Back to: Fourth Session of the Ad Hoc Committee
Summaries of the Fourth Session
Daily summary of discussion at the fourth session
01 September 2004
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UN Convention on the Human Rights of People with Disabilities
Ad Hoc Committee - Daily Summary
A service made possible by Disabled Peoples’ International (DPI), Handicap International (HI) and the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR),
with the financial support of the Governments of Mexico and New Zealand.
Volume 5, #8
September 01, 2004
DATA AND STATISTICS – ARTICLE 6 (Contd.)
The Coordinator informed the Plenary of his intention to make available to facilitators relevant informal sessions papers on Draft Articles 5 and 6. A Briefing Note by the UN’s Statistics Division was circulated.
Australia does not favor the inclusion of prescriptive and operational measures within the body of a convention. While it believes that issues such as Data Collection and Statistics should therefore be placed elsewhere, Australia is flexible on the options proposed and will support the EU proposal.
Colombia [no English interpretation taped]
South Africa recognised that statistical information is an essential basis for planning policies and programs for the rights of PWD but only for demographic purposes. The privacy and confidentiality of data should be ensured and data should not be used to the detriment of PWD. In line with this need for safeguards, the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics in the Collection and Dissemination of Statistics could be referenced in the Preamble. Article 6 should be a separate article, but kept concise and not prescriptive, given the many agencies at the national level that can fulfill this responsibility. This Article should not be merged with the Article on Monitoring, but can be moved closer to it, and this is more a matter of structure than substance. There should be a reference to data collection in the current formulation of the Article on Monitoring. Regulated, official, national data collection can assist in the work of monitoring by providing baseline information on PWD, especially regarding the equality of opportunities and economic and social rights generally. For this reason 6(e) is limiting; and while South Africa does not support all aspects of the EU’s amendments, it shares the EU’s preference to delete both (d) and (e).
China [no English interpretation taped]
The Coordinator requested the Committee to address the EU proposal to delete (d) and (e), in light of the alternative possibility of referencing internationally accepted standards and ethical principles instead. It is clear that delegations want the importance of safeguards with regard to the collection and use of statistics maintained in this Article. The Committee could therefore consider whether the UN Briefing Note on Fundamental Principles could sufficiently cover this safeguards aspect.
Canada agreed with the EU that (d) and (e) are overly prescriptive, and modified other proposals from the EU so that: (1) the chapeau is amended from “shall collect” to “should undertake to collect” as this is a middle ground from the original text of the WG; (2) once collection of information has been decided, however, then the obligation of States to adhere to safeguards should be strengthened, so the last word in the chapeau should be amended to “shall”; (3) in line with the Coordinator’s request and given the contribution of the UN Statistics Division, the language in EU (b) should recognize international norms and principles in addition to human rights to read ”comply with internationally accepted norms and principles, including or in particular those relating to the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms” but without specifically identifying any particular standard by name. The obligations in (c) on consultation with PWD are of a lesser nature and should not be mandatory like those in (a) and (b) on legal standards and human rights norms; therefore (c) should begin with “and should” to make this distinction. While this Article should not be merged with Article 25 on Monitoring, both Articles should be placed together.
New Zealand shared the position of many to keep the text less prescriptive and more streamlined, so it is applicable over time. In alignment with the EU text, and using the information of the UN, perhaps the concerns over safeguards could be addressed with the following amendment to (a): “comply with the legally established safeguards consistent with internationally accepted standards and ethical principles of statistics set up by the UN Statistics Commission.” With respect to Canada’s recommendation the reference to the UN Statistics Commission could be omitted; however, unlike the Canadian proposal, the more specific language in the remainder of the New Zealand proposal should be retained. New Zealand supports the rest of the Canadian recommendations, in the chapeau and (b). The EU’s (c) is covered under General Obligations and could be deleted.
The Coordinator confirmed the preliminary agreement during the discussion on General Obligations that 6(c) would be incorporated into Article 4, and affirmed the recommendations of a large number of delegations that (d) and (e) should be deleted. He drew the attention of the Committee to two new proposed texts, from the New Zealand delegation on safeguards, and from the Landmine Survivors Network (LSN) that, by drawing on the UN Standard Rules neatly brings in international human rights standards, UN guidelines, as well as ethical principles of statistics while also spelling out what these principles are. The LSN text was read out as follows: (a) “Ensures that the methods and procedures for the collection, processing, storage and presentation of statistical data comply with internationally accepted human rights norms and standards and ethical principles of statistics, including the avoidance of undue intrusion, informed consent, protecting the human rights of subjects, maintaining confidentiality of records, and prohibiting the disclosure of identities;” (b) “Ensures that disability statistics and data collection address the living conditions of PWD, including access to public services, rehabilitation programs, education, housing and employment.”
Israel favored the LSN language, which encapsulates both the importance of data collection and the need to preserve confidentiality. To streamline the Article, (d) and (e) should be deleted. Article 6 and 25 should be placed close together, or in a possible chapter on implementation could that appear at the end of the Convention. Several amendments to the EU’s chapeau were proposed: “shall” should be changed to “undertake to” as per the Canadian proposal; “including statistical information” should be added after “appropriate information”; and the following new language should be added making clear that the information collection should be placed at the disposal of PWD and their organizations: “and to enable PWD and their organizations to promote and realize their rights under the Convention;” in the place of deleting (d) and (e) but without being prescriptive there should be an explicit reference to the 2 key areas in which this Article should apply, at the end of the chapeau: “Such information shall include, inter alia, details in relation to accessibility of public services and services provided to PWD.” Finally, new language at the end of the Article should expressly refer to the need of PWD to access this information: “Subject to complying with safeguards to ensure confidentiality and respect for privacy as previously mentioned in this Article, States Parties shall make the information collected pursuant to this Article available to the public in general and PWD and their organizations in particular in accessible formats.” For the reasons the Coordinator has pointed out 6(c) should be deleted.
Yemen favored the comprehensive LSN text for this Article, which should be included in the Convention after Article 25. Information and data collected should be for the benefit of PWD, and in the implementation of programs and policies for them, and not simply to provide statistics. As per the EU proposal (d) and (e) are too detailed and should be deleted.
Namibia supported a separate Article on Data and Statistics as its language, including in (d) and (e), ensures that it will be used for “developmental not monetary purposes”. If (d) and (e) are to be deleted then Namibia calls for the insertion of the LSN language into this Article, including the LSN proposal for (c).
China favored a separate article, which was the original intent of the WG. While these issues can also be mentioned in the Article on Monitoring the intent of the WG should not be deviated from. Data and statistics involves more than implementation and monitoring. This article fulfills the goals of the Convention by protecting the rights of PWD by guiding the setting of policies and programs. China agrees with the chapeau as formulated. Both specific situations in individual countries as well as international norms like the UN Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics need to be taken into consideration. The latter states that “statistics collected by statistical agencies for statistical compilation, whether referring to natural or legal persons, are to be strictly confidential and used exclusively for statistical purposes,” and it is important that this allowance does not lead to uses in other contexts. It agrees (d) and (e) are too detailed and should be deleted. Privacy should be emphasized. China agrees with the inclusion of (c), given the “teamwork” required between the Government and the people from whom information is collected.
Thailand reversed its recent position in which it agreed to a merger of this article with that on Monitoring. Having now heard delegations’ arguments of its practical importance to many developing countries for formulating programs and policies to protect and promote the rights of PWD, it is returning to the original position it took in the WG, and calls for a standalone article. Thailand also supports the LSN text for (a) and (b), Israel’s proposed amendments relating to accessibility, and would like to submit new language ensuring that the lack of adequate data and statistics shall in no way be a condition for not implementing the Convention.
The Coordinator indicated that while delegations are free to submit new proposals, and Thailand’s is accepted, the intent now is to reduce this number. In addition, it is clear that the original recommendation in the Compilation to merge Articles 6 with 25, or any other Article, no longer has wide support. However it remains to be decided where their relative placement should be, either in a chapter on implementation and monitoring or elsewhere, given that the article has general application as noted by Namibia. This point can be revisited during discussion on the structure of the Convention.
Mexico also supported a standalone Article and was flexible on its placement. The Article should refer to firstly, data collection and procedures and guidelines to be followed; and secondly, the use of the information. With regard to the second point, Mexico favors the LSN text as a good basis, and proposes two additions: in (b) the need to identify and take into account the obstacles encountered by PWD in exercising their rights, on which Mexico has already submitted text; and in (c) the need to disaggregate data based on geographical distinctions. With regard to the management and use of information, Mexico agrees with Costa Rica that this information should be integrated into development indicators of a country, and this idea should be reflected in this Article. The idea of promoting research to improve the stock of information available on PWD, and the Israeli proposal to make information accessible to PWD should also be reflected.
The Coordinator confirmed that Mexico’s draft language in relation to these proposals is included in the latest “Modifications to Daft Articles 1 to 15 and 24 bis presented by governments to the AHC. As of 30 August 2004.”
Uganda also supported a standalone article, and favors (a) and (b) of the LSN text because this covers (a), (b), (e) and (f) of the WG text, leaving only (c) which will be covered in Article 4. Uganda is not convinced that (d) should be deleted. Countries already maintain population statistics disaggregated by age and sex, and there is no reason why disability should not be a criterion as well. In disability planning it is essential to know the age and sex of PWD. “Disability is not homogenous” and unless the types of disability are disaggregated it will be difficult for governments to plan.
Norway noted its initial position that this Article should be streamlined and focused in its message, and welcomed the EU’s proposal. In the chapeau it supports the EU’s replacement of “statistics and data” with “information” as this has wider application, and it could support the Israeli proposal to include references to both. The Canadian amendment from “shall” to “should undertake” is also acceptable. The current language on confidentiality could be strengthened using language from the UN Fundamental Principles without referring to a specific instrument. The LSN text merits some reflection but is too prescriptive. It should be pointed out as Mexico already has that the idea of dissemination is not included in the EU text. In this regard “disseminating” could be added following “collecting” in the chapeau, thereby making it clear that this is also an obligation of states.
Serbia-Montenegro welcomed South Africa’s proposal to reference the UN Fundamental Principles in the Preamble. It also supports the EU text, the deletion of the WG text (d) and (e), the Canadian amendments to the EU text, New Zealand’s amendments to the EU’s (a), Norway’s inclusion of wording on “dissemination” as also reflected in the Mexican proposals, and finally the LSN text, which it considers another example of “a quality contribution of the disability movement” though this text should perhaps be streamlined. Article 6 should be placed closer to the Article on Monitoring.
The Philippines was convinced that this Article should not be merged with the Monitoring Article as monitoring is only one of the several uses of statistics, and a merger would restrict statistics to “an ex post facto” use. Statistics are a prerequisite for monitoring the equality of opportunity. By retaining the standalone Article the Convention recognizes that one of the fundamental obstacles in developing countries to promoting the rights of PWD is the lack of information. However, the current formulation needs to be less prescriptive.
Eritrea favored (a) of the LSN text because it adequately addresses concerns regarding the right to privacy. The texts do not fully capture all the kinds of data that should be collected, and is weighted towards quantitative data. The chapeau should reflect the fact that it is equally important to collect qualitative data, on behaviors, attitudes, beliefs and experiences with PWD and their families, and their community at large.
Lebanon reminded the Committee of the reasons behind the existence of paragraphs proposed for deletion. Para (d) is meant to avoid data from being collected as if PWD form a single block, and also to prevent the stereotypical disease or medically driven categories by which data on PWD is often enumerated. Lebanon is ready to work with the Coordinator to reach an appropriate redrafting of this Article. The LSN text (b) is an improved formulation of the content of WG text (e), and is preferred, with the additional phrase at the end following “employment”: “and in other areas.” LSN text (a) corresponds to the principles and basic requirements that should be adhered to when collecting information. Finally, the chapeau’s use of words such as “promotion” or “facilitation” should not in any way dilute the obligations of states or imply that the process of collecting information is a condition for implementation. In this regard, Lebanon supports the text that may be introduced by Thailand.
Kenya highlighted the importance of a standalone Article but is flexible on its placement. The protection of the subjects, the principle of informed consent, and the principle of confidentiality should be reflected. The LSN text reads better than the other proposals on the table, comprehensively covers most of the issues that delegations would like to see addressed, and is an improvement on the EU text which is too vague in its reference to international standards. States Parties tend not to take seriously nonbonding declarations and guidelines, and therefore explicit reference to the specific ethical principles in the UN standards are necessary, perhaps in the Preamble, emulating the CRC which refers to the Beijing Rules on Juvenile Justice in its own Preamble. There should be a linkage between the obligation to collect statistics and the obligation to ensure that the information is used to ensure accessibility of PWD to public services. For this reason Kenya supports (b) of the LSN text, but perhaps in a more streamlined form without the detailed listing at the end: “… Disability statistics and data collection should address the living conditions of all PWD and create access to public services.”
Colombia supported the LSN proposal and clarified that “statistical studies are not only on disabilities but there is also proper management of these variables as well as different information systems of these countries.” It agreed with delegations calling for language ensuring that these studies are made available in accessible formats.
Venezuela supported the LSN proposal as it addresses the fundamental issue of privacy of data, the Namibian recommendation that data on both geographical location and type of disability should be gathered so as to more effectively design programs, and the suggestion that disability should be incorporated into country development indicators. Venezuela is flexible as to placement of this article.
Republic of Korea noted that its concerns as expressed in the WG on privacy and confidentiality of data are fully accommodated and appreciated in the existing text. It reiterates that this article should be shifted to Article 25, not because its content is any less important but because it primarily serves the purpose of planning policies and programs for PWD. Statistics and data is not a human right of PWD per se and structurally should not be in a separate article. It agrees with the EU proposal to delete (d) and (e), noting that simply providing statistical data does not mean that this will actually be used, and delegations should keep in mind that obligations here should be based on a realistic assessment of the utility of data. What is gathered and what is utilized in the provision of services and programs are often not the same.
India supported (a), (c), and (e) of the LSN proposal but finds (d) too prescriptive, preferring this to be left up to States. The article should remain separate and placed towards the end of the Convention text. Statistics have uses broader than simply monitoring, such as program formulation, resource allocation and developmental planning.
Jamaica likewise called for a separate article that could be placed in a section on monitoring. It supports the LSN proposal but with the additional mention of “scientific” principles in (a), which are as fundamental as human rights and ethical standards, and the removal of the reference to “human rights” which could be seen to qualify all that comes after it. Taking the above amendments into account, it proposes 2 alternative formulations of the LSN text: in the interest of brevity, deleting the second part of the sentence after “including”, or, if the entire sentence is to be maintained, then adding “and maintenance of reliability and validity” to its second part.
Costa Rica summed up the two texts currently being considered. The longer proposal by LSN as announced by the Coordinator itemizes in (a) the safeguards, and in (b) the standards that need to be covered. The EU proposes a similar text highlighting the need for safeguards but without listing them. While Costa Rica identifies with the principle of “more is less,” and is flexible on either approach as long as both (a) and (b) are maintained, it notes that given the suggestion from Israel and the consideration of the LSN text, the Committee seems to be moving towards a more detailed Article. If the Committee prefers the more succinct EU text, Costa Rica agrees with the amendments proposed by Canada, changing “shall” to “undertake to”, and by Mexico to add “regulations” to states’ obligations to “formulate and implement policies.” This Article should remain separate but moved to the chapter on Monitoring, and the monitoring mechanism in Article 25 should have as one of its duties the elaboration these indicators, thereby linking it with this Article.
The Coordinator thanked Costa Rica for clearly outlining the alternatives for consideration by the Committee and noted that a detailed text with examples makes it more likely that more delegations will intervene with more examples. While these may be valuable it also results in long lists, which tend to become unwieldy, and in turn makes for a longer discussion. The Coordinator noted that the topic at hand is relatively simple, and in this regard cited the CRC’s General Comment #5 that spells out the crux of this issue: “collection of sufficient and reliable data on children disaggregated to enable identification of discrimination and/or disparities in the realization of rights.“
The EU acknowledged the Committee’s general lack of support for a merger of Article 6 with 25 and therefore will accept separate articles as long as they can both be in a Monitoring section, but highlighted to the Coordinator that the EU’s position did reflect that of 25 Member States. The EU’s logic behind proposing the merger was that its Monitoring obligations apply to the entire Convention, and therefore Article 25 had wide scope. The EU appreciated the amendments proposed by Canada. The focus in (a) of the LSN text on statistical data is too limiting, which is why the EU chose to make “appropriate information” the subject of the Article in its chapeau. Likewise, referring only to safeguards for statistics in the LSN text’s (b) would not do justice to the intention of the Article. The EU might accept language proposed by Canada to “norms and principles, including those relating to the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.” The EU was surprised at delegations agreeing to the deletion of the WG text’s (d) and (e) while favoring what was essentially the same language in the LSN text’s (b). Building on the LSN text would be overly prescriptive, and does not help the Committee reach the goal of a concise article that gives States freedom and flexibility to formulate their own policies and decide accordingly the kinds of information they need. The Israeli proposal to the chapeau was also of concern because it implies a focus on statistics, when in fact the focus should be to collect reliable information, which better serves the purpose of this Article. Norway’s proposal to add the obligation to disseminate deserves further consideration. However it is doubtful that this obligation belongs in the chapeau as it is unclear how it relates to the obligation to formulate and implement policies, and so it may have an inherent value in and of itself. The EU reiterates that the focus of (a) in its text is national law, and while this is not explicitly mentioned it can be inferred from the subsequent obligation in (b) citing international standards.
Cuba called for a separate article and aligned itself with the LSN text, which it did not consider too elaborate, and to which some amendments could be made. It agrees with Jamaica that “scientific principles” should be cited, making this language consistent with the Principles put forward by the UN Statistical Commission at its Special Session of April 1994. It also agrees with Mexico’s proposals regarding the treatment of data, which should conform to international standards. Finally, Cuba suggested a general reference to the disaggregation of data on gender, type of disability, living conditions, and barriers to public access, by summarizing (b) and (c) of the LSN text, which could resolve the concerns over this issue.
Lebanon enquired whether the language in its own proposals and that of Mexico and Costa Rica, which it supports, dealing with the use of disability statistics in national development indicators, would be considered.
The Coordinator highlighted that the Committee had moved forward since the WG discussion when there was a lack of consensus on whether there should be a separate Article. There is now general support for placement of a separate Article in a Monitoring section of the Convention. While there was a majority of States favoring a streamlined article, there were some delegations that wanted to see more detail. The paper circulated by the UN Statistical Division was found very useful, and there was broad support for the LSN text’s formulation on the ethical principles of statistics, though the interventions calling for adding scientific standards are also noted. The Coordinator therefore suggests that the language on norms relating to ethical principles of statistics in (a) of the LSN text could be usefully introduced into (b) of the WG text, which would then eliminate the need for more detailed references to protecting and not misusing the collection of statistics. There was support for the EU’s streamlined approach, including amendments in the chapeau from “shall” to “undertake to”, the deletion of (d) and (e) of the WG text, with (c) being covered elsewhere in Article 4. There was a strong view the Article should not be unduly prescriptive and delegations who believe that specific elements are particularly important could include these elements into their policies at the national level. Language from the General Comment #18 of the CRC, one of the existing fundamental human rights conventions, could offer an alternative middle ground, as it captures, briefly, the essence of the discussion. The Mexican proposal on the use to which this data is put is detailed and could potentially unbalance the text, though proposals to specify research and the inclusion of disability data in development indicators did garner support and could be included in a more concise formulation of the Mexican text. In the event that the resulting abbreviated text omits fundamental principles of concern to delegations then the Committee will need to revisit this Article. However the most expeditious approach at this stage would be to go for a clear and succinct text. The Coordinator requested the Committee’s approval to take this approach, and called on the facilitator of Article 6 to move forward accordingly.
Israel stressed that its language on transparency of information collected, and the need to make it available to the public in general and to PWD in particular, should be strongly considered and taken into account.
The Coordinator suggested that Israel consult with Mexico on this point as it relates to the use rather than collection of data, the language of which Mexico will be attempting to reformulate for facilitators meeting in the afternoon.
EQUALITY AND NONDISCRIMINATION - ARTICLE 7
The US reiterated that this is “the core and seminal” article in this treaty, and is a basic principle enshrined throughout human rights treaties. It should accordingly be moved up to Article 5 following General Obligations, as the first and foremost of the fundamental specific obligations. As a basic charter for nondiscrimination, it endorses in principle the WG text. There are many difficult issues embedded in this Article but it strikes a balance between when to be specific about certain definitions and when to use broader language about obligations. The US endorses references to all forms of discrimination, direct and indirect in 7(2)(b), and notes that this is further captured in 7(2)(a) by reference to the “purpose and effect” of impairing or nullifying rights. However, the US agrees with Canada and other delegations that attempts to give disparate legal definitions and disparate consequences to direct versus indirect discrimination could lead to tremendous confusion in implementation for those States who do not have this sort of jurisprudence in their national law.
China agrees that this Article should be moved to Article 5 given its importance. If there is to be no separate article for definitions, then this would be the right place to define discrimination. China reiterates its WG position opposing distinct references to direct and indirect discrimination. It opposes including the concept of “perceived” disability as this Convention seeks to protect people based on real and actual disability, not what may be perceived by a group of people. 7(3) is repetitive and should be deleted. The text after “but shall in no way” in 7(5) should be deleted.
The EU agrees with the US on the need to move this article to a more prominent place in the Convention, and proposes placement in Article 3. The last sentence in 7(1) on multiple forms of discrimination should be moved to the Preamble, not because the EU opposes this language but because it is misplaced in an article dealing with discrimination on the basis of disability. The EU deals with direct and indirect discrimination with a proposal based on EU law, and, for this reason references to “systemic” discrimination and “perceived” disability should not be retained. Given the definition of discrimination provided in the EU’s proposed text which also covers the justification of discrimination, 7(3) should be deleted. It proposes alternative text in 7(4) on the concept of reasonable accommodation which, as suggested by the Caucus, should appear in an Article on nondiscrimination. 7(5) is left intact.
Japan agreed with China’s proposal for 7(5), noting that the second half of this Article is both unnecessary and harmful. There are many measures that strictly speaking constitute unequal treatment for PWD, like employment quotas, but this is necessary in order to maintain their employment at a certain level. Japan believes that this is a good system, and therefore should not be subject to a sunset clause.
Ghana (on behalf of the African Group) favored shifting the article up to either Articles 3 or 5, given its importance. The African Group takes note of the fact that there are a number of definitions in this Article, and will wait for a final decision on this.
The Coordinator noted proposals, for example from the EU and Kenya, to include certain elements in the Preamble, and called on the Committee to keep these in mind. The Coordinator announced informal contact groups for the afternoon: Article 5 facilitated by Sierra Leone followed by Article 6 facilitated by the Philippines, scheduled so that they do not overlap. The plenary discussion of Draft Article 7 will resume tomorrow morning.
PROMOTION OF POSITIVE ATTITUDES - INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS
Australia outlined the 3 messages emerging from this article: 1. raising awareness in all aspects of society about disability and PWD, their rights, potential and contributions to society; 2. to promote the capabilities and contributions of PWD and reinforce their positions as equal members of society; 3. to combat negative stereotypes or negative practices and prejudices. It is possible within these 3 elements to construct an article that would pick up all the desired elements in current Article 5.
The EU enquired whether the Facilitator was opening the floor to comments on all of 5(1) or wanted to limit comments to 5(1)(a). The Facilitator indicated that the discussion could begin with the chapeau and proceed from there. For the consideration of the group he suggested the following language for the chapeau: “States parties undertake to adopt appropriate and effective measures to”
Cameroon (on behalf of the African Group) supported the Facilitator’s suggestion emphasizing that the African Group would like to maintain “appropriate” rather than “immediate.” The flexibility of this term gives developing countries the leeway to implement measures that require funding and resources based on prevailing conditions and on their ability to do so.
The EU favored the original WG language calling for “immediate” measures. The concept and meaning of “appropriate” is already covered under the term “effective”.
China sought clarification as to the status of 5(2), whether it would be merged with 5(1). If the Article confines itself to 5(1) only then China is comfortable with the original language. If the paragraphs are to be merged, then China would support the facilitator’s suggestion for the chapeau, and seeks the views of other delegations.
In response to 2 further comments on the question of merging 5(1) and (2), from Indonesia and Cameroon, the Facilitator asked that the group first clarify the content of 5(1), ie the “What” rather than the “How.” At this stage of the discussion, he asked that the group focus on the chapeau, specifically for the Committee’s input on retaining the term “immediate” and/or whether both “immediate” and “appropriate” could be included.
Mexico acknowledged that measures cannot always be “immediate” as states need resources, but noted that language here ought to be consistent with other conventions. It is important that PWD are ensured the same level of commitment from States. It preferred retaining the term “immediate” and asked for further explanation from delegations calling for its replacement.
Kenya lent its support to the African Group, emphasising that the word “appropriate” is preferred because this implies “correct measures in the circumstances.” Such circumstances would account for “resource and time factors.” “Appropriate“ includes, but is wider than, “immediate” and “does not lock out programs and activities that may not be that immediate for delegations worried about the implications” of this term.
Mexico stressed that while “appropriate” does encompass the notion of “effective,” the term “immediate” should be included reflecting the standard set in other instruments.
Cameroon noted that many international agreements in force invite states parties to take progressive measures. A measure cannot be appropriate if it is not taken in a timely fashion.
The Facilitator suggested a compromise proposal to include both “immediate” and “appropriate,” or to use “as soon as possible” instead of “immediate.”
The EU supported the Facilitator’s first suggestion but not the second because “as soon as possible” was a vague obligation. It should also be taken into account that the chapeau obligates states “to undertake to adopt” rather than “to adopt” the immediate measures.
Australia, Cameroon (on behalf of the African Group), Mexico and Serbia-Montenegro also supported the compromise proposal for the chapeau as suggested by the Facilitator, which he read out as follows: “States Parties undertake to adopt immediate, appropriate and effective measures to:” noting that “effective” applies to the previous two terms. The EU specifically and the Committee generally agreed to this language, which was adopted.
The Facilitator introduced formulations for 5(1)(a) incorporating proposals made so far, but leaving out the notion of “needs,” which had not garnered much support: “Actively raise awareness throughout society regarding PWD and cultivate / promote a culture of respect for their rights, dignity, potential and contributions to society.” He opened the floor for comment.
Philippines reiterated its proposal to insert language highlighting the different forms of disabilities. This is an integral part of raising awareness about disability. While the public may be aware of disability generally they are not aware of its various forms, especially those that are not visible, such as psycho-social disabilities.
Australia questioned the use of “actively” at the beginning of the Facilitator’s proposed language, given that this was substantively already included in the chapeau in the context of “effective and immediate.” It also preferred “foster” over “promote.” Australia otherwise supported the Facilitator’s proposed formulation.
EU supported the comments of Australia and Philippines. The Facilitator’s language should refer to both “disability and PWD.” The meaning of “culture of respect” is unclear, so the EU reiterates its position from yesterday, supported by a number of delegations, to refer instead to fostering the rights of PWD. The concepts of “potential and contribution” are already incorporated in 5(1)(c), and the reference to dignity should be deleted in this context.
Canada supported the EU’s comments. It is not advisable to use “actively” as this group should be cautious about introducing new concepts and terminology. The focus should be on using language that is already on the table. The reference to a “culture of respect” could be interpreted as diluting this obligation towards PWD and should be replaced with “fostering respect” for PWD. For the sake of brevity, the adjectives “potential.. etc” are more appropriate in (c).
Cameroon (on behalf of the African Group) suggested removing the word “actively” at the beginning and retaining the reference to “various forms” of disability. In addition the reference to “needs” should be incorporated.
Norway suggested removing the word “actively” and retaining the EU’s preferred references to both “disability and PWD.” The Philippines proposal to include “various forms” creates the possibly complicating precedent that this descriptor will need to be incorporated wherever disability is mentioned in the Convention text. Alternative overarching language could note that references to “disability” anywhere in the Convention text refers to “various forms of disabilities.” Language on “potential … etc” is already covered in 1(c) and is redundant here. Adding “dignity” in the context of this sentence is unclear. Reference to a “culture of respect” is unclear and should be removed unless an explanation is presented otherwise.
Serbia-Montenegro supported comments of the EU, Norway, Australia and Canada.
Mexico supported the WG proposed text for this Article and called for retaining references to both “disability and PWD.” The Philippines proposal takes away from the essential aspect of the disability. References to its “various forms” reflects a medical model perspective. The Ugandan proposal is redundant and already covered in 1(c). References to a “culture of respect” should be retained as it implies an educational imperative at a societal level and that will apply across generations. Dignity is an important concept but not necessary for this paragraph.
Costa Rica agreed that adding “actively” might complicate the text and is redundant. It is sufficient to refer to respecting the rights of PWD instead of “a culture of respect.” The Ugandan language on the “potential and contribution” of PWD is already dealt with in (c). Costa Rica withdraws its own proposed additions to (a).
Cuba proposed replacing “culture of respect” with the more direct language obligating states “to respect the rights and dignity of PWD.” The Ugandan proposal should be addressed in (c), and rather than referring to the “image” of PWD, should provide examples of PWD potential and contribution. While Cuba understands the Mexican objections of undue attention to a medical perspective, it supports the Philippines additional text.
Bahrain finds the WG text “clear cut and comprehensive” and the Facilitator’s additional language on the rights and dignity of PWD unnecessary.
New Zealand highlighted the considerable progress that was made at yesterday’s meeting, and noted that many of those suggestions have been made again today. It recalled the Coordinator’s summing up of yesterday’s discussion on 5(1)(a) – there was widespread agreement the text to be considered for this informal session should be as close as possible to the WG original text with the following addition at the end of the sentence: “and to foster respect for their rights.” New Zealand called on the group to pick up the discussion from where it left off, which is to fine-tune and if possible seek consensus on the text that was largely agreed upon yesterday.
The Facilitator was of the view that the WG text was not a single composite text, but had brackets, which should now be resolved. He suggested removing “Actively” from the beginning given the consensus on this point, and suggested that reference to both “disability and PWD” might address the Philippines concerns that the “various forms” of disability be also considered.
Philippines reiterated its proposal noting that highlighting the various forms of disability is a critical part of the raising awareness issue. Text that simply refers to raising awareness of disability is not as meaningful.
The Facilitator noted that some delegations do not subscribe to this proposed language, and to language that emphasizes differences between disabilities. He highlighted that raising awareness of the idea of “disability” itself would by definition include and connote its various forms.
EU pointed out that the text of the Disability Caucus itself does not refer to the “various forms” of disability. For this reason and that provided by Mexico this new language should not be incorporated.
Thailand noted with great understanding the Philippines concerns given the reality that people with certain types of disability, especially when they are not visible, are overlooked. Nevertheless it subscribes to the principle of the social model of disability and agrees to the WG text with the addition as outlined by NZ.
Canada highlighted the need to consider the text that emerged from the discussions yesterday, where a consensus was emerging in the direction of excluding the Philippines additional language, which does not appear anywhere else in the Convention. While it was sympathetic to Thailand’s explanation Canada too opposes the inclusion of this language.
Korea opposed the Philippines text on the grounds that it could in fact be limiting because it restricted the specification of disability to typology only. There are other ways in which disability could be identified and described. It should be noted that raising awareness is not only about “rights,” and in order to ensure the applicability of this obligation well into the future and in the interests of keeping the article streamlined, the additional references here should be left out.
The Facilitator called on the Philippines to reconsider its proposed addition. If the Philippines could not withdraw its language, it could be indicated in a footnote. The Facilitator noted that resorting to footnotes at this point would not be advisable, in particular for this Article, which did not, in its original form, come with footnotes.
Trinidad and Tobago noted that raising awareness takes place on two levels, disability and PWD, and specifying both should address the Philippines’ concerns.
New Zealand again recalled the agreement that was reached yesterday, when the Coordinator asked delegations for the text that should be considered today at smaller informals. It was agreed that the text for today’s discussion should be in keeping with the original WG text with an additional phrase at the end. New Zealand highlighted the advice of the Chair and the Coordinator calling on delegations to exercise flexibility and make compromises. If delegations go back to their own original proposals at this stage of the process, after Article 5 has been discussed in the First Reading, a Plenary last week, and an informal yesterday, very little progress will be made.
The Facilitator again appealed to the Philippines to reconsider its proposal keeping in mind that these concerns could be addressed elsewhere in the Convention text and the need to avoid adding a footnote in an Article that previously did not have any footnotes.
Mexico suggested that in order to move forward and given the lack of time the word “disability” could be footnoted incorporating the Philippines proposed text.
The Facilitator concluded the informals with the text that has been agreed upon so far – the chapeau and 1(a) with a footnote after “disability” incorporating the Philippines proposal.
STATISTICS AND DATA COLLECTION – INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS
The Facilitator outlined the mandate from the Coordinator: there will be no discussion about placement of this Article, and discussion should aim to keep the text concise. For this session agreement needs to be reached on 3 specific areas, in this order:  what is the purpose and objectives of this Article and why should it exist; ie what are the uses of data collection;  what is the scope of the Article and the areas it should cover;  what is the procedure by which the objective and scope are to be determined, keeping in mind the need to take into account existing international agreements already in force, so that any new language would not conflict with existing norms. Delegations should refrain from expressing support for the proposals of others with the understanding, due to the lack of time, that silence will reflect tacit approval.
The Facilitator opened discussion with two proposals for the chapeau, which he noted would be that portion of an Article where its objective and purpose would be outlined: the WG text with the objective being to “formulate and implement appropriate policies to protect and promote the rights of PWD” as amended by Mexico with the addition of the word “regulations”; and the EU text which outlines the objective as being to “give effect to this convention”.
The EU clarified that the logic behind its proposed text should be understood in light of the Committee’s view that the provisions of this article are about implementation and its decision to move this article to the implementation part of the Convention. The EU text is broader than that of the Mexican proposal as the Convention would therefore be the point to which one would refer back to as the subject of this Article.
The Facilitator asked that the group first agree on the overall conceptual framework as this will make drafting specific text easier.
Mexico highlighted the fact that it is working with the delegation of Israel towards formulating a concise Article incorporating all the views expressed so far, and that it will shortly submit this to the group for further comment.
Kenya recalled the morning discussion on this article given the EU text and the more detailed LSN text, that both garnered support. It highlighted the suggestion from the Coordinator that the LSN phraseology regarding compliance with international standards as well as the Jamaican proposal could be brought into the EU formulation. It recalled that while there was general agreement this Article should remain standalone, because it dealt with both policy and implementation, the matter of placement remains to be discussed.
Canada did not recall that differences in conceptual approach had been addressed in previous discussions between the EU and Mexican texts. Canada does not see the difference between the chapeau of the two texts given that the Convention is about protecting and promoting the rights of PWD. Canada would prefer the EU text over that of LSN given Canada’s preference for brevity; however given the wide support that elements of the LSN text also garnered, Canada is open to proceeding with further discussion on that.
The Facilitator asked the EU whether, pursuant to Canada’s point, it would agree that there is no substantive difference between its own text and that of Mexico.
The EU clarified, pursuant to the Kenyan intervention that no delegation has put forward, or sought to propose the acceptance of, the entire LSN text as “its proposal”. The LSN text is very long, and no delegation has submitted for consideration proposed text identical to that of the LSN text. The EU is open to considering borrowing elements of the LSN text but is not prepared to accept the LSN text as a working text.
Norway echoed comments of Canada, EU and Kenya and given the short time available highlighted the clarity with which the way forward had been laid out by the Coordinator this morning. The Coordinator suggested that the group start off with the simplest proposed text, as the longer the text the greater the discussion around it. Norway accordingly suggests that the group now proceed concretely, displaying the short EU text on the screen, and seek to refine that with additional elements as needed.
The Facilitator enquired as to whether there was agreement about Norway’s suggestion.
Mexico disagreed and pointed out that the purpose for its new draft was because there had been a number of comments and concepts that had been accepted by the Plenary, and these have now been incorporated substantively if not with the same specific wording. The article now focuses on specific needs that exist for PWD in terms of information and statistics. The Article should be renumbered 24(bis) but this question on placement can be revisited. Mexico thanked Israel for its contributions in laying the groundwork for this new proposed text.
The Facilitator recalled from the morning Plenary that the Coordinator had requested Mexico and Israel to produce a new text for consideration.
Namibia enquired whether the purpose of this Article was for monitoring alone, or whether it was to function for planning, formulating and implementation purposes as well. If it was to serve the latter purpose then it should be separate from Article 24 as well. Namibia would support the new Mexican draft if it incorporates both the LSN text and that from the WG. He recalled that the Coordinator this morning also drew the Plenary’s attention to language from the CRC General Comment #5 on the disaggregation of data, which, if too long, could also be left to the national level.
Cuba objected to the fact that its interventions are being left to the end. It should be kept in mind that all delegations can make proposals, they are all legitimate and valid, and there should not be any limits to the debate. Cuba was prepared to accept the LSN text only to be told in this session that this was not really a proposal. Yet the Coordinator himself had submitted this as a proposal this morning and accordingly the Cuban delegation and many others had begun to work on that text, which was done in good faith, is objective and should, even in amended form, be taken into account. Now there is yet another proposal from Mexico / Israel with elements from the EU text. Cuba will support this new proposal if it also incorporates information from the LSN text. Cuba calls for scientific aspects in data gathering exercises to be mentioned, as cited in the resolution from the Commission on Statistics in 1994.
Costa Rica endorsed the new proposed text from Mexico and Israel because it reflects the discussion from this morning as well as the EU text. Costa Rica suggests that this text should now become the basis for further negotiations and seeks the views of other delegations, in particular that of the EU, on this possible way forward. It also enquired about the extra wording “present sufficient and reliable information” in the chapeau. It is unclear to whom this information is to be presented and in what format. After “policies” the word “regulations” should be added as per the original Mexican proposal. In order for policies to be effective there has to be information. As was stated by Jamaica and Cuba, scientific aspects need to be incorporated in 6(2)(a). There seems to be agreement that 6(2)(b) is already addressed in a prior article and therefore can be removed. The obligation in (b) to make information available to PWD is however important and this idea is better placed in 6(2)(d) and this entire para (d) be moved elsewhere. Finally Costa Rica was unclear as to the purpose of 6(3), and proposes that it be deleted entirely along with 6(2)(d), leaving only (a) (b) and (c) in 6(2).
The Facilitator asked the Committee to comment on the Mexico / Israel text as well as the others.
China supported the Mexican proposal to move this Article to 24(bis). It notes that the Mexico / Israel proposal seeks to accommodate proposals from all sides, including many elements of the EU proposal. Therefore China endorses this as a basis for further discussion. 2(a) could be simplified. Scientific principles should be specified as a method and procedure for collecting information. The right of privacy of PWD should also be protected in the use of information. As such internationally accepted norms should be complied with, for example those referred to by the UN Statistical Commission. China proposes simple wording in the second sentence for 2(a) of the Mexican / Israeli text, which can take care of all concerns: adding “strictly confidential” and “used exclusively for statistical purposes.”
The Facilitator withdrew his earlier recommendation for conceptual input and encouraged specific textual proposals from the floor.
Israel outlined the structure and logic of its new draft proposal with Mexico. The EU text is the basis, integrated in various sections with proposals from the Chair and other delegations as put forth in the morning sessions. 6(1) is essentially the EU text with mostly linguistic editions and the additional Israeli reference to “including statistical data”. 6(2)(a) is the LSN text which received general if not unanimous agreement for encapsulating concerns that the overarching need to protect privacy and confidentiality be covered. 6(2)(b) is the draft as suggested by the Coordinator and is targeted at implementation of the Convention. 6(2)(c) is from the original proposal by Mexico, and retained for the reasons as provided by Mexico. 6(2)(d) gives expression to the principle of transparency and the need to make information collected available to PWD who are the main subjects of the Convention. 6(3) is from the original proposal by Mexico. Proposals received on 6(2)(a) to recognize “scientific” principles will be incorporated.
Yemen commenting on the WG text agreed with its chapeau and paras (a), (b) and (f), and supported the EU proposal to delete (d) and (e) as they are too detailed. This Article should be placed after that on Monitoring.
Japan accepted generally the EU proposal though with a few amendments. It also agreed with the Mexican / Israeli proposal with the following comments: 6(2)(c) remains overly prescriptive, as this Convention should not dictate the variables to be collected; 6(2)(d) needs a qualifying clause to ensure that information that would be made available to the general public would constitute general information or be subject to the privacy protection afforded to PWD. The substance of 6(3) seems to extend beyond the reach of the Article itself, which should be restricted to statistics, and Japan has “great reservations” on its new language on states’ obligations with regards to research.
Eritrea supported the Mexico / Israel draft, which addresses in the chapeau of 6(1) its concerns about the quality of the data being collected, and in 6(3) about national and international research.
The EU declared its formal acceptance of a separate article on this issue. Superseding its previous intervention, the EU also asserts its new understanding that the Mexico / Israeli proposal is to be the basis for negotiation. It appreciates the inclusion of its own text in their proposal and notes that the additional elements remain to be considered. It is not convinced of the need to include the details to “process, store and present” information or the mention of “including statistical data”. It still considers 6(2) and (3) to be overly specific. It reminded the group of the essence of the Article’s purpose – “the formulation and implementation of policies to give effect to this Convention”. Even if states scrupulously give effect to everything in these two paragraphs they could still formulate bad policies that would fail to serve the overall purpose of giving effect to the Convention. The statistics and data are of no use if they are not used to formulate proper policies. It would be wiser for the Article to limit itself to establishing strict safeguards to ensure there will be no misuse of the information, and leave it up to States to decide the methods and types of information to be collected and what to do with it. This will increase the likelihood that policies will be aligned with the goals of the overall Convention. It highlighted proposals made this morning to delete the second half of (a) of the LSN text, from the word “statistics”. It reminded the Committee of the many proposals to delete WG text (d), which, the EU noted, parallels (b) of the current Mexico / Israeli text. There is “far reaching specificity” in (c) that the EU would prefer to avoid. There was a strong expression of will in the Committee this morning that consultation with PWD and DPOs as mentioned in (d) is a cross cutting issue that is more appropriately dealt with elsewhere; however the EU is open to further discussion regarding the second point made in (d) on the distribution of information. The EU has the same misgivings as Costa Rica regarding 6(3) and is unclear as to its purpose.
Jordan expressed concern that the language of 6(1), in particular the reference to “enable”, gives the impression that the implementation of the Convention hinges or is conditional upon the collection of information. The detailed nature of 6(2), in particular the reference to health and employment, does not help states to collect information with regard to disability and PWD. The obligation in 6(3) to “serve as a basis” for the promotion of the rights of PWD is poorly drafted and requires further explanation.
Thailand supported the essence of 6(2) but shared the EU’s concerns that it is too detailed. If agreement could be reached that the subject of consultation with PWD should be moved to the General Obligations, then 6(2)(d) could be restricted to covering the availability of statistics in accessible formats. Pursuant to its concerns expressed this morning Thailand has circulated language that both acknowledges the critical importance of statistics to implement disability policies and programs, but which also emphasizes that the absence or lack of such statistics shall in no way be used as an excuse for not implementing the Convention. Thailand calls on the Committee to incorporate this concept in this Article noting that it is flexible on both its exact formulation and placement.
The Philippines shared the EU’s concerns on the need for a more general approach to this Article.
Lebanon echoed the concerns of Jordan and Thailand on the use of “enable” in 6(1), highlighting that statistics is only one of the ways to facilitate the formulation and implementation of policies, regulations “and others.” The details in this Article are not overly prescriptive and are necessary, serving the purpose of limiting any possible damage that may occur from the misuse of data. Lebanon supports the Jamaican addition of “scientific” principles. The obligation in 6(3) on research is interesting but needs to be re-worded so that its link to the substance of the rest of the article is made clear; currently it is presented as a separate idea.
Serbia-Montenegro accepted the Mexican /Israeli proposed text with the following amendments: replace “sufficient and reliable” with “appropriate” information in 6(1); there is too much detail in 6(2)(c) as per the EU’s position; 6(2)(d) is more appropriate elsewhere, perhaps in the Article on accessibility, and needs to be more clearly and concisely worded.
Mexico responded to the comments on its text. It disagreed with Costa Rica’s position but will consider including the term “disseminate.” The absence of the word “scientific” is an oversight and will be added to the reference to principles in 6(2)(a). As all delegations noted, consultations with PWD in the first part of 6(2)(b) are sufficiently covered elsewhere in the Convention especially Article 4, so the thrust of this subparagraph will be restricted to its second part. The language of 6(3) drafted entirely by Mexico needs to be clarified as “research” has a meaning in English that may not be what Mexico was aiming to imply. Its purpose is to highlight the collection and use of statistics should benefit from the participation of NGOs, governments, academia and the private sector. That is, the whole of society should be involved. This is not just a question of governments vis a vis PWD but should be brought to the attention of all sectors of society.
Korea opposed the insertion of “scientific” principles because data collection and statistics is in itself a science and not an art.
The Facilitator indicated that he has adequate material with which he will consult with the Coordinator to produce a text that will take into account the views expressed.
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