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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality

ADHOC COMMITTEE ON
AN INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION

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Statement

Agenda Item 7a
NATURE AND STRUCTURE OF THE CONVENTION

SECOND SESSION OF THE AD HOC COMMITTEE ON A COMPREHENSIVE AND INTEGRAL INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON PROTECTION AND PROMOTION OF THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
New York, 16 to 27 June 2003

European Union


Mr. Chairman,

I have the honour to take the floor on behalf of the European Union and the acceding countries in the debate regarding the contributions on proposals for a convention on protection and promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities to comment on sub-item (a), namely the nature and structure of such instrument.

The European Union is committed to promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities. In this respect, we see merit in and are prepared to work on the elaboration of a convention which should seek to ensure the equal and effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons with disabilities.

In order to be effective, such a convention should be balanced, realistic and emphasise the equal right of persons with disabilities to the full enjoyment of all human rights. Its primary purpose should not be to create new legal standards or to duplicate existing human rights rules. The new convention, rather, should aim at developing provisions of existing human rights treaties with a view to tailoring them, where relevant, to the specific circumstances faced by persons with disabilities.

The European Union further believes that the new convention must take into consideration the diversity of persons with disabilities, while at the same time recognising common experiences of discrimination based on disability.

We are of the view that the purpose of effectively enhancing the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities would be best served by a convention setting out general principles, rather than an excessively detailed text, which, moreover, would be unlikely to gain broad acceptance. I will revert to the substantive principles we would consider for inclusion in the convention in another statement.

The EU is convinced that a convention as briefly described could considerably raise awareness and recognition of disability as a human rights issue. The negotiating process itself would further deepen the understanding of UN Member States with regard to their existing obligations towards persons with disabilities under international human rights law.

19 June 2003

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United Nations, 2003-04
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
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