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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 7b
ELEMENTS TO BE CONSIDERED

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,

The EU is carefully studying the fundamental issue of the content of a convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. We are, in fact, in the process of elaborating a paper on elements for such convention.

Concerning the definition of disability under the proposed convention, the European Union considers that detailed discussion on this subject should be avoided at this early stage in the process as it is likely to hold up substantive discussion. If, nevertheless the question surfaces, The European Union believes that an eventual definition would need to strike an effective balance between the diverse and complex nature of disability, and the need to avoid an overly-broad definition that could be subject to misinterpretation.

A convention on promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities should, in the view of the European Union, be based on the following fundamental principles: non-discrimination, equality of opportunity, autonomy, participation and integration.

Regarding non-discrimination, it is important to realise that persons with disabilities may face not only direct, but also indirect discrimination. Moreover, the new instrument should take into account the fact that persons with disabilities might perhaps face additional challenges due to multiple discrimination based on, inter alia, sex, religion, origin etc.

As already stated, the EU envisions the future convention as an instrument setting out general principles. It should develop certain provisions of existing human rights treaties with a view to tailoring them, where relevant, to the specific circumstances faced by persons with disabilities.

Ensuring that persons with disabilities effectively enjoy all their human rights - civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights - requires the adoption of appropriate measures by States. Promoting accessibility and mainstreaming in particular, is of paramount importance for reversing exclusion and furthering the equalisation of opportunities for persons with disabilities in a sustainable manner.

We look forward to cooperating with others on the crucial issue of the elements to be included in the future convention, keeping in mind that we are aiming at drawing up a balanced, realistic, enforceable and effective instrument.

20 June 2003

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United Nations, 2003-04
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Division for Social Policy and Development