Let the World Know
|TABLE OF CONTENTS
I Introduction *
Almåsa Conference Centre, Stockholm
November 5-9, 2000
This seminar is a vital step towards the full recognition and realization of the human rights of all persons with disabilities We know that persons with disabilities frequently live in deplorable conditions, and face physical and social barriers, which prevent their integration and full participation in the community. As a result, millions of adults and children throughout the world are segregated, deprived of virtually all their rights, and sometimes lead wretched and marginalized lives. This is completely unacceptable.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights refers specifically to the rights of persons with disabilities. Article 1 declares that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. There is a joint responsibility at the national and international level to ensure these rights are translated into concrete action.
Despite the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled People, and the adoption in 1993 of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, it is clear that a great deal needs to be done. I know that that is the main reason you are meeting this week. I feel it is time to look afresh at this issue and to identify ways of stepping up our joint efforts to secure the full range of human rights for persons with disabilities.
Let me add some questions to your agenda:
Mary Robinson, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Video Message to the International Seminar on Human Rights and Disability, Almåsa Conference Centre, Stockholm Sweden, 5 November 2000
With those challenges a video of Ms. Mary Robinson, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, opened an International Seminar on Human Rights and Disability, convened by Dr. Bengt Lindqvist, the Special Rapporteur on Disability of the United Nations Commission for Social Development. The meeting was held from November 5th to 9th, 2000 at Almåsa Conference Centre, Stockholm, Sweden.
Twenty-seven experts in human rights law and policy and disability rights law and policy attended the meeting. Six of the 27 participants who attended the meeting were appointed by the International Non-government Organizations (INGOs) that constitute the "Panel of experts" which consults with the Special Rapporteur. The other 21 participants attended in their individual capacity at the invitation of Dr. Lindqvist. The twenty-seven experts were from 16 countries. In addition, there were seven observers and guests. Mr. Brian Burdekin attended as the special representative of Ms. Mary Robinson. Ms. Akiko Ito of the Division for Social Policy and Development of the United Nations Secretariat also participated in the seminar. The list of participants (including Dr. Lindqvist, observers, assistants and interpreters and accompanying persons) is attached as Annex A.
The International Disability Foundation funded the meeting with additional support from the Olof Palme International Center and the Swedish Committee for Rehabilitation.
Dr. Bengt Lindqvist, the Special Rapporteur on Disability of the United Nations Commission for Social Development, chaired the seminar. The rapporteur of the seminar was Dr. Marcia Rioux (Canada). The seminar organised five working groups, which were facilitated, respectively, by Dr. Richard Light (United Kingdom), Mr. Ragnar Aðalsteinsson (Iceland), Mr. Eric Rosenthal (United States), Ms. Mary OHagan (New Zealand) and Ms. Anuradha Mohit (India). Facilitators were supported by a secretariat from Sweden, which included: Ms. Susanne Berg, Ms. Anne Froden, Ms. Erica Olsson, Mr. Erik Staaf, and Ms. Annica Akerberg.
The purpose of the seminar was to develop guidelines to support disability NGOs in their work to identify and report human rights infringements and abuses. This report presents the results of this seminar, incorporating the views of those who attended.