The following paper addresses three issues key to the development of a new international human rights convention for disabled people: the nature of the convention; implementation of the convention; and the convention development process. Each of these issues was discussed at the DPI 6th World Assembly in October 2002, and this paper expands upon the positions adopted in the Sapporo Platform and, more specifically, the Sapporo Declaration.
I. NATURE OF THE CONVENTION
There is no question that disabled people are subjects of the international human rights system, and entitled to full enjoyment of all the rights delineated in each of the existing human rights instruments. Yet human rights abuses remain a daily reality for disabled people around the world, in large part because there is currently a gap between the values expressed by the human rights system and the reality of disability. As last year's report for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights stated:
DPI supports the position that in order for this divide to be effectively bridged, a specific international human rights Convention for disabled people must be elaborated. Furthermore, DPI believes that this Convention must be based in, and draw from, existing human rights norms and standards and address in concrete terms the economic, social, political and cultural circumstances that adversely impact the human rights condition of disabled people. In addition, the new convention should not be limited to an anti-discrimination framework. DPI fully supports the adoption and implementation of non-discrimination legislation at the domestic level, and non-discrimination and equality of opportunity must be intrinsic components of any human rights convention for disabled people. Yet there must be scope for the full elaboration of human rights in the context of disability if the international human rights framework is to effectively incorporate the disability perspective.
There are no human rights to which disabled people do not lay claim, and if existing norms and standards are to be placed in a disability context the convention must address the full range of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. The following list is by no means exhaustive, but reflects (in no specific order) some of the rights addressed by existing human rights instruments that should be further elaborated if the convention is to cover the full spectrum of human rights:
II. IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION
If the convention is to be successful, a strong monitoring mechanism must be established to gauge the levels of implementation and provide guidance on best practices. This monitoring mechanism should be empowered to engage all relevant levels, including states, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and individuals. The convention should establish a monitoring body. This body, ideally, should be empowered to do the following:
Any monitoring mechanism for the convention must be fully informed by disability and human rights expertise. Disabled people are the experts regarding our situation and it is therefore crucial that any monitoring body established under the convention include a majority of disabled people in its composition.
III. THE CONVENTION DEVELOPMENT PROCESS - PROCEDURAL CONSIDERATIONS
Participation of disabled people in decisions that concern us is a fundamental principle that must be reflected in international law and policy. All stakeholders, and first and foremost disability and human rights organizations and their representatives, should be fully involved in the process of developing a new UN convention on the human rights of disabled people.
DPI welcomed the resolution on the "accreditation and participation of non-governmental organizations" in the Ad Hoc Committee's inaugural session. We therefore, recommend that these working methods be fully implemented in the forthcoming meetings of the Ad Hoc Committee and, furthermore, that they serve as a model for all Regional and National meetings as the process continues to unfold. With equal importance, the resolution states the following:
In the remaining four months, before the next Ad Hoc Committee meeting, every effort must be made to ensure information on procedures, notification of regional meetings and the accreditation process be disseminated quickly and clearly to Disabled People and our Organizations around the world. To this end, DPI recommends the allocation of sufficient resources to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) to ensure that this information is communicated through the DESA website, and other means as deemed necessary to reach the global disability community.
In order to realize the Ad Hoc Committee's goal of inclusion, DPI notes in particular that two key issues must be addressed:
Finally, while acknowledging the obvious importance of independent civil society participation in this process, DPI urges all Member States to participate in the convention development process, and especially encourages Member States to include disabled people as part of their official delegations.
 Gerard Quinn, Theresia Degener, et. al. (2002) Human Rights and Disability: The current use and future potential of United Nations human rights instruments in the context of disability, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights, Geneva