"Let the World Know"
Report of a Seminar on Human Rights and Disability
Almåsa Conference Centre (Stockholm, November 5-9, 2000)
Published by the Office of the Special Rapporteur on Disability
of the United Nations Commission for Social Development © 2001
XI. Additional General Recommendations to Strengthen the Use of International
Instruments on Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities
The following are recommended initiatives that could be taken or supported by the
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. They have been grouped into six
categories to provide coherence and to make clear the holistic approach that is being
proposed. They are general recommendations supplementary to recommendations made within
the reports of the five focus areas of documentation.
Integration of disability issues into the work of United Nations human rights
- Organizing a meeting between representatives of the individual treaty bodies and
disability groups to discuss the relevance of disability issues and measures that would
lead to better inclusion of disability issues in the work of the treaty bodies.
- Organizing a meeting with all members of one committee [functional commission or
sub-commission of the Economic and Social Council] and disability groups for an in-depth
discussion of issues that arise particularly under a particular treaty - perhaps in
conjunction with NGO or other efforts to assist the committee in the development of a
general comment or recommendation on one or more violations of the rights of persons with
- Organizing a meeting between the special procedures of the Commission on
Human Rights (thematic and country mechanisms of the Commission) and disability groups to
discuss the relevance of disability issues and measures that would lead to better
inclusion of disability issues in the work of the treaty bodies.
- Organizing a meeting of national human rights institutions at which disability issues
are a central part of the agenda.
Increased representation of persons with disabilities on United Nations human
rights treaty bodies and as holders of special mandates
- Exploring what steps can be taken to promote better representation of persons with
disabilities as members of treaty bodies or as Special Rapporteurs of the Commission on
Human Rights or the holders of other positions under the procedures of the Commission, as
well as staff of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Steps to raise awareness of disability as a rights issue
- Organizing a series of judicial colloquia in which the relevance of international human
rights standards both general and disability-specific to domestic litigation
could be explored with judges, advocates and others.
Proposed studies to document infringements and support the enforcement of the
rights of persons with disabilities
- Preparing a detailed study that compares the rights guaranteed in the "Standard
Rules" and other disability-specific instruments to those contained in general human
- Preparing a study on the extent to which each treaty body and the special procedures
have addressed disability issues in their work under reporting mechanisms, complaints
procedures and in other ways.
- Preparing, in collaboration with regional intergovernmental organizations, such as the
Council of Europe and the Organization of American States as well as academic
institutions, detailed studies of individual rights and how they have been interpreted or
could be interpreted in ways that would advance the human rights of persons with
- Coordinating the data collected to develop "shadow" reports for the reporting
requirements associated with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other relevant international human rights
- Promoting and supporting "shadow reporting" by disability advocacy
organizations around the world and disseminate the findings and recommendations beyond the
human rights monitoring bodies to which they are directed.
- Prepare an analysis of the ways in which fundamental human rights issues are currently
left out of existing treaty monitoring and also the priorities for action established by
grassroots organizations to bring about rights enforcement.
Training for capacity building
- Organizing training workshops for disability and human rights advocates on how to use
the United Nations human rights procedures more effectively.
- Providing support for the preparation of a manual and guide on the use of international
and regional human rights mechanisms to advance the human rights of persons with
disabilities; and developing a "cataloging resource" specifically on (1) how to
use the human rights mechanisms (2) how to use international norms and standards and (3)
whom - or which organizations - to contact for further information.
- Encouraging and advising national organizations of persons with disabilities to increase
awareness amongst individual persons with disabilities and their family members of the
fact that the human rights declared and acknowledged in all United Nations Human
Rights instruments apply to everybody, without exception.
- Developing and sponsoring workshops on the documentation of human rights monitoring.
- Approaching donor agencies for support in setting up human rights committees in national
organisations for the purposes of undertaking research projects and training for capacity
building of NGOs in the area of human rights.
- Approaching donor agencies to organise paralegal training for master trainers in the
area of human rights so that resource persons for conducting training courses at the
national level and local level are prepared.
- Encouraging law commissions to undertake the review of existing laws with the view to
suggest improvements for making laws compatible with human rights instruments.
- Encouraging donor agencies, for example, development co-operation organisations, to
consider the policy of co-operation to the extent that human rights issues become a
necessary activity in their partner organisations similar to the treatment of gender
- Organizing international assistance programs to increase funding for disability rights
advocacy around the world, placing a priority on providing funds to establish advocacy
organizations in countries in which advocacy organizations are least developed.
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