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ADHOC COMMITTEE ON
AN INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION

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Statement

Agenda Item 5
Review of progress in the elaboration of a comprehensive and integral international convention on the protection and promotion of the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities

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

Mr. Pravit Chaimongkol
Deputy Permanent Representative of Thailand to the United Nations


Mr. Chairman,

It is indeed a great pleasure for my delegation to see you preside over the second session of the Ad hoc Committee. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to extend to you and the members of your Bureau our warm wishes and to assure you of our full cooperation.

Mr. Chairman

Thailand is committed to promoting and protecting the rights of person with disabilities and has been making continuous efforts in this regard. We have also favoured the idea of elaborating an International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, as has been evident in the Thai Government's support for the adoption of the UNESCAP resolution 58/4 of 22 May 2002, proclaiming the extension of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993-2002, for another decade, 2003-2012 and urging governments to adopt and implement a comprehensive and integral international convention to promote and protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities.

In addition, Thailand was among the twenty-seven countries which adopted the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action toward an Inclusive, Barrier-free and Rights- Based Society for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific (BMF) at the High-level Intergovernmental Meeting to Conclude the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993-2002, in Otsu, Japan, on 25-28 October 2002. The said Framework "encourages Governments to actively implement the paradigm shift from a charity-based approach to a rights-based approach to the development of persons with disabilities and to move towards the human rights perspective, especially the perspective of the right to development for persons with disabilities, bearing in mind General Assembly resolution 56/168 of 19 December 2001 on a comprehensive and integral international convention to promote and protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities".

Mr. Chairman,

Works regarding an international disability convention have been underway in Thailand. On 3 December 2002, the International Day of the Disabled, the Thai Ministry of Social Development and Human Security conducted an in-country seminar on International Convention to Protect and Promote the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities at UNESCAP, with a view to introducing the concepts underlying such an international convention to people with disabilities, related government organizations and non-governmental organizations and laying the groundwork for all involved to boost on awareness regarding this convention.

In January 2003, the Advisory Committee on Disability to the Prime Minister agreed to promote all activities pertinent to the drafting of an international convention for persons with disabilities. This resulted in the establishment of the Committee on the Promotion and Collaboration of the International Issues on Disability within the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. This Committee has developed Thailand's preliminary proposal for a Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, which has been incorporated in the Ad hoc Committee's document. The Committee also held a national multi-sectoral meeting on 26 May 2003, in cooperation with the Bureau of Empowerment for Persons with Disabilities, to discuss Thailand's proposal for a Convention and gather further views from all concerned sectors. The result of the meeting has been presented to the Government, and will be part of Thailand's contributions to the deliberation of the Ad hoc Committee meeting.

Mr. Chairman

It is with our firm commitment and continuous efforts in advancing the cause of persons with disabilities that Thailand supports and has done our utmost to contribute to the drafting of a comprehensive and integral international convention to promote and protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. We believe that such an instrument of a legal nature would play a vital role not only in protecting and promoting the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities in all aspect of their lives. It would also help enhance social development of those countries which are in need, given that disability-related issues form an integral part of social development.

In this regard, Thailand would like to see a convention which is a truly comprehensive international instrument for people with all types of disabilities; which calls upon the State Parties to enact national laws towards the implementation of the Convention as a legal obligation, with a provision regarding technical support; and which calls for strong international, regional and national monitoring mechanisms.

It is crucial that this convention be translated and disseminated in languages and formats which are accessible to persons with disabilities. Attention should also be given to indigenous and marginalized groups, including ethnic minority groups, users and survivors of psychiatric services, people with intellectual/cognitive disabilities and people who have severe/multiple disabilities, etc.

Mr. Chairman,

Thailand fully supports the Bangkok Recommendations on the Elaboration of a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention to Promote and Protect the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, which is the outcome of the Expert Group Meeting and Seminar on an International Convention to Protect and Promote the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, Bangkok, Thailand, 2-4 June 2003. This Expert Group Meeting and Seminar was attended by representatives of many governments within the region, NGOs as well as persons with disabilities and their organizations, who actively made contributions. We therefore sincerely hope that its outcome, which has also been made available as a conference room paper, will be a significant contribution to this meaningful process towards the adoption and implementation of a historic convention which will benefit all persons with disabilities and help make the society we live in a true "society for all".

Finally, Mr. Chairman, my delegation looks forward to a productive discussion of the Ad hoc Committee. We remain open to listen to views and suggestions from all participants regarding an international convention.

Thank you.

17 June 2003

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