Article 4 - General Obligations
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Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities
Adopted by the United Nations General
Assembly, forty-eighth session, resolution 48/96, annex, of 20 December 1993
Part III (Rules 13-22): Implementation
Rule 13. Information and research
States assume the ultimate responsibility
for the collection and dissemination of information on the living conditions
of persons with disabilities and promote comprehensive research on all aspects,
including obstacles that affect the lives of persons with disabilities.
• States should, at regular intervals, collect gender-specific statistics and other information concerning the living conditions of persons with disabilities. Such data collection could be conducted in conjunction with national censuses and household surveys and could be undertaken in close collaboration, inter alia, with universities, research institutes and organizations of persons with disabilities. The data collection should include questions on programmes and services and their use.
• States should consider establishing a data bank on disability, which would include statistics on available services and programmes as well as on the different groups of persons with disabilities. They should bear in mind the need to protect individual privacy and personal integrity.
• States should initiate and support programmes of research on social, economic and participation issues that affect the lives of persons with disabilities and their families. Such research should include studies on the causes, types and frequencies of disabilities, the availability and efficacy of existing programmes and the need for development and evaluation of services and support measures.
• States should develop and adopt terminology and criteria for the conduct of national surveys, in cooperation with organizations of persons with disabilities.
• States should facilitate the participation of persons with disabilities in data collection and research. To undertake such research States should particularly encourage the recruitment of qualified persons with disabilities.
• States should support the exchange of research findings and experiences.
• States should take measures to disseminate information and knowledge on disability to all political and administration levels within national, regional and local spheres.
Rule 14. Policy-making and planning
States will ensure that disability aspects are included in all relevant policy-making and national planning.
• States should initiate and plan adequate policies for persons with disabilities at the national level, and stimulate and support action at regional and local levels.
• States should involve organizations of persons with disabilities in all decision-making relating to plans and programmes concerning persons with disabilities or affecting their economic and social status.
• The needs and concerns of persons with disabilities should be incorporated into general development plans and not be treated separately.
• The ultimate responsibility of States for the situation of persons with disabilities does not relieve others of their responsibility. Anyone in charge of services, activities or the provision of information in society should be encouraged to accept responsibility for making such programmes available to persons with disabilities.
• States should facilitate the development by local communities of programmes and measures for persons with disabilities. One way of doing this could be to develop manuals or check-lists and provide training programmes for local staff.
Rule 15. Legislation
States have a responsibility to create
the legal bases for measures to achieve the objectives of full participation
and equality for persons with disabilities.
• National legislation, embodying the rights and obligations of citizens, should include the rights and obligations of persons with disabilities. States are under an obligation to enable persons with disabilities to exercise their rights, including their human, civil and political rights, on an equal basis with other citizens. States must ensure that organizations of persons with disabilities are involved in the development of national legislation concerning the rights of persons with disabilities, as well as in the ongoing evaluation of that legislation.
• Legislative action may be needed to remove conditions that may adversely affect the lives of persons with disabilities, including harassment and victimization. Any discriminatory provisions against persons with disabilities must be eliminated. National legislation should provide for appropriate sanctions in case of violations of the principles of non-discrimination.
• National legislation concerning persons with disabilities may appear in two different forms. The rights and obligations may be incorporated in general legislation or contained in special legislation. Special legislation for persons with disabilities may be established in several ways:
• By enacting separate legislation, dealing exclusively with disability matters;
• By including disability matters within legislation on particular topics;
• By mentioning persons with disabilities specifically in the texts that serve to interpret existing legislation.
• A combination of those different approaches might be desirable. Affirmative action provisions may also be considered.
• States may consider establishing formal statutory complaints mechanisms in order to protect the interests of persons with disabilities.
Rule 16. Economic policies
States have the financial responsibility
for national programmes and measures to create equal opportunities for persons
• States should include disability matters in the regular budgets of all national, regional and local government bodies.
• States, non-governmental organizations and other interested bodies should interact to determine the most effective ways of supporting projects and measures relevant to persons with disabilities.
• States should consider the use of economic measures (loans, tax exemptions, earmarked grants, special funds, and so on) to stimulate and support equal participation by persons with disabilities in society.
• In many States it may be advisable to establish a disability development fund, which could support various pilot projects and self-help programmes at the grass-roots level.
Rule 17. Coordination of work
States are responsible for the establishment
and strengthening of national coordinating committees, or similar bodies, to
serve as a national focal point on disability matters.
• The national coordinating committee or similar bodies should be permanent and based on legal as well as appropriate administrative regulation.
• A combination of representatives of private and public organizations is most likely to achieve an intersectoral and multidisciplinary composition. Representatives could be drawn from concerned government ministries, organizations of persons with disabilities and non-governmental organizations.
• Organizations of persons with disabilities should have considerable influence in the national coordinating committee in order to ensure proper feedback of their concerns.
• The national coordinating committee should be provided with sufficient autonomy and resources to fulfil its responsibilities in relation to its decision-making capacities. It should report to the highest governmental level.
Rule 18. Organizations of persons
States should recognize the right
of the organizations of persons with disabilities to represent persons with
disabilities at national, regional and local levels. States should also recognize
the advisory role of organizations of persons with disabilities in decision-making
on disability matters.
• States should encourage and support economically and in other ways the formation and strengthening of organizations of persons with disabilities, family members and/or advocates. States should recognize that those organizations have a role to play in the development of disability policy.
• States should establish ongoing communication with organizations of persons with disabilities and ensure their participation in the development of government policies.
• The role of organizations of persons with disabilities could be to identify needs and priorities, to participate in the planning, implementation and evaluation of services and measures concerning the lives of persons with disabilities, and to contribute to public awareness and to advocate change.
• As instruments of self-help, organizations of persons with disabilities provide and promote opportunities for the development of skills in various fields, mutual support among members and information sharing.
• Organizations of persons with disabilities could perform their advisory role in many different ways such as having permanent representation on boards of government-funded agencies, serving on public commissions and providing expert knowledge on different projects.
• The advisory role of organizations of persons with disabilities should be ongoing in order to develop and deepen the exchange of views and information between the State and the organizations.
• Organizations should be permanently represented on the national coordinating committee or similar bodies.
• The role of local organizations of persons with disabilities should be developed and strengthened to ensure that they influence matters at the community level.
Rule 19. Personnel training
States are responsible for ensuring
the adequate training of personnel, at all levels, involved in the planning
and provision of programmes and services concerning persons with disabilities.
• States should ensure that all authorities providing services in the disability field give adequate training to their personnel.
• In the training of professionals in the disability field, as well as in the provision of information on disability in general training programmes, the principle of full participation and equality should be appropriately reflected.
• States should develop training programmes in consultation with organizations of persons with disabilities, and persons with disabilities should be involved as teachers, instructors or advisers in staff training programmes.
• The training of community workers is of great strategic importance, particularly in developing countries. It should involve persons with disabilities and include the development of appropriate values, competence and technologies as well as skills which can be practised by persons with disabilities, their parents, families and members of the community.
Rule 20. National monitoring and evaluation
of disability programmes in the implementation of the Rules
States are responsible for the continuous
monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of national programmes and services
concerning the equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities.
• States should periodically and systematically evaluate national disability programmes and disseminate both the bases and the results of the evaluations.
• States should develop and adopt terminology and criteria for the evaluation of disability-related programmes and services.
• Such criteria and terminology should be developed in close cooperation with organizations of persons with disabilities from the earliest conceptual and planning stages.
• States should participate in international cooperation in order to develop common standards for national evaluation in the disability field. States should encourage national coordinating committees to participate also.
• The evaluation of various programmes in the disability field should be built in at the planning stage, so that the overall efficacy in fulfilling their policy objectives can be evaluated.
Rule 21. Technical and economic cooperation
States, both industrialized and developing,
have the responsibility to cooperate in and take measures for the improvement
of the living conditions of persons with disabilities in developing countries.
• Measures to achieve the equalization of opportunities of persons with disabilities, including refugees with disabilities, should be integrated into general development programmes.
• Such measures must be integrated into all forms of technical and economic cooperation, bilateral and multilateral, governmental and non-governmental. States should bring up disability issues in discussions on such cooperation with their counterparts.
• When planning and reviewing programmes of technical and economic cooperation, special attention should be given to the effects of such programmes on the situation of persons with disabilities. It is of the utmost importance that persons with disabilities and their organizations are consulted on any development projects designed for persons with disabilities. They should be directly involved in the development, implementation and evaluation of such projects.
• Priority areas for technical and economic cooperation should include:
o The development of human resources through the development of skills, abilities and potentials of persons with disabilities and the initiation of employment-generating activities for and of persons with disabilities;
o The development and dissemination of appropriate disability-related technologies and know-how.
• States are also encouraged to support the formation and strengthening of organizations of persons with disabilities.
• States should take measures to improve the knowledge of disability issues among staff involved at all levels in the administration of technical and economic cooperation programmes.
Rule 22. International cooperation
States will participate actively in
international cooperation concerning policies for the equalization of opportunities
for persons with disabilities.
• Within the United Nations, the specialized agencies and other concerned intergovernmental organizations, States should participate in the development of disability policy.
• Whenever appropriate, States should introduce disability aspects in general negotiations concerning standards, information exchange, development programmes, etc.
• States should encourage and support the exchange of knowledge and experience among:
o Non-governmental organizations concerned with disability issues;
o Research institutions and individual researchers involved in disability issues;
o Representatives of field programmes and of professional groups in the disability field;
o Organizations of persons with disabilities;
o National coordinating committees.
• States should ensure that the United Nations and the specialized agencies, as well as all intergovernmental and interparliamentary bodies, at global and regional levels, include in their work the global and regional organizations of persons with disabilities.
World Programme of Action
Concerning Disabled Persons
Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, thirty-seventh session, Resolution 37/52 of 3 December 1982
Chapter 3: Proposals for the implementation of the WPA
To implement the World Programme of Action, it is necessary for Member States:
• To plan, organize and finance activities at each level;
• To create, through legislation, the necessary legal bases and authority for measures to achieve the objectives;
• To ensure opportunities by eliminating barriers to full participation;
• To provide rehabilitation services by giving social, nutritional, medical, educational and vocational assistance and technical aids to disabled persons;
• To establish or mobilize relevant public and private organizations;
• To support the establishment and growth of organizations of disabled persons;
• To prepare and disseminate information relevant to the issues of the World Programme of Action among all elements of the population, including persons with disabilities and their families;
• To promote public education to ensure a broad understanding of the key issues of the World Programme of Action and its implementation;
• To facilitate research on matters related to the World Programme of Action;
• To promote technical assistance and cooperation related to the World Programme of Action;
• To facilitate the participation of disabled persons and their organizations in decisions related to the World Programme of Action.