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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality

Promoting the rights of persons with disabilities:
Full participation and equality in social life and development

The rights of individuals with disabilities are grounded in a broad human rights framework based on the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, international covenants on human rights and related and other human rights instruments.

General Assembly resolution 56/168 of 19 December 2001 established an Ad Hoc Committee "to consider proposals for a comprehensive and integral international convention to promote and protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities, based on the holistic approach in the work done in the fields of social development, human rights and non-discrimination and taking into account the recommendations of the Commission on Human Rights and the Commission for Social Development."

The resolution also, "invites States, relevant bodies and organizations of the United Nations system, including relevant human rights treaty bodies, the regional commissions, the Special Rapporteur on disability of the Commission for Social Development, as well as intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations with an interest in the matter to make contributions to the work entrusted to the Ad Hoc Committee, based on the practice of the United Nations."

The First Session of the Ad Hoc Committee took place from 29 July to 9 August 2002. In preparation to its second session the Ad Hoc Committee decided to seek views and suggestions on a convention by States and all relevant international, regional and national organizations.

At its Second Session, from 16-27 June 2003, the Ad Hoc Committee decided to establish a Working Group with the aim of preparing and presenting a draft text of a convention, which would be the basis for negotiation by Member States. The Group would take into account all previous contributions submitted to the Ad Hoc Committee.

The Working Group, composed of representatives of Member States, non-governmental organizations and a national human rights institution, met from 5 to 16 January 2004.

In accordance with General Assembly Resolution 58/246, the Ad Hoc Committee started its negotiation on a draft convention at its Third Session from 24 May to 4 June 2004, based on the draft text prepared by the Working Group.

At its Fourth Session from 23 August to 3 September 2004, the Ad Hoc Committee concluded its first reading of the draft convention and initiated a review of the draft articles. The Ad Hoc Committee decided that it would continue the review during its subsequent sessions.

At its Fifth Session, from 24 January to 4 February 2005, the Ad Hoc Committee conducted informal discussions on articles 7.5 to 15 of the draft convention.

The Ad Hoc Committee will continue its work at its Sixth Session in New York, from 1 to 12 August, 2005.

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Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Division for Social Policy and Development