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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality

AD HOC COMMITTEE ON
AN INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION

Documents and contributions
Online discussion
NGO Participation
Working Group : Compilation of Elements

EU Proposal for the text of an International
Convention on the Full and Equal Enjoyment of all Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms by Persons with Disabilities


Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union



PREAMBLE

The States Parties to the present Convention,

Recalling the universality of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenants on Human Rights, which proclaim and agree that everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms set forth therein without distinction of any kind,

Reaffirming the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR), the International Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC),

Recalling that the Convention on the Rights of the Child emphasises that special measures are needed for the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by children with disabilities, as recognised, inter alia, in Article 23 of that Convention,

Noting the resolutions, declarations, recommendations and other instruments and decisions adopted by the United Nations and the specialised agencies, that promote the full enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities,

Recalling the principles and policy guidelines contained in the Standard Rules on Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, which call upon states to take all appropriate measures, including where appropriate legislation to take action to enhance equal opportunities and to protect and promote the effective enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities in all spheres of life,

Concerned that despite these various instruments and undertakings persons with disabilities continue to face barriers to the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Recognising the diversity of persons with disabilities,

Also concerned that persons with disabilities face discrimination irrespective of the nature of their disability as well as additional challenges due to multiple discrimination, and that women with disabilities are often affected by multiple discrimination,

Recognising the need to incorporate a gender perspective in all efforts to promote the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by persons with disabilities,

Furthermore concerned that barriers to the full and equal enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities are exacerbated in situations of poverty and armed conflict,

Recognising the importance of accessibility both to the physical and social environment and to information and communication in enabling persons with disabilities to fully enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Have agreed as follows:


GENERAL PRINCIPLES

Article 1

The purpose of the Convention shall be to ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by persons with disabilities.

Article 2

The fundamental principles to be followed shall be: non-discrimination, equality of opportunity, autonomy, participation and inclusion.


PART I: NON-DISCRIMINATION

Article 3

For the purpose of the present Convention, the term "discrimination on the grounds of disability" shall mean any distinction, exclusion or restriction which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise on an equal footing by persons with disabilities of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

  1. Direct discrimination shall be taken to occur where one person is treated less favourably than another is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation, on the grounds of disability;
  2. Indirect discrimination shall be taken to occur where an apparently neutral provision, criterion or practice would put a person having a disability at a particular disadvantage compared with other persons, unless that provision, criterion or practice is objectively justified by a legitimate aim and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary or unless measures are taken to eliminate that disadvantage.

Article 4

Special measures aimed at accelerating de facto equality of persons with disabilities shall not be considered discrimination as defined in the present Convention, but shall in no way entail as a consequence the maintenance of unequal or separate standards; these measures shall be discontinued when the objectives of equality of opportunity and treatment have been achieved.

Article 5

In order to secure non-discrimination of persons with disabilities, States Parties to the present Convention undertake in particular to:

  1. recognise the identity of persons with disabilities as individuals with equal rights before the law and guarantee equality before the law, without discrimination against persons with disabilities;
  2. take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against persons with disabilities by any person, organization or enterprise;
  3. take effective measures to review governmental, national and local policies, and to amend, rescind or nullify any laws and regulations which have the effect or purpose of creating or perpetuating such discrimination wherever it exists;
  4. take appropriate steps, including by legislation, to provide reasonable accommodation defined as modifications or adjustments necessary to guarantee to persons with disabilities the enjoyment or exercise on an equal footing of all human rights and fundamental freedoms unless such measures would impose a disproportioniate burden;
  5. take appropriate measures to achieve progressively the full realisation of the right of persons with disabilities to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and to facilitate access to social and health services;
  6. promote awareness throughout society about disability and persons with disability, including inter alia their rights, needs, potential and contribution;
  7. take measures to combat prejudice against persons with disabilities.


PART II: EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY

Article 6

In order to secure equality of opportunity of persons with disabilities States Parties to the present Convention undertake in particular to:

  1. take steps to ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, which may include, where appropriate, positive actions and strategies;
  2. take measures to enable persons with disabilities to take full advantage of the right to education and to access vocational and continuing training;
  3. take measures to promote employment opportunities including free vocational choice for persons with disabilities so as to enable them to exercise the right to work and enjoy equal conditions of work;
  4. promote the development and availability of design for all, technology and appropriate forms of assistance and support to persons with disabilities.


PART III: AUTONOMY

Article 7

In order to secure the autonomy of persons with disabilities, States Parties to the present Convention undertake in particular to:

  1. ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy equal rights of participation in decision making particularly where affecting the freedom of choice in their private lives;
  2. prohibit and prevent any cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of persons with disabilities, in particular in situations of forced intervention or institutionalisation;
  3. take appropriate measures to protect persons with disabilities from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation;
  4. take appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities are not deprived of their liberty save in accordance with a procedure established by law and with the application of relevant legal safeguards;
  5. take measures to ensure that persons with disabilities are not subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with their privacy, family, home or correspondence;
  6. eliminate discrimination against persons with disabilities in all matters relating to personal relationships, marriage and family relations;
  7. take appropriate steps to ensure the progressive realisation of the right to an adequate standard of living for persons with disabilities and their families, including adequate food, clothing, housing, and the continuous improvement of living conditions.


PART IV: PARTICIPATION AND INCLUSION

Article 8

In order to secure full and effective participation and inclusion in society on an equal basis for persons with disabilities, States Parties undertake in particular to:

  1. take appropriate measures to identify and eliminate obstacles to accessibility, including inter alia architectural, sensorial and cultural barriers;
  2. promote equal access to information and means of communication;
  3. promote an environment in which persons with disabilities can effectively and fully participate in political and public life, directly or through freely chosen representatives;
  4. promote an environment in which persons with disabilities can effectively and fully participate in the conduct of public affairs, including by participating in non-governmental organisations and associations;
  5. take appropriate measures to promote integration of persons with disabilities in schools, the workplace and in all fields of social life, including inter alia in recreational activities, sports, culture and tourism;


PART V: MONITORING

The issue of the monitoring mechanism will have to be revisited in light of the outcome of negotiations of this convention and the ongoing review of all human rights treaties monitoring mechanisms.


PART VI: FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 9

States Parties undertake to make the principles and provisions of the present Convention widely known, by appropriate and active means.

Article 10

The present Convention shall be open for signature by all States. The Secretary-General of the United Nations is designated as the depository of the present Convention. The present Convention is subject to ratification. The instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Article 11

The present Convention shall be open to accession by all States. Accession shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument of accession with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Article 12

The present Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date of deposit with the Secretary General of the United Nations of the twentieth instrument of ratification or accession. For each State ratifying or acceding to the Convention after the deposit of the twentieth instrument of ratification or accession, the Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date of the deposit by such State of its instrument of ratification or accession.

Article 13

A request for the revision of the present Convention may be made at any time by any State Party by means of a notification in writing addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Secretary-General shall thereupon communicate the request to States Parties, with a request that they indicate whether they agree to a conference of States Parties for the purpose of considering and voting upon the requested revision. In the event that, within four months from the date of such communication, at least one third of the States Parties agree to such a conference, the Secretary-General shall convene the conference under the auspices of the United Nations. Any revision adopted by a majority of States Parties present and voting at the conference of States Parties shall be submitted to the General Assembly for Approval.

A revision adopted in accordance with article 12 shall enter into force when it has been approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations and accepted by a two-thirds majority of States Parties. When a revision enters into force, it shall be binding on those States Parties which have accepted it, other States Parties still being bound by the provisions of the present Convention and any earlier revisions which they have accepted.

Article 14

The present Convention, the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts of which are equally authentic, shall be deposited with the Secretary General of the United Nations.

In witness thereof the undersigned, duly authorized, have signed the present Convention.

New York, 18 December 2003

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