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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality




Letter from the Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee


27 November 2006



Dear Colleagues

With the completion of the work of the Drafting Committee, we are now ready to move into the final phase of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol.

At the outset, let me thank and congratulate Stefan Barriga for the superb job that he has done as Chairman of the Drafting Committee, in guiding its work and bringing it to a close so successfully. I should also like to thank those other colleagues who have participated in the Drafting Committee, particularly during the highly pressured period of the General Assembly. This effort has considerably enhanced the technical quality of the Convention and Optional Protocol.

As you may know, the final meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee will be held on Tuesday 5 December, constituting its resumed Eighth Session. This will be a technical meeting, for the purpose of receiving the report of the Chairman of the Drafting Committee on the results of its work, in ensuring uniformity of terminology throughout the text of the draft Convention and Optional Protocol and harmonizing the versions in the official languages of the United Nations.

This meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee will also have before it a draft resolution which has been circulated separately by the Bureau and is procedural in nature. The requirement is that the Ad Hoc Committee must recommend a draft resolution to the General Assembly for adoption together with the finalized texts of the Convention and Optional Protocol reflecting the Drafting Committee's work as part of the Ad Hoc Committee’s report. Any comments on the resolution may be directed through the Bureau. New Zealand and Mexico will also convene an open informal to ensure that the resolution is acceptable to all prior to the resumed Eighth Session.

I should emphasize that the purpose of the Ad Hoc Committee is mainly procedural, namely to endorse the results of the Drafting Committee and to forward the text to the plenary. While delegations are of course free to make statements, in particular following the adoption of the report, I would however like to remind colleagues that the Ad Hoc Committee does not have summary records. The report of the Ad Hoc Committee itself will need to be very brief, and purely formal in nature, to enable it to be completed, processed and translated in time for the meeting of the General Assembly to adopt the Convention and Optional Protocol, which will take place during the period 13-15 December.

It will of course be possible for delegations to make statements of an interpretative nature, on the record, at the meeting of the General Assembly plenary when the Convention and Optional Protocol are adopted. Colleagues will also be aware of the opportunities provided to States in this respect at the time of their signature, ratification or accession. I would therefore urge colleagues, to the extent possible, not to make such statements in the Ad Hoc Committee on 5 December.

I very much look forward to seeing colleagues again at our next and final meeting on 5 December, when we can complete our important work.  




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