implemented. The IDC suggested adding a reference to children with disabilities in this paragraph. It supported the deletion of the second sentence in 4.3, believing that limiting consultation in this way can be more harmful then beneficial. It suggested adding a sentence from the UN Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities, referring to encouragement and support for the establishment of representative organizations of PWD, as in many countries the lack of funding and support means these organizations do not exist. It noted Australia's proposal for a new Article 5(bis) about specific population groups, but did not support including women and children in this article, as they are already covered in specific language, or referring to different degrees of disability.  However it asserted that it was very important that people from ethnic, racial and linguistic minorities, as well as those from remote and rural areas, be made visual in the convention text.  It also supported the proposal of the EU about a new non-regression paragraph to complement, but not replace, 4.4.

Another representative of IDC referred to the negotiation on the ICCPR, during which the necessity of an explicit statement on national level remedies was argued.  It noted that although it might seem obvious that a statement of obligations must be accompanied by a means to enforce it, Article 2.3 of the ICCPR shows that this argument was ultimately rejected.  It stressed the need for the transparency and accessibility of the convention to all members of the disability community. Regarding the justiciability of economic, social and cultural rights, it thanked the Russian Federation for highlighting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which discusses civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, and which states in Article 8 that everyone is entitled to an effective remedy.  In light of this document that has stood since 1948, IDC noted its confusion at the assertion that a higher standard would be established for PWD if this convention provides for remedies in relation to economic, social and cultural rights.  It asked delegates to reflect on CEDAW Article 2(c) and CERD Article 6, which enumerate legal remedies for breaches of rights to include economic, social and cultural rights. (See CERD Article 5(e) for a list of such rights to which Article 6 applies.)  It emphasized the importance of demystifying the concept of legal remedies – which include a myriad of different kinds of measures and ideas - and asked governments to reflect on this article's importance to people in their everyday lives.

A third IDC representative said that, in relation to 4.1(f), references to the terms “universal design” and “inclusive design” are in article 2, 4 and 9.  To streamline the text and minimize duplication, IDC proposed that these references be deleted from Article 2 and 9 and be retained more conceptually in Article 4.  It stated that 4.1(f) should be more concise and include the following generic language: “to ensure the development, availability and use of products, technologies, assistive technology, equipment, environment and services that are usable to all people to the greatest extent possible without the need for adaptation or specialized design, giving priority to affordably priced technologies and services and to promote, develop, and effectively implement related standards.” The IDC supported a new subparagraph on training in Article 4.

A final IDC delegate noted the trouble his country (Costa Rica) had had at the Miami Airport, which prevented his full contribution at the seventh session. He thanked everybody who had expressed support and solidarity and gratitude to those who had made his visit possible, particularly the Costa Rican Mission at the UN and Consulting Minister, Mr. Jorge Ballestero.  Regarding 4.1(c), it noted that in developing countries there are programs and policies, including development programs, which are geared to the general population but are not beneficial to PWD.  IDC stressed the importance of Article 4 referring to rights from a global point of view and their inclusion across the board in all policies and programs, including economic and social development programs. This is the only way the rights of PWD will have a solid foundation for the effective implementation and enjoyment of those rights.  It suggested adding a paragraph read “to integrate the rights of people with disabilities in all the policies and programmes, including economic and social development programmes.”

Mental Disability Rights International presented a detailed intervention with a comprehensive interpretation of international law as it relates to Article 4.  This intervention, in its entirely, is available at http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7docs/ahc7mdriart4.doc.

Federation of and for People with Disabilities in Kenya generally supported the provisions of the article.  In the chapeau, it proposed adding “and to promote” after “ensure” in the first line, believing that states cannot ensure the full realization of the rights of PWD in all instances but they can always promote them.  Regarding 4.1(a), it suggested removing “discourage” and including language from CEDAW Article 2(f) to read “modify or abolish customs, traditions or religious practices that are inconsistent with this convention.” Regarding 4.1(f), it suggested replacing “undertake or promote” with “undertake and promote.” Regarding 4.3, it suggested adding “States Parties should support economically and in other ways the strengthening of representative organizations for persons with disabilities,” as these organizations will have a key role in monitoring implementation of the convention and would be particularly important where resources are low. It noted that although no equivalent clause exists in other human rights treaties, it is mentioned in the UN Standard Rules and is practically reflected in the participation of representative organizations in the drafting of the present convention.  It also supported the IDC regarding 3(b) on remedies.

National Human Rights Institutions considered Article 4 fundamental to ensuring the enjoyment of rights in practice. First, it stressed the need to include a provision on remedies. These may take different forms, including judicial, administrative and legislative.  Although the ICESCR and the ICCPR do not explicitly address remedies, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights operates under a presumption in favor of domestic remedies for breaches of these rights, and that the principle of remedies is part of customary international law and many international and regional human rights treaties.  With respect to progressive implementation, NHRI believed that immediate implementation should go far beyond the discrimination provisions in 4.2.  It noted that it is now well-accepted that the obligation of non-discrimination in relation to economic, social and cultural rights is in general capable of immediate implementation, but that immediate application of social and cultural rights goes well beyond non-discrimination, and that this is not accurately reflected in 4.2.  It also noted that some rights described in the treaty could be classified as “hybrid rights,” for instance accessibility, of which some aspects could take effect immediately and some only progressively. NHRI requested that the text be amended along the lines of the IDC text, giving immediate effect to those rights which can be put into immediate effect, including, but not limited to, non-discrimination. NHRI supported the EU proposal on this issue.

The Arab Organization of Disabled People stated that although the subject of Article 4 is general obligations, the article must also include PWD at risk or in danger, specifically where there is armed conflict or occupation. It was aware that Article 11 also addresses this issue.  It stated that 4.3 could potentially be interpreted to sideline representative organizations by allowing governments to say they had negotiated with PWD, and wished to clarify this by deleting the word “and” and replacing it with “through” or “by means of.”

The Chair summarized the discussion as follows:

 

Article 2- Definitions

The Chair noted that several proposals had already been received electronically from Costa Rica (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7cr.htm),  Kenya (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7kenya.htm), The EU (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7docs/ahc7eu1.doc), Australia (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7australia.htm), and the IDC http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7docs/ahc7idcart2.doc).  The Chair commented that the terms “communication” and “reasonable accommodation” had already been extensively discussed at earlier meetings.  Regarding “disability” and “persons with disabilities,” there was a question of whether definitions were needed.  There were considerable issues regarding the definition of “universal design” and “inclusive design” and their use in Article 4.  He noted that definitions are normally used where the concept proposed needs to be clarified, with their elements set out at some length, so that these elements need not be repeated every time the concept occurs in the text.

Austria on behalf of the EU proposed adding “plain language” after “multimedia”, in line with the IDC proposal, and “and means” after augmentative or alternative modes” in the definition of communication.  It agreed with the Chair that definitions for “disability” and “persons with disabilities” were not needed, noting that including these definitions would risk exclusion. The EU proposed an amendment to the Purpose of the Convention to include the word “all” so no disabled person would be excluded. It proposed that in the definition of “discrimination on the basis of disability,” the words “denial of reasonable accommodation” be added after the word “exclusion,” also in line with the IDC proposal.  If this link between non-discrimination and reasonable accommodation is not added to Article 2, then it should be included in Article 5. In the same definition, it proposed deleting the second part of the last sentence, as the language “all discrimination” covers all forms of discrimination.  The EU repeated its position that the definition of “national laws of general application,” should be deleted. Regarding “reasonable accommodation,” the EU suggested that the definition read “reasonable accommodation means necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments where needed in a particular case, unless imposing a disproportionate burden, to ensure to a person with disability the enjoyment or exercise on an equal basis with others of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
                                         
Yemen supported including the definition of “disability” or “persons with disabilities,”  as Yemen feared that some governments would define disability according to their own preferences. It also noted a connection with the medical field, in which there are some psychiatric illnesses that do not reach the level of a disability, such as depression, and thus a definition of disability is needed for the sake of clarity. Yemen stated a preference for a social, rather than a medical, definition. It did not believe the argument against a definition was well-founded, and stated that the easiest way to establish clarity was through a definition. Yemen disagreed with the EU proposal that national laws of general application did not need to be defined. It believed that stating “on the basis of equality” would not be sufficient.

Canada indicated that its proposals would soon also be available online. Regarding “discrimination on the basis of disability,” Canada supported the language of the IDC proposal to include failure to provide reasonable accommodation as part of this definition or, alternatively, to begin “discrimination on the basis of disability means any distinction, exclusion or restriction on the basis of disability, including a failure to provide reasonable accommodation,” and continue as in the Chair’s text.  Regarding “national laws of general application,” it was concerned that the definition’s use of “national” would create problems for federal states and suggested that it be removed. It raised the question of whether the word “differentiate” is intended to mean “discriminate against.” It suggested deleting the second sentence of the definition due to its concern that the use of “custom and tradition” could imply that these elements have the same status as laws, and could possibly legitimize practices that are contrary to human rights. Regarding “reasonable accommodation,” Canada reviewed its written proposals to amend the definitions of “reasonable accommodation,” “communication,”  Regarding “disability,” Canada concluded that a definition remained problematic.  However, if the committee decided to define disability, the definition should be based on physical or mental impairment, functional limitations, whether real or perceived, and socially constructed barriers to the full participation in society of persons with disabilities.  It noted that its proposal to add “programs and services” to the definition of “universal design,” would strengthen the definition and bring it into greater consistency with the reference in article 4.1(f)(i).

Costa Rica supported Canada’s proposals with only two slight differences. Costa Rica maintained that “persons with disabilities” did not require a definition but that a definition of “disability” might have merit, and that it would depend on the “collective wisdom” of the Committee to make a decision.  It mentioned the Inter-American Convention on Disability, as a possible source of a definition. It supported Canada’s proposal to include the concept of reasonable accommodation as a part of the definition of “discrimination on the basis of disability,” however it questioned the definition of “reasonable accommodation.”  It stated that it had always questioned the need to refer to a “disproportionate burden,” because if an accommodation was “unreasonable,” that would be because it was “disproportionate.” It therefore proposed deleting “not imposing a disproportionate burden,” believing that this term could justify non-compliance rather than protect rights. However, it was prepared to be flexible. Costa Rica also supported Canada and the NGOs’ definitions of “communication” and “universal design.”

Lichtenstein stated that it would be confusing to have the definition of a term appear in a separate article if that term then only appears once in the convention text.  The definitions article should be reserved for terms that recur throughout the document. It would support the inclusion of reasonable accommodation in the discrimination definition, but felt it would be better to refer to it in the last sentence rather than with “distinction, exclusion or restriction,” since reasonable accommodation was a much more complete term. It opposed replacing “direct and indirect” with “all forms of discrimination.” Lichtenstein agreed with Canada regarding the necessity of a definition of national laws of general application. Finally, Lichtenstein supported the EU definition of “reasonable accommodation.”

Australia stated that, without clarifying who the State was obliged to provide equality for, only formal equality, and not substantive equality, might be achieved. Without a definition, States would be able to adopt their own understanding of the term, creating difficulties in effective monitoring and enforcement. Australia discussed the WHO’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) as a possible source of a definition for disability and as a framework within which human functioning can be understood and applied in a policy concept. It also noted that the social model of disability offers a theoretical framework by which disability can be understood, and incorporates three elements: impairment, which is the physiological function, disability, which recognizes the interaction of disability with the environment, and the notion of handicap, which refers to the disadvantage created by the impairment or disability.  Australia cautioned that a strict social model approach may lead to the interpretation that, once the barriers created by society are removed, the state has no further obligation toward the person with a disability.  It therefore proposed a definition that is part of the social model theoretical framework but that works on the concept of impairment and disability, so as to recognize the triggers for the protection of the convention. Its written proposal was made available on the website.  Australia supported Canada’s proposal regarding laws of national application, particularly the substitution of “differentiate” with “discriminate.”  It also supported Canada’s concerns regarding customs and traditions. Australia expressed a hesitation over the EU’s proposal regarding the definition of discrimination, on the basis of conflict between this convention and other human rights conventions, but did not deny a link between reasonable accommodation and discrimination. Its stated that its proposal would address this issue in the definition of “reasonable accommodation,” but that Lichtenstein’s proposal was very helpful in this regard. Australia also supported Canada’s appeal for a more positive definition of “reasonable accommodation” and had drafted its own version, available on the website. This version changed “reasonable accommodation” to “reasonable adjustments,” reading “reasonable adjustments means necessary and appropriate adjustments and modifications not imposing unjustifiable hardships which are needed in a particular case to eliminate discrimination and ensure equality.” This was due to some linguistic problems with the word “accommodation,” and because the language “disproportionate burden” would set the bar too low. In addition, “burden” was seen as being slightly value-laden word with negative connotations.  In response to Costa Rica, Australia expressed that the language “reasonable” could set a lower threshold than necessary, preferring the qualifier “unjustifiable” or “undue.”

Colombia proposed adding “communication is an eminently social act that achieves and perfects the relationship between people and facilitates community conjugality. It includes the use of language and non-language codes such as:” to be followed by the list in the current text, which should be qualified by “inter alia.” Colombia supported the EU and Lichtenstein in opposing a definition of national laws of general application. If a definition of disability is included, it referred again to the Inter-American Convention on Disability as containing a good definition. 

Serbia and Montenegro joined the EU in supporting the IDC definition of “communication.” It also joined the Chair in opposing a definition for disability and persons with disabilities.  Regarding Australia’s comments, it suggested that there may be a way forward that includes a reference to the ICF classification or the social model approach of disability, possibly in the preamble. Serbia and Montenegro supported the EU proposal for the definition of disability and was prepared to be flexible on the phrase “direct and indirect.” It stated that more time was needed to consider whether reasonable accommodation should be included in the definition of discrimination, but Lichtenstein’s proposals for placing it at the end of the definition of discrimination should be considered. It supported the EU’s proposal regarding the definition of “reasonable accommodation” with the one reservation of whether or not it constitutes discrimination.  It favored retaining “disproportionate burden” or “unjustifiable hardship” but did not express a preference between the two. On “laws of general application” it would support Canada’s proposal if the decision was made to retain it.

The Chair noted the suggestion to include references to other instruments that might assist in identifying and defining disability in the preamble.

Norway supported the EU’s text on communication, and favored the inclusion of a definition of “disability” and “persons with disabilities” along the lines of the ICF and social model definitions as enumerated by Australia, but believed a definition should also take into consideration the definition of disability in the UN Standard Rules.  It was prepared to be flexible about the suggestion that this be included in the preamble, as suggested by Serbia and Montenegro. Regarding discrimination, Norway supported the EU proposal. Norway supported replacing “national laws of general application,” with “equal basis with others.” It also supported the EU text on “reasonable accommodation,” and the text on “universal design” as written. 

Argentina agreed with Australia on the importance of a definition of “disability” and “persons with disabilities,” at least in general terms.  It also supporting Colombia’s proposal regarding the Inter-American Convention on Disability as well as proposals made by Costa Rica, Australia, Kenya and the IDC. Argentina supported the rest of the text as it stood.

New Zealand supported the EU and IDC proposals to amend the definition of “communication,” and suggested changing the definition of “language” to include “spoken language and signed language” rather than “aural-oral language.” The terms “aural-oral language” might be more appropriate in the “communication” definition, as it is wider in scope, referring to non-language forms of communication.  It suggested referring to “spoken languages” in the definition of communication and supported the proposal to include “inter alia” at the end of the list. It also supported the inclusion of “reasonable accommodation” in the concept of discrimination, and was flexible on how this should be accomplished. It was also flexible on the phrase “direct or indirect.” It proposed shifting the text of Article 5(4) to the definition of “discrimination on the basis of disability.”  If the phrase “national laws of general application” is included in the convention, New Zealand supported Canada’s proposal that it should be strengthened by adding the concept of not discriminating on the basis of disability. Australia’s and Canada’s version of the reasonable accommodation definition were also preferred, including the use of “undue” or “unjustifiable hardship” rather than “disproportionate burden.”  It did not support replacing “accommodation” with “adjustment,” noting that the term “accommodation” already is already the subject of a considerable amount of jurisprudence.  It therefore suggested language such as “otherwise referred to as reasonable accommodation.”  New Zealand did not support including definitions of “disability” and “persons with disabilities” which could be unintentionally exclusive. It would, however, support the inclusion of a broad understanding of disability in relation to equality and non-discrimination, as outlined by Australia, to ensure that states would not be able to define disability more narrowly.  It recognized the difficulty of establishing a definition that could withstand the test of time.  It was flexible regarding the proposals by Norway and Serbia and Montenegro’s to deal with this issue in the preamble.  If a specific definition of disability was to be included, it should reflect the social model of disability, be as broad as possible, and provide a sense of the scope and types of impairments that might be included.

Morocco supported deleting “direct and indirect” and retaining the paragraph on “national laws of general application.”  It agreed that “national” should be deleted to accommodate federal states and supported replacing “differentiate” with “discriminate.”

China supported replacing “oral-aural” with “spoken and signed languages” but proposed adding “written” between “spoken” and “signed.”  Regarding “discrimination on the basis of disability,” China supported the EU proposal adding “denial of reasonable accommodation” with the addition of “unjustifiable” before “denial” in order to differentiate between an intentional refusal and a refusal based on practicality. China supported deleting “including direct and indirect discrimination” and New Zealand’s proposal to move the text of 5(4) to Article 2.  China proposed inserting “shall be interpreted accordingly” before “mutates mutandis” at the end of the definition of “national laws of general application.”  China supported Australia’s substitution of “reasonable accommodation” with “reasonable adjustment” but was flexible on the issue.  At the end of that paragraph, China proposed adding “as well as for their development and dignity” in accordance with the recent discussion regarding the scope and goals of the convention.  In the same paragraph, China proposed including “or exercise” after “enjoyment.”

The Chair morning session was adjourned.

 

AFTERNOON SESSION

Article 2 - Definitions - continued.

The Chair opened the session, noting his hope that the discussion could move to the article on women and children by the end of the day.

Mexico was flexible regarding the need for a definition of disability, and in light of the proposals made by Costa Rica, Colombia and Argentina, it agreed that the definition of disability found in the Inter-American Convention on Disability would be a useful basis.  It emphasized that such a definition must not be limiting.  Regarding the question of “language,” it reiterated its preference for the Spanish word “lengua.”  It supported the retention of a definition of “national laws of general application,” as well as the proposal to eliminate the last part of the section on discrimination on the basis of disability.

The Chair noted the numerous references to the Inter-American Convention on Disability and observed that it adopts a medical approach to the definition of disability.  He asked delegates to reflect on whether a social or a medical definition, or a combination thereof, should be used.

Qatar stated that without an exact definition of PWD, national definitions might be adopted that would rely on purely medical criteria, restricting the range of people covered by the text of the convention.  It therefore supported the inclusion of a new definition for PWD taking into account environmental, social, health, and other factors.  It opposed the EU proposal to delete the definition of national laws of general application, supporting Morocco and Yemen on this issue.  It was flexible on the deletion of the word “national,” as proposed by Canada.  However, it believed that the expression “national laws of general application” does not actually involve any kind of discrimination, and noted that there are expressions that offend religious sensibilities among certain states. 

Ethiopia proposed amending the end of the definition of discrimination on the basis of disability to read “fundamental freedoms in the economic, social, cultural, civil, political, or any other field.  It supported the deletion of “including direct and indirect discrimination.”

Israel supported the IDC regarding the inclusion of “plain language” after multimedia in the definition of communication.  Israel stated that a definition of PWD, rather than a definition of disability, is essential to maintain an emphasis on the individual.  The definition should be as inclusive as possible with an emphasis on the social model of disability, and Israel was open to various proposals on the language of the definition.  Regarding the definition of discrimination, it supported including the concept of reasonable accommodation, preferring Canada’s language of “failure to provide.” It supported the retention of “direct and indirect discrimination.”  It agreed with Australia that the word “accommodation” should be maintained in light of the jurisprudence surrounding it.  It supported the Chair’s text regarding reasonable accommodation.  Regarding universal design, it agreed with the Chair’s text as well, but supported the IDC proposal to ensure that assistive devices are not excluded if “inclusive design” is included.

The Chair reiterated the concern raised by Israel that a provision on universal and inclusive design could potentially be interpreted to mean that products (such as assistive devices) should not be designed specifically for PWD, if products are to be usable by all people without the need for adaptation or specialized design.  He recognized this as a point that needs to be addressed, as this interpretation was not the intent of the definition.

Kenya stated that “communication” should be defined and followed by a list of means of communication, and proposed adding “alternative modes and means of communication” to the current list.  It supported the IDC proposal that a text defining a person with a disability should begin “A person with a disability includes.”  It believed that it is important to include a definition of persons with disabilities, especially since states that will be drafting new legislation in accordance with the convention will look to its text when determining their own definitions of disability and persons with disabilities.  Therefore the convention should set its own standard for the definition of disability and persons with disabilities rather than merely referring to outside texts.  It referred to the definition in its written proposal, emphasizing that this is a non-exclusive approach.  It noted the Inter-American text, but believed strongly in the importance of including the social and economic aspects of disability, as this could introduce the concept of poverty to the definition of disability.

The Chair noted that the definition proposed by Kenya is based upon the medical model of disability.

Brazil supported the IDC proposal, as amended by Canada, regarding the definition of communication.  Regarding “discrimination on the basis of disability,” it supported the proposals of the IDC and Canada to include “failure to provide reasonable accommodation” as a form of discrimination.  It supported deleting the definition of “national laws of general application” and would support deleting the second sentence if the definition were to remain.  Regarding the definition of universal design, it supported the Chair’s text but recognized that no form of universal design could resolve all matters of accessibility, and therefore supported the IDC proposal to add “’Inclusive and universal design’ shall not exclude assistive devices for particular groups of PWD where this is needed.”  Regarding the definition of disability or persons with disabilities, it was concerned that to leave the definitions of these terms completely open would make it possible for states to adopt more restrictive definitions.  However, it emphasized that a definition must be broad enough to accommodate the evolution of the concept of disability within states.  It noted that the definition found in the Inter-American Convention is broad and incorporates both social and medical factors, and is the definition currently used in Brazil.  It preferred developing a definition of “persons with disabilities,” rather than “disability,” which would necessarily be focused on impairments rather than the individual.  It supported the first part of the IDC proposal on the definition of “persons with disabilities” (though it would delete “and/or” in favor of simply “and”) however Brazil would not include the latter part of the definition, but leave those elements to be determined by individual states.

Japan supported the Canadian and IDC proposals in the communication clause, particularly regarding the display of text and plain language.  It did not support including definitions of disability or persons with disabilities, due to the diversity of definitions among different states.  Regarding discrimination, it supported the deletion of the last phrase including “direct and indirect discrimination,” as these are covered by “all forms of discrimination,” and there was some difficulty reaching a consensus on the definitions of “direct” and “indirect.”  It opposed the IDC and EU proposals to include reasonable discrimination in the definition of discrimination.  It was satisfied with the definition of language but was not sure what obligations were required of states by defining sign language as language.  Regarding reasonable accommodation, it reserved its decision on the EU proposal, as it would shift the responsibility of proof of discrimination.  It opposed linking reasonable accommodation with discrimination and therefore did not support the EU proposal to replace “on a basis of equality with others” with “without discrimination.”  It proposed changing “on a basis of equality” to “on an equal basis with others” to make it consistent with the language of other articles.  It also reserved its position on the proposals to change “imposing a disproportionate burden” to “unjustifiable or undue hardship.”  Regarding universal and inclusive design, it appreciated the clarification of these terms provided by other delegations.

Syrian Arab Republic supported including a definition of “disability” and “persons with disabilities,” questioning how the convention could be implemented if it does not specify to whom its provisions apply.  It agreed with Australia’s point that the absence of a universal definition for disability and persons with disabilities would pose problems to monitoring mechanisms.  It supported a definition of disability and persons with disabilities that was clear-cut and incorporated elements from both the medical and social models.  Concerning national laws of general application, procedures established in the convention must be in harmony with national cultures and legislation and would like to see them included in the phrase “which does not distinguish them from others.” It did not insist on including the phrase “national customs and traditions.” 

Serbia and Montenegro clarified that when it proposed including ICF specifications in the preamble it intended to include elements from the social model of disability as well.  It supported the additional inclusion of the UN Standard Rules in the definition of disability.  It thanked delegations that had suggested the Inter-American Convention on Disability and would examine its definition of disability.

Trinidad and Tobago supported a definition of disability broad enough to cover all aspects of disability, agreeing with Serbia and Montenegro’s proposal to include elements of existing definitions from other international instruments.  It agreed that the Inter-American Convention on Disability should be used as a starting point.  It supported including a reference to reasonable accommodation in the definition of “discrimination on the basis of disability.”  Regarding “national laws of general application,” it agreed with the deletion of “national” but noted that language must be consistent throughout the convention.  It was open to the use of either “disproportionate burden” or “undue hardship,” depending on the consensus of the committee.

Jamaica agreed that the definition of disability and PWD was an important part of the convention while recognizing the difficulties of defining these terms. It noted the Inter-American Convention on Disability and the ICF, and believed that there were sufficient examples of definitions to draw upon to achieve consensus. Jamaica was currently drafting legislation on PWD and discussing the same issue, and had decided upon the WHO-ICF approach, which distinguishes between impairment, disability and handicap.  It stated that whether or not a consensus was reached on a definition of disability, the issue must be treated somehow in the convention text.  It noted the proposal of Serbia and Montenegro to include the definition of disability in the preamble.  It asked the Chair and the representatives of OHCHR whether it might be possible to include an annex that would outline the range of definitions and concepts used to ensure that the convention was comprehensive and give a clear sense of what it covers.  It mentioned that with regard to monitoring mechanisms, PWD must have access in order to present their cases, and noted that the absence of a clear definition of “persons with disabilities” could complicate this process.  It also believed that when international monitoring is discussed, the provision should include the mechanism by which individual cases would be heard. 

The Chair stated that there were several options if a consensus could not be reached on the definition of disability, including referencing elements of a definition in the preamble as suggested by Serbia and Montenegro, or mentioning the issue in the final report adopting the convention. He noted also that the definitions used in the Inter-American Convention, as well as those proposed by Kenya and Australia, are relatively brief, and stated that a definition of disability would optimally combine both the medical and the social approach.  Although he considered the Inter-American approach to be medical, he acknowledged that as Brazil had pointed out, it did incorporate some elements from the social approach.  He also acknowledged that other international conventions, such as CRC, CEDAW, and the CERD, do not explicitly define children, women, or race, respectively; however, he also recognized the complexity and nuance inherent in a definition of either disability or persons with disabilities. 

Iraq noted that its country has the highest rate of PWD, which is increasing every day.  It stated that it was currently creating legislation to address the needs of PWD within its constitution.  It emphasized the need for a flexible but clear-cut definition of disability and persons with disabilities, as each state will determine these definitions in its own legislation.  It believed that without such a definition, nothing in the convention would be useful.  It noted, for example, a law that once existed in Iraq that stated if a person were 50% disabled, they would qualify for assistance; considering the variety of 182 countries and NGOs, a single, comprehensive definition would be necessary.  It believed the definition in the Inter-American Convention could be used as the basis for discussion and concurred with the Canadian delegation and others regarding defining national laws of general application.  It stated its confidence that the Chair would produce a text that would cover all the social, economic and medical aspects of the situation. 

South Africa stated that disability should not be defined within the convention, and that states should be given the flexibility to define disability according to their own context.  If a definition is used, it must be human rights based and defined within the specific context of the provision of services.  It supported Canada’s proposal to emphasize the duty of the state to provide reasonable accommodation, but wished to take the issue of “undue burden” into consideration.  It added that the state’s duty to provide would assist in monitoring non-compliance. It supported the definition of universal and inclusive design as written.

India supported the EU text regarding communication, which incorporates “plain language” as a mode of communication.  Regarding the definition of discrimination on the basis of disability, it supported the Chair’s text, noting that the issue of indirect discrimination on the basis of disability had been discussed in earlier meetings of the committee.  It therefore believed the final sentence of this definition could be deleted without losing its meaning.  It supported the Chair’s text regarding reasonable accommodation, noting its understanding of “disproportionate burden” to indicate financial and other burdens which may not be commensurate with the benefit to be achieved.  It agreed that States Parties’ inability to provide reasonable accommodation does not necessarily amount to discrimination.  It believed that a definition of disability or persons with disabilities was the most important aspect of this article, but supported the Chair’s views that there is no need to define both of these terms.  It noted the references to ICF and the Inter-American Convention, and questioned how useful a general definition of disability would be, as States Parties will have to provide specific and scientifically measurable definitions of each type of disability in their domestic laws, and the scope of the definition may change over time.  It favored leaving the details of the definitions to individual states.

Senegal supported a clear definition of persons with disabilities, stating that it would not make sense to draft a convention without defining the people to whom it would apply.  It supported a medical definition more than a social one.

Yemen believed that to discuss matters applicable to PWD without having a clear definition would be to set aside the very foundation of the convention – that is, PWD themselves.  It pointed out that if a definition of “disability” is decided upon, it will logically lead to a clear definition of “persons with disabilities.”  It stated that a definition should embrace both social and medical models of disability, stating Yemen uses the medical definition in its legislation but has recognized the need to amend it to incorporate the social model approach.  Yemen believed that if it is left to national legislation to define disability or PWD, the definitions and the implementation of the convention would vary widely from state to state. It opposed referring to a definition of persons with disabilities in the preamble, as this would imply that a definition is unnecessary.  It reiterated that a definition must include both social and medical aspects and supported the Inter-American Convention as a good starting point, though it must be closely considered to determine what might be missing from it.

Chile suggested that “oral-aural communication and sign language” be replaced with “oral or signed languages.”  It supported a broad approach to the definition of disability and avoiding the medical approach present in many national legislations; it suggested the Inter-American Convention and the elements in the ICF as well.  It proposed that the definition should retain flexibility, as the convention will be amended over time and paradigms on disability will change. It agreed with Costa Rica’s proposal regarding discrimination on the basis of disability.  It supported eliminating “not imposing a disproportionate burden” from the provision on reasonable accommodation to avoid leaving a loophole for states.  Chile pointed out that in the context of human rights, “reasonable accommodation” has established parameters, and so a reference to “a disproportionate burden” would be unnecessary.

Austria on behalf of the EU, referring to Japan’s remarks on the issue of shifting responsibility in the context of “reasonable accommodation,” explained its proposal to replace “not” with “unless.”  It believed that the word “not” means that the burden of proof regarding disproportionate burden lies with the PWD, whereas “unless” implies that the burden of proof lies with states.  The EU shared the concern about the difficulty of establishing a definition of disability that could be agreed upon by everyone.  It believed that only a narrowly drawn definition, which would work against the aims of the convention, could generate consensus.

Libyan Arab Jamahiriya believed it was very important to include a definition of disability and supported Yemen’s proposal to include a definition that would serve as a reference point.  Although it is difficult to list the different types of disability, there are medical and social definitions that could assist in arriving at a universal and inclusive definition.  It supported retaining the definition of “national laws of general application” as written.

IDC stated that regarding “communication,” it is important to use proper terminology and make the text as inclusive as possible for PWD.  It opposed a definition of “disability” as such, as over time it could not effectively describe all kinds of disabilities.  It hoped to move away from a medical approach and towards a definition focused on the relationship between disability and the social environment.  It therefore supported a definition of “person with a disability,” as reflected in its written proposal. Regarding “discrimination on the basis of disability,” the IDC proposed adding the concept of prohibiting discrimination on the basis of association with a PWD and also the notion of persons having the choice to self-identify as persons with disabilities but not being so identified against contrary to their choice.  It supported including denial of reasonable accommodation as a form of discrimination, noting that this was consistent with General Comment 5 of CESCR and stating that it was a breakthrough for this issue to receive such strong support.  The IDC supported the EU’s proposal and reasoning for deleting “national laws of general application.”  Regarding “reasonable accommodation,” it proposed deleting “not imposing a disproportionate burden where needed in a particular case,” questioning who would judge what constitutes “a disproportionate burden.”  It also believed that it is important to move away from the term “burden” in the context of disability, as it implies that PWD are a financial and social burden to society.  It therefore proposed replacing “where needed in a particular case” with “that is interactive, individualized and subject to the person’s consent.”   It supported deleting “universal design” from Article 2, with the justification and alternate suggestion presented in its written proposal.  Recalling the debate about “inclusive education, the IDC proposed adding a new definition on “inclusion,” as detailed in its written proposal.  Returning to a discussion of ICF and the definition of disability in the Standard Rules, it pointed out that the Standard Rules are thirteen years old and use a more outdated, medical interpretation of disability.  It believed that the convention should adopt more modern terminology in its definition of disability.  It noted that ICF is a very controversial definition of disability that many disability organizations do not accept.  It also pointed out that because ICF is revised every five years by the WHO, it would not make a logical basis for a definition for the convention.  The IDC supported examining the Inter-American Convention as a possible source for a definition, as well as the IDC proposed text.  It reiterated the importance of moving away from any kind of medical definition of disability.   

Another IDC representative reiterated IDC’s opposition to a definition of disability.  Defining different kinds of disability is not meaningful, however it is meaningful to define who would be protected by the convention.  It pointed out that many states approach psychosocial disabilities using the medical model approach to “mental illness.”  This excludes people with psychosocial disabilities from the broader realm of PWD and the protections they enjoy. However, the social model approach recognizes that the stigma, prejudices and stereotypes associated with people with psychosocial disabilities are themselves very disabling and often lead to violation of their human rights.  The IDC reviewed its written proposal for the definition of persons with disabilities.

A final IDC representative stated that “communication” and “language” each deserved their own definitions, as both are mentioned throughout the convention in several places.  It pointed outa that the definition of “communication” in the Chair’s text is a list of forms of communication without a definition.  It agreed with Colombia that communication is a social act by which humans share experiences and exchange information and knowledge, and proposed a definition of communication that it hoped could be formulated into a satisfactory final version.  It appreciated the EU proposal to use “spoken and signed languages” rather than “oral-aural,” and noted that a justification for this suggestion was included in the IDC’s written proposal.  It reviewed its written proposal for the definition of communication. Regarding the definition of “language,” it supported New Zealand’s proposal not to use “oral-aural” but to use “spoken and signed language.”  In reviewing its written proposal for the definition of “language, IDC noted that there are more than 6,000 spoken and hundreds of signed languages in the world.  It supported China’s proposal to include “written” in the definition of language.  Regarding Japan’s concern as to whether the provision on language implies that governments should recognize sign language as an official language, it noted that this is not the case, and that there are no references to official recognition of signed languages.

The Chair asked for clarification on the distinction between “sign language” and “signed language.”

IDC replied that the word “signed” was used to logically accompany “spoken” when referring to languages.  It noted that in other articles, “sign language” would be appropriate, but in defining the technicalities of what constitutes language, the reference to “signed languages” would be more appropriate.  It noted that this is the way that linguists usually define language in general.  It stated that if this caused ambiguity, it should be discussed until it was clarified. 

National Human Rights Institutions strongly supported amending the definition of discrimination to explicitly include a denial of reasonable accommodation as a form of discrimination.  It noted that the intimate connection between reasonable accommodation and non-discrimination was one of the most visible and positive accomplishment in the context of modern non-discrimination law in the context of disability, explicitly highlighted in General Comment 5 of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  It believed that the absence of this innovative aspect of comparative disability discrimination law would be conspicuous in the convention.  It noted that the issue had been debated in the subgroup of the working group in January 2004 working on this particular provision, and that since, national positions had evolved positively.  It believed that the fear that this change could translate to the judicial enforceability of a broad range of economic and social rights was misplaced.  “Reasonable accommodation” stems from the idea that refraining from discrimination is sometimes not enough to respect difference; there are instances in which something more is required, the cost of which is often modest or nothing.  Reasonable accommodation does not lead to wholesale structural change, does not amount to positive or affirmative action in the traditional sense, or equate to economic, social or cultural rights.  It noted that the United States’ courts and others have built a body of jurisprudence on reasonable accommodation over several decades, and that it unanimously includes reasonable accommodation in the non-discrimination norm.  NHRI therefore welcomed the draft text to reconnect reasonable discrimination with non-discrimination and added that it was flexible as to where reasonable accommodation was placed in the definition.  It also strongly supported the EU proposal to replace “not” with “unless” in the definition of reasonable accommodation as explained by the EU.

Center for Studies on Inclusive Education stated that “inclusion” goes beyond the concept of universal design or inclusive design.  It stressed that “inclusion” also covers education and other aspects, as explained by the IDC.  It believed that a more general definition of inclusion in the text deserved further consideration.  In such a definition, it supported including the concept of no segregation, stating that the provisions of the definition must be experienced together and not in special or separate settings.  It feared that “the concept of “inclusion could come to mean anything but the opposite of segregation.” 

People With Disability Australia (PWDA) strongly supported the inclusion of a broad and inclusive definition of PWD to clearly establish the people entitled to the protections of the convention.  It believed that a failure to identify this group of people would result in some states denying protection to particular groups and perpetuate the human rights violations the convention is meant to eliminate.  It stated that persons especially at risk are those with psychosocial disabilities, who are not recognized as PWD in many states.  It was concerned with some delegations’ suggestions that a definition of disability be limited to mental, physical and sensory impairment, which was not broad, as it might initially seem, but unnecessarily limiting.  It noted that courts in many states have ruled that this definition excludes conditions such as epilepsy, learning disability, and long-term health conditions such as HIV/AIDS.  PWDA was also concerned about the potential incorporation of “substantial limitation” or a similar term in the definition.  It noted that this term occurs in the U.S. and U.K. definitions of disability and has been interpreted by courts to deprive persons who have certain impairments of the protection of non-discrimination legislation on the basis that with a particular aid appliance or medication the person does not experience a substantial limitation.  It also requires PWD to prove that they experience a substantial limitation, leading to problems when the individual must show that the adjustment required is proportionate or does not represent a “disproportionate burden.”  These problems with this term should not be cemented in the convention.  It also believed the reference to “essential activities of everyday life” was potentially restrictive; it questioned whether the ability to use a mobile phone or attend a theater performance, for example, would be ruled “nonessential.”  From a legal perspective, it is important to ensure that the obligations imposed upon states are clearly ascertainable, and without a clear definition of to whom the convention applies, this is impossible and would pose difficulties, especially with regard to monitoring and communication procedures.  Including a broad and inclusive definition of disability in the convention could stimulate the fundamental changes required in some societies to protect the human rights of some groups not included within traditional concepts of disability. In this respect, PWDA urged states to reexamine the three definitions of disability contained in the Bangkok draft of the convention, which are framed within the social model and clearly identify the class of persons to be protected.  It also noted that at the time of this drafting, the proposed Definition B received wide support from intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations in the Asia-Pacific region.  It also strongly supported states that had called for the replacement of “disproportionate burden” with “unjustifiable hardship,” believing that “disproportionate burden” sets the bar for compliance too low while perpetuating a negative portrayal of PWD as “burdens” on society. 

Russian Federation stated that it was not yet prepared to offer a definite position on the definition of disability, however it wished to make a preliminary statement on a number of other issues.  It was flexible as to the use of the term “communication,” stating that on the whole, it was satisfied with the current text.  It supported deleting the end of the paragraph on discrimination.  It was flexible on the inclusion of the term “national laws of general application,” noting the importance of examining the context in which the term is being used in the decision to retain or delete it.  It believed that the concept of “reasonable accommodation” was complex and required examination in further detail, noting Canada’s effort to incorporate a more positive tone.  It supported proposed wording on universal design.  Regarding the inclusion of a definition of disability or PWD, it concurred with the points made in the Chair’s letter to the committee and supported the EU, Japan and others who opposed including a definition of disability in the text.  However, it did understand the concerns of those delegations who did support including a definition and was committed to working towards a compromise to resolve this issue.  In terms of adding “reasonable accommodation” to the provision on discrimination, the Russian Federation sympathized with the points made in the Chair’s letter and believed that the definition raised several issues central to the concept of discrimination; the inclusion of “denial of reasonable accommodation” as a form of discrimination connotes not a gradual but an immediate implementation.  This represents a change in thinking for many states.  It would also be important to define the concept of “denial of reasonable accommodation.”  It questioned what legal consequences would result if a state does everything possible given the resources available and is unable to immediately provide a necessary “reasonable accommodation.”  It therefore appealed to the committee to carefully consider the definition in order to avoid creating a new standard associated with the concept of discrimination.  It supported the Chair’s text concerning “language,” along with additions proposed by the IDC, although it had some reservations.  In particular, it did not understand what was meant by the phrase “members of a linguistic community.”  It therefore reiterated that there were a number of points on which it reserved its position.

The Chair summarized the discussion on Article 2, Definitions, as follows:
There was broad general support for the article. 

Joint Facilitators proposal on Women and Children

The Chair noted that the facilitators’ texts on these issues had been circulated (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7docs/ahc7fachwo1.doc) and invited the facilitator on women to address the committee first.  He noted that Professor Lee, from the Republic of Korea, would be leaving the meeting and would also be asked to speak before his departure due to his involvement with this issue.

The facilitator on women with disabilities (Theresia Degener) stated that while acknowledging that women and children with disabilities are separate groups, for the purposes of this convention, the approach to both social groups must be similar.  Five meetings were held under the auspices of the Facilitators on Women and Children during the 7th Ad Hoc Committee.  The first was a joint meeting of both facilitators; after that, there were two meetings on women and two on children.  All meetings were well-attended, and the facilitators received many useful proposals.  Overall, the discussion revealed that there is general agreement about the need to include strong, separate provisions for the protection of human rights of women with disabilities and with children with disabilities in the general part of the draft convention.  These provisions could either be inserted in Article 4, General Obligations, or as Articles 6 and 7, as they are now.  While there is no consensus on the placement of the provisions, there is agreement that they must be strong and have horizontal effect on all the rights enshrined in the convention.  There was also strong agreement that women and children with disabilities should be explicitly mentioned in the provisions related to awareness raising, statistics, data collection and monitoring.  There was also support for including women and children in more thematic articles of the convention, but there was no agreement as to the number of articles in which they would be included, or the specific language of the references.  Based on the meetings, however, which involved a great deal of constructive dialogue, the facilitators presented a joint proposal consisting of three parts.  Part One relates to provisions on women, Part Two relates to provisions on children, and Part Three relates to provisions on both.  In Part One, there is a strongly supported proposal to include in the preamble n bis a provision recognizing that women and girls are specifically affected by sexual and other forms of violence.  This issue disproportionately affects women and girls and is not addressed elsewhere in the preamble.  Regarding Article 6, two paragraphs were proposed; one recognizes that women are affected by multiple forms of discrimination, and that specific measures are necessary to remedy them. The second is somewhat repetitive, the rationale being that it must be made very clear that this article has a horizontal effect on all other articles of the convention, and that States Parties must consider women and girls with disabilities in every article they implement.    There was strong support for mentioning women in Article 16, on violence, Article 23, relating to family life, and Article 25, relating to health.  These areas comprise specific issues concerning women and girls with disabilities that need to be mentioned and would not be covered elsewhere in the convention. 

Regarding the provisions that the facilitator’s groups had agreed would be appropriate for a common approach to both women and children (hereafter referred to as the “common provisions”), the facilitator on women stated that Article 8 was agreed upon as an appropriate place for the inclusion of provisions common to both women and children with disabilities, as many of the barriers women and children with disabilities face are based upon prejudice.  Article 16, on violence was also a common provision.  Article 31, on statistics and data collection, based on EU and IDC proposals, the need to involve women and children with disabilities in data collection, and that the data must be disaggregated were recognized.  Regarding national implementation and monitoring, there was a proposal from Norway and the IDC to add “including focusing on gender and age-specific issues” as well as “men and women with disabilities” instead of PWD.  Regarding international monitoring, it was agreed that three central concepts are important: that the treaty monitoring body reflect a gender balance, that states be under obligation to report on the specific situation of women and children with disabilities, and that there be expertise represented in the body relating to women and children with disabilities.

The Chair gave the floor to the delegate from Republic of Korea to address the committee before his departure.

Republic of Korea stated that it had originally proposed the inclusion of a separate article on women during the 3rd session of the Ad Hoc Committee.  It is undisputed that women with disabilities face discrimination everyday and almost everywhere, and noted that CEDAW and the Standard Rules do not address concerns specific to women with disabilities.  Women with disabilities need and deserve a separate article in the convention to ensure that women with disabilities were included in the implementation of the convention.  One useful reference was the article on rural women in CEDAW, created because rural women were considered especially vulnerable.  This obligates governments to include specific references to rural women in their country reports, promoting the drafting and implementation of policies relating to rural women.  Many CEDAW experts agree that a separate article on rural women has made it easier to monitor progress as well.  It noted that many delegations preferred to include a provision on women with disabilities in the general obligations, to apply horizontally throughout the convention.  The Republic of Korea stated that full horizontal implementation could not be realistically ensured without a separate article on women with disabilities, citing the lack of will and/or resources in some countries to address these issues.  Although the Republic of Korea’s original approach had been a to include a detailed article on women with disabilities, it was flexible regarding the approach of the facilitator’s text, which was a twin-track approach highlighting the special circumstances of women with disabilities in a concise separate article while mainstreaming other substantive elements into relevant articles.  Nevertheless, though appreciated the facilitator’s proposal, it stated that it  could be strengthened that it would offer concrete proposals later, depending on the outcome of the discussions.

The Chair adjourned the session.

 

 


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, #12 were Ciara Kennedy and Anny Gaul. Editors for  #12 were Anny Gaul 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