Article 23 - Social security and an adequate standard of living
Background Documents | Article 23 Background
Seventh Session | Sixth
Session | Fourth Session | Third
Working Group | References
Draft article 23
111. There was general agreement that the order of paragraphs 1 and 2 should be reversed, so that “adequate standard of living” (paragraph 2) would be addressed ahead of “social security”. There was also a suggestion to create two separate draft articles out of draft article 23, one on an “adequate standard of living”, and the other on “social security”. The Committee agreed to reflect further on this proposal.
112. The Committee discussed options to replace or complement “social security” in order to find a broader phrase to encapsulate the assistance provided by a state, and to ensure that there was no discrimination against persons with disabilities in the provision of that assistance. Suggestions included “social insurance” (currently used in this draft article), “social assistance”, “social support”, “social safety nets”, and “social protection”. The Committee noted that further reflection on this issue was required.
113. The paragraph, now paragraph 2, currently reads:
2. States Parties recognise the right of all persons with disabilities to [social security, including social insurance/social assistance/social support/social safety nets/social protection], and to the enjoyment of that right without discrimination on the basis of disability, and shall take appropriate steps to safeguard and promote the realisation of this right, including measures to:
114. Proposals for this sub-paragraph included specifying that the services, devices and other assistance referred to in this provision should be offered “free of charge”, a proposal that had also been made in the context of other draft articles. There was resistance to this specific proposal, although it was agreed that delegations were committed to the concept of “affordability”.
115. There was general support to replace “necessary” with “appropriate” in this sub paragraph, in order to ensure consistency with the rest of the draft convention.
116. Sub-paragraph (a) currently reads:
(a) ensure access by persons with disabilities to appropriate services, devices and other assistance for disability-related needs;
117. There was general support for the deletion of the references in this sub paragraph to particular groups of persons with disabilities, and it was noted that the incorporation of “women” and “girls” (children) in to the draft convention was being examined by the facilitators on those issues. The difficult situation of many aged persons with disabilities was also highlighted, but there was no agreement as to how this issue should be handled.
118. The Committee noted that taking into account the needs and perspectives of persons with disabilities was addressed in paragraph 2 of draft article 4. It was agreed that the Committee needed to ensure that the draft convention did not unduly duplicate coverage of specific issues, and there was general support to delete this phrase.
119. Sub-paragraph (b) currently reads:
(b) ensure [equal] access by persons with disabilities, [particularly women and girls with disabilities and the aged with disabilities,] to [social security/social assistance/social support/social safety net/social protection] programmes and poverty reduction strategies;
120. Many delegations suggested that the defining element of this sub-paragraph was the situation of persons with disabilities living in poverty.
121. There was some support for “severe and multiple” to be deleted from this sub-paragraph, largely because of the difficulty in defining “severe” and “multiple” and of identifying which categories of persons with disabilities they encompassed. The provision would then simply refer to “persons with disabilities”. This was not an unopposed view, however, and other proposals included referring “in particular” to “severe and multiple” disabilities.
122. There was general support to retain the reference to “families” in this sub-paragraph, as families were particularly relevant in the context of this draft article.
123. Sub-paragraph (c) currently reads:
(c) ensure access by persons with disabilities, and their families, living in situations of poverty to assistance from the State to cover disability-related expenses (including adequate training, counselling, financial assistance and respite care), which should not become a disincentive to develop themselves;
124. There was general support to replace “governmental” with “public”. It was also agreed that the rest of this sub-paragraph, from “including”, would be deleted.
125. Sub-paragraph (d) currently reads:
(d) ensure access by persons with disabilities to public housing programs;
126. There was general support to delete this sub-paragraph on the basis that it had the potential to be unduly prescriptive. Some delegations, however, wanted to retain it, and there was a suggestion that this sub-paragraph should be limited to “disability-related expenses”.
127. The Committee noted that in some countries, and under some religions, life insurance was not looked on favourably. If this sub-paragraph was to be retained, there was a need to ensure that it did not in any way imply or create a “right to life insurance” in those countries where it was not permitted.
128. Some delegations suggested that the reference to “health insurance” under this sub-paragraph properly belonged under draft article 21. This issue needed to be considered further by the Committee in order to ensure an integrated text.
129. In relation to paragraph 2, some delegations suggested that the “listing” of elements of an adequate standard of living was not necessarily helpful, and could thus be deleted. Other delegations, however, supported such a list, and in particular supported the reference to access to clean water.
130. The paragraph, now paragraph 1, currently reads:
1. States Parties recognise the right of all persons with disabilities to an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families, [including adequate food, clothing, housing [and access to clean water]], and to the continuous improvement of living conditions, and shall take appropriate steps to safeguard and promote the realisation of this right [without discrimination on the basis of disability]. [States Parties shall ensure that persons with disabilities have access to clean water on an equal basis with others].