|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
COMMITTEE NEGOTIATING TREATY ON RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
TO MEET AT UN HEADQUARTERS, 1 - 12 AUGUST
Negotiations on the first-ever convention on the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities will resume at a two-week session to be held from 1 to 12 August at United Nations Headquarters (Conference Room 4).
Meeting for its sixth session, the General Assembly Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities will conduct a second reading of articles 15 to 24, which address issues such as children with disabilities, education, accessibility and personal mobility.
These articles also cover the rights to health and rehabilitation, the right to work, social security and adequate standards of living, and participation in political and public life, cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport.
The Ad Hoc Committee will, thus, start negotiating questions directly related to the day-to-day life of persons with disabilities, after having tackled more general topics, such as equality before the law. Strong participation by disability non-governmental organizations is, therefore, expected.
At its previous session, held from 24 January to 2 February, the Ad Hoc Committee conducted informal discussions on articles 7 to 15.
All countries share the goal of finalizing a strong convention, says Akiko Ito, the Focal Point on Disability in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. “No government has raised major contentious issues against the draft convention”, Ms. Ito said. “They all want to come up with a treaty that will make a real difference in the lives of persons with disabilities and their communities.”
The Ad Hoc Committee has a new Chairperson -- Ambassador Don MacKay of New Zealand, who had served as Coordinator of the Committee. He was elected Chairperson on 13 April, succeeding Ambassador Luis Gallegos Chiriboga, who was appointed Ambassador of Ecuador to Australia earlier this year.
A major aspect of the drafting of the Convention is the participation of disability non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions from around the world. Some 500 representatives of disability organizations are expected to attend the session.
“A new community of focused stakeholders is really emerging, and their cooperation is more and more sophisticated”, Ms. Ito said, adding that the disability community had been increasingly reaching out to the development and human rights communities, including scholars and practitioners working closely with the United Nations human rights bodies that monitor implementation of human rights treaties. Draft article 25, to be discussed by the Ad Hoc Committee, will provide for mechanisms to monitor implementation of the convention by countries that become parties to it.
Lunchtime side events will feature presentations by delegations, disability organizations, United Nations bodies and others, on issues such as disability rights, education, rehabilitation, advocacy and inclusion, and international cooperation (for a list of side events, see www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc6sideevents.htm).
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