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AD HOC COMMITTEE ON
AN INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION

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COMPILATION OF PROPOSALS
FOR ELEMENTS OF A CONVENTION

5 January 2004


PART II.     STATEMENT OF OBJECTIVES AND GENERAL PRINCIPLES


 

Index

PART I. Preamble
PART II. Statement of Objectives and General Principles
I. GENERAL COMMENTS
Governments
     The European Union
     Japan
     New Zealand
National Human Rights Institutions
     African Regional Workshop
     Commonwealth and Asia Pacific Region International Workshop
IGOs/Regional meetings
     Seminar of Quito
     Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
United Nations System
     ILO
NGOs
     European Disability Forum
     Inclusion International
     World Blind Union
     WNUSP
II. SPECIFIC PROPOSALS
Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committe
     Chair's draft
Governments
     China
     EU Proposal
     India
     Mexico
     Venezuela
IGOs/Regional Meetings
     Seminar of Quito
     Bangkok Draft
NGOs
     DPI Japan
Others/Individuals
     On-line Consultation
PART III. Scope/Definitions
PART IV. General Obligations of States Parties
PART V. Guarantee of Equality and Non-Discrimination
PART VI. Guarantee of Specific Rights
PART VII. Monitoring Mechanisms
PART VIII. Final/General Provisions

GENERAL COMMENTS

Governments

The European Union:

  • The purpose of the Convention should be to ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by persons with disabilities.
  • The fundamental principles to be followed are: non-discrimination, equality of opportunity, autonomy, participation and integration.

Japan:
(1) Objectives of the Convention
The Government of Japan's basic policies for persons with disabilities are based on the principle of "normalization." The principle is not geared toward giving special treatment to persons with disabilities, but rather aims at providing the conditions and environments under which persons with disabilities can live as ordinary citizens in communities together with those without disabilities. Based on this principle, the Government of Japan proposes that the keynote objectives of the Convention should promote the self-sustained lifestyle of persons with disabilities and their full participation in social, economic, cultural and other areas of activities.

(2) Principles to be embodied in the Convention

  • The Convention should aim at creating a society in which every citizen, regardless of living with or without disabilities, mutually respects and supports each other's personality and individuality.
  • Persons with disabilities should be fully respected for their human rights as equal constituents of society. They should be able to fully participate in the activities in communities by their own free will and, at the same time, share responsibilities as full members of society.
  • In order to make the social participation of persons with disabilities viable and substantial, it is necessary to eliminate the factors which limit or restrict their participation in social activities. Positive measures should be taken to support persons with disabilities in exercising their capacities in full and in fully accomplishing their personal value.
  • Possible measures should be taken to promote a barrier-free society, with regard to both "software" and "hardware" so that every citizen, with or without disabilities, can enjoy a safe livelihood while fully exercising his/her capacity.
  • While ensuring consistency with existing international human rights instruments, in particular, the "without distinction" principle prescribed in Article 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and "without discrimination before the law" principle prescribed in Article 26 of the ICCPR, the Convention should specify the rights which are of particular relevance to persons with disabilities but are not clearly provided within the existing international human rights instruments.
  • The Convention should allow contracting Parties to take progressive measures to realize the economic, social and cultural rights of persons with disabilities, so that many countries adhere to Article 2 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), which provides that "Each State Party undertakes to take steps , to the maximum of its available resources," and which would be a good basis for elaborating concrete wording.
  • Special measures taken in order to realize the rights of persons with disabilities shall not be considered as discrimination against such persons. An explicit provision to this effect should be included in the Convention. (Reference: Article 1, paragraph 4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), Article 4, paragraph 1 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms against Women (CEDAW).)

New Zealand:
New Zealand proposes that the Convention should:

  • Ensure that all disabled people without exception, are entitled to the full benefit and enjoyment of all fundamental human rights and freedoms on the principles of equality, dignity and autonomy and without any discrimination.
  • Draw upon the mandatory authority of the core human rights treaties, by expanding on the provisions in those Conventions in relation to all areas of life.
  • Recognise that the diversity of disabled people and their contexts in relation to gender, race, colour, age and ethnicity must be taken into account and in particular the dual disadvantage and multiple discrimination faced by some individuals and groups such as women, children and indigenous peoples.
  • Ensure the principles of non-discrimination and equal opportunity apply to disabled people by guaranteeing the choices and responsibilities experienced by non-disabled people, in all areas of their lives, can be equally experienced or accessed by disabled people, no matter what the cause, type or severity of an individuals impairment.
  • Acknowledge the lack of provision of reasonable supports and environmental accommodations necessary to eliminate all forms of discrimination against disabled people, including barriers to full participation in all areas of life.
  • Reaffirm Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right to life, liberty and security of persons, as a fundamental principle underpinning the Convention.
  • Primarily contain rights that are enforceable.
  • Promote the State and international mechanisms and cooperation required to achieve the objectives and successful monitoring of the Convention.
  • Provide a mechanism to ensure participation and proper representation of disabled people in the monitoring and implementation of the treaty and in all policy and decision making that impacts on disabled people.

National Human Rights Institutions

African Regional Workshop:
The objectives of the Convention should:

  • recognise that as all rights are indivisible and interdependent persons with disabilities are entitled to the full range of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights;
  • recognise the progressive realisation of certain rights;
  • ensure that the principles of non-discrimination and equal opportunity apply to persons with disabilities - the achievement of equality must be the common thread in the Convention;
  • acknowledge that the lack of provision of reasonable accommodation and/or positive actions to eliminate barriers to full participation is a form of discrimination; and
  • promote international and regional cooperation to support national efforts.

Commonwealth and Asia Pacific Region International Workshop:
The objectives of the Convention should:

  • recognise that persons with disabilities are entitled to the full range of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights;
  • recognise the progressive realisation of certain rights;
  • ensure that the principles of non-discrimination and equal opportunity apply to persons with disabilities;
  • acknowledge that the lack of provision of reasonable accommodation and/or positive actions to eliminate barriers to full participation is a form of discrimination; and
  • promote international cooperation to support national efforts.

IGOs/Regional meetings

Seminar of Quito:
considered that the objective should include the following concepts:

  • Promote and protect human rights
  • Elimination of discrimination
  • Promote independent living
  • Equality and equalization of opportunities
  • Promote international cooperation
  • Disseminate widely the rights that are contained in this Convention
  • Define strategies and disseminate the rights guaranteed in this instrument.

Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat:
Objectives of the convention:

  • To have a human rights based convention to enshrine the rights of the disabled people to participate in economic, political, social and cultural life; which is legally binding in terms of compliance, the implementation of which can be monitored and evaluated.
  • While other conventions (e.g. UDHR, CEDAW, CRC) imply that disabled people are covered by them, there is no clear focus on the specific issue of disability and people still face major obstacles in enjoying basic rights. The proposed convention should address this gap and give specific consideration to the needs of the disabled.

Principles to be embodied in the convention:

  • Protection and recognition of human rights of persons with disabilities.
  • Social justice
  • Equalization of opportunities
  • Non-discrimination
  • Inclusive practices - e.g. regarding education, children should be allowed to attend local schools, not special schools.
  • Need for a change in attitudes and perceptions of society
  • Celebration of the richness of society

United Nations System

ILO:

  • The proposed Convention should be approached from a human rights perspective. It should be informed by the overarching principle that all persons with disabilities, without exception, are entitled to the full benefit and enjoyment of all fundamental human rights and freedoms on the basis of equality and without discrimination.
  • All international human rights instruments protect the rights of persons with disabilities through the principles of equality and non-discrimination. The adoption of international standards dealing specifically with the rights of persons with disabilities should be seen as giving more detailed content to internationally agreed general rights and freedoms.
  • The Convention must apply to all categories of disabled persons.
  • Special attention should be paid to the situation of people with disabilities facing multiple discrimination including, in particular, women with disabilities and poor disabled persons in developing countries.
  • Special attention should be paid to the situation of persons with disabilities in rural and remote areas.
  • The provisions of the Convention should not conflict with existing provisions either of national law or international instruments, in particular those of Convention No. 159 concerning Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Disabled Persons and Convention No. 111 concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation.
  • The provisions of the Convention should be regarded as minima, which States party may go beyond in national law.
  • The Convention should address itself primarily to governments, with whom the main responsibility rests, while requiring States party to seek the cooperation of employer' and workers' organizations, and organizations of and for persons with disabilities.
  • The Convention should recognize that equality of opportunity exists only when any relevant restrictions or limitations caused directly or indirectly by a disability have been compensated for by appropriate modifications, adjustments or assistance. Denial of any such reasonable accommodation constitutes disability-based discrimination. It should thus require governments not merely to abstain from and prevent measures which might discriminate against persons with disabilities, but also to take affirmative action to reduce or remove barriers to full participation and to give preferential treatment, where necessary, in order to achieve equality of opportunity and treatment. Such affirmative action measures should not be regarded as discriminating against other workers.
  • The Convention should recognize the importance of social dialogue in achieving the rights contained in the Convention through national level negotiations and, in the case of employment, in the concrete exercise of these rights in the workplace, through collective bargaining.
  • As public services become generally more privatized, private employers and providers of goods and services, and other non-public bodies should increasingly become subject to both non-discrimination and equality norms in relation to persons with disabilities.
  • Rights can only be properly exercised and protected if people are aware of their existence and are in a position to access them. In other words, rights must be visible and accessible, and there should be access to justice through easy-to-use dispute prevention and settlement systems and to legal aid.
  • The Convention should recognize the importance of having an institutional framework to deal with the rights of persons with disabilities, appropriate to national conditions.
  • The importance of international cooperation in the promotion of development and, hence, in the effective implementation of the Convention should be strongly reflected, and governments in particular urged to adopt special measures to help achieve that goal.
  • The elaboration process should be open and transparent. It should provide for meaningful participation by all interested parties, in particular persons with disabilities and their representative organizations.
  • The Convention should include provision for a monitoring mechanism which should involve the specialized United Nations agencies and other UN organs, in their respective areas of competence.

NGOs

European Disability Forum:
EDF strongly supports the following recommendations made by the disability caucus which met throughout the first Ad Hoc Committee meeting in July-August 2002 (Recommendations for Final Report: Disability Caucus, UN Ad Hoc Committee, New York, July/August 2002) in New York:

"Ensure that a Convention emphasizes that human values of dignity, autonomy, equality, and social solidarity are fully respected with regard to persons with disabilities. It must condemn unequal treatment and discrimination in all their forms against persons with disabilities. A Convention should secure the mainstreaming of disability into existing international human rights instruments. Explicit validation that the rights and protections provided by the six core human rights treaties apply, without limitation, to all persons with disabilities and that any subsequent Convention contains specific reference to these existing norms. A Convention must respect the broad diversity of the population of persons with disabilities, so that it is of equal relevance and value, irrespective of impairment type and geographic location. Standards of protection for persons with disabilities must be equal to or exceed existing human rights standards. A Convention must have precedence over other U.N. instruments pertaining to disability that were developed earlier and that may have outdated or conflicting concepts or weaker provisions."

The Convention should also clearly state that no national or international legal instrument, provision of declarations or conventions or part of any such provision or any other legal text should be interpreted in a restrictive sense or in any other way that places persons with disabilities at a disadvantage in any context or offer them less protection than other persons.

Other principles on which the Convention should be based are those of integrity, liberty, social justice, self-determination and self-representation.

Inclusion International:
Key human rights principles to be included in a Convention

  • Principle of autonomy and self-determination (as far as persons with intellectual disability are concerned that means to abolish paternalistic guardianship laws).
  • Principle of diversity
  • Principle of full citizenship
  • Principle of social inclusion

World Blind Union:
We at the World Blind Union urge governments, working within the context of the process to develop a Convention on the rights of people with disabilities, to ensure that the following fundamental principles are incorporated into the Convention. This will ensure that the world's blind, partially sighted and deaf/blind people, and other groups of disabled people have:

  • The basic right to full inclusion as equal citizens in society
  • The autonomy for blind and partially sighted people to lead full and independent lives and achieve their full economic, social, cultural, civil and political potential.

WNUSP:
Principles
While the convention must deal with the obligations of states as well as necessary social and systemic changes, the focal point must be the rights of people with disabilities and their exercise under conditions of equality, self-determination (in the sense of making one's own decisions) and social solidarity.

Basic Articles: Overarching Provisions

The Convention should ensure that it supersedes outdated instruments, by means of a paragraph such as the following (which was included in the document "What Rights Should the Treaty Contain?" that was developed at the Expert Group Meeting in Mexico City):

Any international or national legal provision and/or administrative arrangement or decision in contravention with or derogation of the provisions of this convention shall be deemed void ab initio.

SPECIFIC PROPOSALS

Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee

Chair's draft:

Article 1
Objects of the Convention and underlying principles

1. The States Parties declare that the purpose of this Convention is to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy the full range of human rights and fundamental freedoms set out or reaffirmed in this Convention in the light of the following principles and irrespective of the origin, nature, degree, cause of a person's disability:

  1. the principles of autonomy and self-determination of persons with disabilities to lead full and independent lives;
  2. the principle of full inclusion of persons with disabilities as equal citizens and participants in all aspects of life;
  3. the principle of diversity and recognition of the right to be different; and
  4. the principle of equality of women and men, girls and boys.

Article 3
Fundamental human rights and freedoms

  1. The States Parties to this Convention affirm that all human beings, including persons with disabilities, are born free and equal in dignity and rights and are entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. These rights and freedoms include the rights and freedoms set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognised in the principal United Nations human rights treaties.
  2. In interpreting the scope of the rights listed in paragraph 1 for the purposes of this treaty, in no case shall an interpretation of these rights under this Convention be less generous that the interpretation given to those rights under those other instruments.

Governments

China:
Article 1

The Convention aims at recognizing, protecting and promoting the rights of persons with disabilities, eliminating all forms of discrimination against persons with disabilities, promoting the full participation of persons with disabilities in social life with equal opportunity, encouraging international cooperation to achieve the goals of this Convention.

EU Proposal:

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

Article 1

The purpose of the Convention shall be to ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by persons with disabilities.

Article 2

The fundamental principles to be followed shall be: non-discrimination, equality of opportunity, autonomy, participation and inclusion.

India:
Article 1: Objects

The object of this Convention is:-

(a) To recognize, secure, protect, guarantee, and promote the rights of persons with disabilities.

(b) To remove physical, attitudinal, psychological and informational barriers that prevent their participation in all aspects of community life.

(c) To design assistive devices, services, environments and societies where user-interfaces are flexible enough to allow the widest use of abilities, needs and preferences respecting diversity and differences.

(d) To eliminate inequality in status, facilities and opportunities for persons with disabilities

(e) To eliminate all forms of discrimination against persons with disabilities in public and private spheres;

(f) To encourage the autonomy of persons with disabilities and promote their full participation in economic, social, cultural, civil and political life, under conditions of equality;

(g) To promote new forms of international and regional cooperation to support national efforts for the benefit of persons with disabilities and their families.

(h) To respect inter-country and intra-country resource-variations which will allow for progressive realization of rights with reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities.

Mexico:
Article 1
The object of this Convention is to:

  1. Recognize, guarantee, promote, and protect the rights of persons with disabilities;
  2. Eliminate all forms of discrimination against persons with disabilities in public and private spheres;
  3. Promote the autonomy and independent lives of persons with disabilities and achieve their full participation in economic, social, cultural, civil, and political life, under conditions of equality;
  4. Promote new forms of international cooperation to support national efforts in the benefit of persons with disabilities, and achieve the objectives of this Convention.

Venezuela:
Article 1
Object
The object of this convention is to:

Promote, protect and ensure the exercise and full enjoyment of all the rights of persons with disabilities;
Eliminate all forms of discrimination against persons with disabilities in the political, civil, economic, social and cultural spheres;
Ensure full participation of persons with disabilities in economic and social life, under conditions of equality of treatment and of opportunity; and
Promote international cooperation in achieving the objectives of this Convention

IGO/Regional meetings

Seminar of Quito:

Suggests the following changes and additions to the text presented by Mexico:

Suggested title: Objectives

  1. Recognize, guarantee, promote, and protect the exercise of the rights of persons with disabilities;
  2. Promote the autonomy and independent lives of persons with disabilities and achieve their full participation in economic, social, cultural, civil, and political life, under conditions of equality through sustainable development and supporting national efforts;
    Suggestion: Measures that the State must take to achieve real equality should understand real to be more than a mere formal equality.
  3. Promote new forms of international cooperation to support national and regional efforts in the benefit of persons with disabilities including in the technical and technological areas.

Add: e) Widely disseminate the rights that are guaranteed in this Convention and develop strategies to achieve them.
It is considered important that, in addition to recognizing the rights, the measures should be identified that will be adopted to ensure their full operation and achievement in a progressive way.

Bangkok Draft:
Article 1       Objects of the Convention and underlying principles

1. The States Parties declare that the purpose of this Convention is to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy the full range of human rights and fundamental freedoms set out in this Convention in the light of the following principles and irrespective of the origin, nature, degree, cause of a person's disability:

  1. the principles of autonomy and self-determination of persons with disabilities to lead full and independent lives;
  2. the principle of full inclusion of persons with disabilities as equal citizens and participants in all aspects of life;
  3. the principle of diversity and recognition of the right to be different; and
  4. the principle of equality of women and men, girls and boys.

NGOs

DPI Japan:
Article 1 Purposes of the Convention

  1. The Convention aims at, the abolition of all forms of discrimination against persons with disabilities in civil, economical, political, cultural domains.
  2. To that end, the Convention shall focus on persons with disabilities, classify in detail their civil, political, economical, and cultural rights, clarify the contents of each of these rights, and guarantee them.
  3. The Convention shall make blatantly clear the obligations to be implemented by the society, so as to integrate persons with disabilities within it.
  4. Respecting the right to development, international cooperation shall be promoted in order to achieve the purposes of this Convention.

Others/Individuals

On-line CONSULTATION: comments on Mexico's text:

Subparagraph (a): Persons with disabilities have the same human rights as any other person and the exercise of these rights is the central purpose of the Convention. The fact that these are the same human rights as other persons should be indicated. Therefore, the first objective should be to "Recognize, guarantee, promote, and protect the human rights of persons with disabilities and their exercise."


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