Skip navigation links Sitemap | About us | FAQs

UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality


Article 20 - Personal mobility
Background Documents | Article 20 Background
Seventh Session | Sixth Session | Fourth Session | Third Session
Working Group | References

Third Session


Comments, proposals and amendments submitted electronically



European Union


UN System organizations



National Human Rights Institutions

National Human Rights Institutions

Non-governmental organizations

Australian NGOs

European Disability Forum

Indian NGO Consultative Meeting

International Save the Children Alliance

Landmine Survivors Network

Rehabilitation International

World Blind Union

Comments, proposals and amendments submitted electronically



ARTICLE 20 – Personal mobility

Modify letter (a) as follows:

(a) Facilitate access by persons with disabilities to high-quality mobility aids, assistive technologies, good quality devices and personal help, facilitators and intermediaries, at an affordable cost (eliminates the word “granting”)

Change the drafting of letter (c) as follows:

(b) Undertake and promote research, development and production of mobility aids, devices and new assistive technologies for the mobility of persons with disabilities.

Add the following phrase “through accessible formats” to letter (f) as follows:

(f) Provide information to persons with disabilities, “through accessible formats”, about mobility aids, devices…….”.




Draft Article 20

States Parties to this Convention shall take effective measures to ensure liberty of movement with the greatest possible independence for persons with disabilities, including:

EU Proposal: EU suggests following rewording: “States Parties to this Convention shall take appropriate measures to promote liberty of movement for persons with disabilities”.

(a) facilitating access by persons with disabilities to high-quality mobility aids, devices, assistive technologies and forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including by making them available at affordable cost;

EU Proposal: EU suggests rewording: “facilitating access by persons with disabilities to high-quality mobility aids, devices, assistive technologies” (Cf new Article 15 (2) in relation to "life assistance").

(b) promoting universal design for mobility aids, devices and assistive technologies and encouraging private entities which produce these to take into account all aspects of mobility for persons with disabilities;

EU Proposal: EU suggests deletion of (b) (Cf new Article 19 e bis.)

(c) undertaking and promoting research, development and production of new mobility aids, devices and assistive technologies;

EU Proposal: EU suggests deletion of (c) (Cf new Article 19 e bis.)

(d) providing training in mobility skills to persons with disabilities and to specialist staff working with persons with disabilities;

(e) facilitating the freedom of movement of persons with disabilities in the manner and at the time of their choice, and at affordable cost;

(f) providing information to persons with disabilities about mobility aids, devices, assistive technologies and other forms of assistance and services;

(g) promoting awareness about mobility issues for persons with disabilities.

EU Proposal: EU suggests deletion of (d), (e), (f) and (g)




Draft Article 20

Substitute the word ‘effective’ with the word ‘progressive’ so that it reads:
States Parties to this Convention shall take effective progressive measures to ensure liberty of movement with the greatest possible independence for persons with disabilities, including:



UN System organizations


See references to international human rights conventions and jurisprudence




Article 20 Personal mobility

Recognizing the importance of personal mobility in accessing health and rehabilitation services, WHO would like to recommend that physical accessibility be given equal importance in health and rehabilitation settings, means of transportation and roads leading to health and rehabilitation facilities. In this context, WHO is committed to providing technical assistance and expertise within its mandate and looks forward to contributing towards issues related to mobility aids, devices and assistive technologies.



National Human Rights Institutions


Intervention at the Third Session:
Article 20

Chair, National Human Rights Institutions would like to propose that Article 20 be titled “Liberty of Movement” we believe that this introduces an emphasis on a rights-based approach and moves away from the medical model.

We also seek the deletion of the words “with the greatest possible independence” in the chapeau.

In keeping with our previous thinking regarding “Universal design”, we seek the deletion of subsection (6) as well as the deletion of (g) which we believe should be in the general obligations and not repeated in every Article.


Non-governmental organizations


Draft Article 20

Mr Chairman:

We intervene briefly to strongly applaud the terms of this article.

Personal mobility is crucial to the independence, dignity, and positive self-concept of people with disability. It is also essential to our social and economic participation.

It is important to fully appreciate that the issue of personal mobility is critical to a number of impairment groups, not just people with physical impairments who rely on mobility devices, such as scooters and wheelchairs, for mobility. For example, people who are blind require orientation technology, audible announcements, tactile indicators, and Braille signage in order to successfully navigate the community. People with intellectual impairment also require audible announcements and signage in plain-language if they are to do so. The article must be amended to ensure that it explicitly encompasses the mobility needs of people from all relevant impairment groups.

We are concerned about the reference to the universal design in sub-paragraph (b). The principles of universal design apply to the built environment and generic goods, services, and facilities etc. It aims to create artifacts that are accessible to the largest number of people without the need for specific adjustments. In this respect it would be applicable to audible announcements and signage. However, this article largely deals with devices that are designed to meet the specific requirements of people with disability. Many of these devices are highly individualized. They cannot be universally designed.

In relation to the second part of subparagraph (b) we propose that the word “encouraging” is replaced with the word “ensure.” Non-state actors are the principal producers of mobility aids, devices and assistive technologies, and it is essential that States require them to comply with the terms of this convention.

We urge delegates to amend sub-paragraph (e) to require the development, on the basis of international cooperation where applicable, of international design standards for mobility aids.

We draw attention to sub-paragraph (c) of the equivalent article in the Bangkok draft and urge delegates to include it in this article. It requires that “the built environment is designed or adapted to facilitate the mobility of persons with disabilities with the greatest possible independence.” While some aspects of these requirements are dealt with under draft article 19 (2), the requirements set out there currently apply only to buildings and facilities, rather than to the built environment more generally.

We also seek the addition to two new sub-paragraphs –

(a) which should require States to take effective measures to ensure the timely availability of affordable maintenance and emergency repair services for mobility devices and appliances; and

(b) which would require states to allow the portability of personal mobility aids and devices purchased or granted through public subsidy across internal and international borders without cost.




Draft Article 20 Personal mobility

Training referred to in paragraph d) should also cover other persons associated with rehabilitation and support work with people with disabilities.

If a disabled person needs to be accompanied by a personal assistant in using public transport, the personal assistant should travel free of charge. This should be specified in paragraph e)




Draft Article 20

33. The participants felt that the Article 20 on Personal Mobility in its present shape is weak and vague and it doesn’t address the legal issue involved, therefore Government of India and the Members of the Ad hoc Committee may wish to recast this article.




Draft Article 21 – health (and rehabilitation)

The coverage of both health and rehabilitation in one article is questionable as it just perceives rehabilitation as a component of health. We suggest to draft an article on health and a separate article on rehabilitation. With regard to health we advise to follow a similar pattern as in the education article. Aiming for accessible & quality health services for all, including disabled children and adults, as the rule and specific services as an exception to prepare for and support basic health services. The entire article on health needs to be revised into a less medical-technical language.

Suggested change

States Parties recognise that all persons with disabilities have full access to health services and the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health without discrimination on the basis of disability. In particular States Parties shall:

a. provide persons with disabilities with the same range and standard of health services as other citizens, including sexual and reproductive health services

b. develop understanding of disability rights, respect for diversity, non-discriminatory attitudes and a realistic perception of the capacities of disabled people as users of health services for health professionals at all levels, in line with the principles of this Convention

c. involve children and adults with disabilities and their respective organisations in the development and monitoring of health policies and of a code of ethics for public and private health care, promoting quality, transparency and respect for human rights at national level

d. strive to provide specific health services needed by persons with disabilities to enable optimal development potential and self-reliance in daily life

e. ensure that respect is afforded to children and adults with disabilities to give consent to or refuse medical interventions of all kind, in accordance with their evolving capacities. Arrange decision-making in accordance with earlier articles in this convention.6





As indicated in Footnote 72, Draft Article 20 is intended to be distinguished from the broader right to liberty of movement, which is understood to mean the right of individuals to move freely within the borders of their state, as well as to leave and return to it, subject only to restrictions necessary to protect interests such as national security, public safety, health, and the prevention of crime. (Cf. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 12; Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Articles 2-4) Given that issues of liberty of movement in the traditional sense are not addressed in Draft Article 20, it would therefore seem appropriate that an additional article be included to more fully elaborate the right to liberty of movement as it relates to people with disabilities.

In many respects, Draft Article 20 relates to the provision of support services as understood in Rule 4 of the UN Standard Rules, though Draft Article 20 is limited in scope to support services related to mobility. The Ad Hoc Committee may wish to consider the inclusion of a specific article related to support services.




Article 20. Personal Mobility

Rehabilitation International is joined in this intervention by European Disability Forum, Inclusion International, Disabled People International, World Federation of the Deaf, World Union for Progressive Judaism, Landmine Survivors Network, World Blind Union.

We reiterate our position under draft Article 19 with respect to the term ‘universal design’.

Our Operating Philosophy – Personal Mobility Enhances Choice and Independence

We view the right of personal mobility as crucial in enabling persons with disabilities to assume power over their own lives. There isn’t much point in rendering buildings, transport and other publicly available services accessible unless they can be reached by persons with disabilities in the first place. That is why we strongly support the inclusion of draft Article 20.

Propose Using the Term ‘Appropriate Assistive Technology’

We would prefer the use of the term ‘appropriate assistive technology’ in place of ‘aids, devices and assistive technologies’ as used in paragraph (a) and throughout. We believe that the word ‘appropriate’ denotes greater cultural sensitivity and also acknowledges that the relevant assistive technology will vary by country as well as within age groups.

Need to Highlight Creative Ways of Making Technology Affordable

We appreciate the sentiment contained in paragraph (e) concerning ‘affordable cost. We believe that a range of interventions are required to render such technology more affordable. This would include supply-side intervention in the form of supporting companies in their research and development and in reducing barriers in bringing their products to a broader market. The emergence of a mass market will, in time reduce the overall cost of the relevant products to everyone’s advantage. It therefore makes sense to require States to take steps to nurture this market. It would also include demand-side interventions in subsidizing persons with disabilities in order to bring appropriate assistive technology within their financial reach. We believe that both supply-side and demand side interventions should be required. We therefore propose the following language:

(x) States Parties shall support the emergence and development of assistive technology production through incentives and other measures to support innovation and to reduce barriers between product design and the placing of such products on the market. States Parties shall also take steps to ensure the affordability of such assistive technology for persons with disabilities.




Article 20:

Article 19 and 20 must be re-written and merged together. There is some overlapping.

There is a need to define the word "mobility" because it is not clear whether it is only relevant for mobility impaired persons or if it covers the need for assistive devices for all kind of PWD:s. Mobility could be defined in Article 3, under Definition.

The Article touches on the subject of rehabilitation but do not reach out to the subject.

Rehabilitation including CBR should rather be included in a new article, which also should merge accessibility and mobility together. Health should be separated from rehabilitation. CBR could be defined under Article 3, Definition.



Home | Sitemap | About us | FAQs | Contact us

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