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Daily summary of discussions related to Article
UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities
Fourth session of the Ad Hoc Committee - Daily Summary
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Volume 5, #2
August 24, 2004
PRINCIPLES: ARTICLE 2
Chile was in agreement with Article 2(a)’s references
to dignity, personal autonomy and freedom to make one’s own decisions,
but suggested the usefulness of the term “self determination” instead.
It supported the Costa Rican proposal to reference “an independent life”
and “personal development” in all phases of life in Article 2(a). Article
2(d)’s reference to the acceptance of disability could be better formulated
as the acceptance of diversity as part of the human condition, reflecting
the principle of inclusion. The Mexican proposal on international cooperation
should be incorporated, as should their proposal to reference equality
between men and women. Corrective measures or socially minded approaches
to medical care are not founding principles, but could be placed elsewhere
in the convention. A principle that standardizes and informs this article
is acknowledgement of the diverse rights that PWD have and that are
made effective through this convention.
Japan enquired whether principles are legally binding or merely
guiding principles. It referenced its submission from the previous session,
of language derived from Article 4 of the Climate Change Convention.
Mexico submitted (at www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc4mexico.htm)
an alternative text to the Secretariat. The Principles will guide the
interpretation of the convention in line with the Vienna Convention
on the Law of Treaties in the future as well. Concepts such as progressive
realization must be addressed in other articles.
Costa Rica reiterated linguistic problems in the draft
texts in Spanish and requested that problems of translation be resolved.
This article should reflect the issues that will guide the remainder
of the text. In Article 2(d) a period must appear after human diversity.
Disability is part of human diversity and must be understood as such.
As called for by Canada and others there should be a reference to equality
between men and women, and as called for by Mexico there should be a
reference to the gender perspective as a general principle.
The Netherlands (EU) supported a short article on general principles.
Many additions were proposed in the Third Session and it now looks more
like a shopping list or index. Many proposals are not principles, but
measures regarding implementation or topics which may be important but
do not have a place in Article 2. Most proposals made do not need to
be included, but the EU does support an additional reference to gender
New Zealand called for a more timeless, succinct and
powerful expression of principles. The convention should not go out
of date or be stuck in the era of the International Covenants, yet some
of the terms currently in use may well become old fashioned. Furthermore
many ideas put forward in this and the Third Session do not seem to
be principles. For example, the progressive realization of economic,
social and cultural rights belongs in Article 4 and international cooperation
is a means to implementation. The second principle should be equality
of opportunity, including non-discrimination, reasonable accommodation
and a barrier-free environment. New Zealand agreed with the EU on referencing
The Republic of Korea proposed referencing the need
for close consultation and involvement of PWD and their self-representation,
as this issue is reflected throughout the convention.
Eritrea called for the concept of prevention to be
included so that the article also covers situations that cause disability,
such as landmines.
Thailand supported the WG text for Article 2 provided
it also included the re-insertion of the term “self determination” or
“individual self-determination”, and the Korean proposal regarding self-representation.
Canada supported the WG draft language with an addition
referencing equality between men and women. Other proposed additions
are already and more appropriately addressed elsewhere, or are measures
rather than principles. Para (c) should be reformulated as per the EU
proposal, and in para (e) “substantive equality” should be added after
“equality of opportunity” because equality of opportunity should not
be interpreted as sameness of treatment. The concept of substantive
equality has been developed in a number of domestic systems including
Canada’s, which recognizes that PWD may require different treatment,
namely accommodation of their needs and circumstances and thus positive
action by States in order to enjoy the same opportunities as others.
Canada supports the EU proposal on 2(bis), but with language more faithful
to Article 2 of ICCPR, and more appropriately placed under Article 4
India supported Mali, Sudan, Eritrea and Jordan on
the inclusion of international cooperation, as well as Canada, Costa
Rica and Norway on the inclusion of gender equity, and Mexico on the
inclusion of references to a barrier-free environment.
The US supported the thrust of the EU, New Zealand
and Canadian proposals, towards a set of succinct and compelling principles
that should underlie UN human rights instruments, such as non-discrimination,
equality under the law, equal opportunity and equal access. The US supports
the WG text’s five basic principles, as well as the proposal for para
(c) made originally by the EU, supported by Mexico and Costa Rica and
additionally supported at this session by Canada.
Liechtenstein called for guiding principles that will
apply to all the substantive provisions in the Convention. It can agree
with a reference to the essence of human rights as proposed by Mexico
in para (a), as well as non-discrimination, equality of opportunity,
full inclusion, and gender equality. This Article should not include
notions that are really purposes or ways and means of achieving certain
Serbia Montenegro generally supported the WG text and
specifically also supported the proposal of the EU, Mexico and Costa
Rica for (c), the proposal of New Zealand in (b) that non-discrimination
be added to the principles of equality of opportunity and reasonable
accommodation, and the proposal of Canada, Costa Rica and Norway to
include gender equality. Other proposed additions from the Third Session,
of the concept of a barrier-free environment as proposed by Japan or
accessibility as proposed by South Africa and Thailand are acceptable
provided there is consensus. Para 2(bis) as proposed by India, Mexico
and Thailand, while important is more appropriately placed in Article
South Africa likewise supported Article 2(bis) provided
that this is moved to Article 4, and also supported the inclusion of
concepts of international cooperation and gender equality. Without having
fully read the new Mexican proposal yet, it seems that it captures South
Africa’s views; however it lacks some elements found in the WG text,
and therefore the two formulations should reintegrated.
Sierra Leone stressed the need for looking at the convention
as a whole to ensure that the principles are reflected in it. In Article
5, there is a reference to respect and inclusion, which is related to
dignity. Article 7 references equality and non-discrimination, Article
9 references equality under the law, Article 10 references liberty and
security of the person, Article 14 references respect for difference,
Article 15 references independence and autonomy, or self determination,
Article 18 references participation, Articles 19 and 20 references accessibility
and personal mobility. These are all principles that should be reflected
in Article 2. Gender equality, if included in Article 2, must be reflected
in the convention. International cooperation should be in Article 2
because consensus is emerging for its coverage in the convention, especially
in implementation. The Mexican proposal in 2(a) referencing the universality,
indivisibility and interdependence of all human rights, should be the
first general principle. The other principles to be included are those
that are reflected in the convention as a whole.
China noted that general principles are to be relied
upon in implementing the convention, and they should be more abstract
rather than concrete. Mexico’s proposed additions to the WG text, on
gender equality and international cooperation, should be incorporated
with some minor changes. Para (b) is specific and so should follow paras
(c) and (d). Language in 2(bis) should be retained, but is more appropriate
in Article 4.
Yemen supported the addition of “respect” before “dignity.”
International cooperation does not belong in Article 2 as it is an implementation
measure. Gender equality should be included, as some delegations proposed.
More attention should be paid to all types of disabilities, to each
disability individually, and not only those with serious disabilities,
as this discriminates among different types of disability. Accessibility
should not be included as a general principle, but rather in the appropriate
Cuba supported para (a) of the Mexican proposal and
suggested amendments to it as follows: para (h) should reference equality
or equity between men and women and para (i) should refer to “the general
principle of international cooperation.”
Morocco was satisfied with the Mexican proposal in
particular para (a), as the proposal takes into account both the WG
text and comments made in AHC3. It proposed the following amendments
to the WG text: para (c) should be amended in line with the EU proposal;
and gender equality and international cooperation should be included.
Australia called for a statement of principles that
is clear and succinct. The WG text is a good starting point, and can
be amended to incorporate the EU proposal for para (c); the New Zealand
proposal to combine the overlapping concepts of equality of opportunity
and non-discrimination; and the shifting of 2(bis) to Article 4.
Venezuela welcomed the Mexican proposal and called
for inclusion of international cooperation and gender equality.
Namibia associated itself with the Mexican proposal, called for the
inclusion if international cooperation, and proposed to add, in line
with the Korean proposal, the concept of self-representation.
Thailand reaffirmed its earlier proposal to include
“accessibility” as a general principle. Accessibility is fundamental,
disability-specific, is not in any other human rights instrument, and
should be embraced as such. The concept of universal design could however
be incorporated in other articles. The term “disability-inclusive international
cooperation” also should be recognized. Thailand agrees with Mexico,
Norway, Canada, and Costa Rica on gender equality.
Jordan reiterated its position on maintaining the references
to international cooperation, self-determination and empowerment of
PWD. and also called for inclusion of gender equality.
Bangladesh shared the view of many delegations of the
need to reference international cooperation and equality between men
and women. As equality applies to men and women, boys and girls, and
older men and women with disabilities, the term “equality between PWD
in respect of gender” should be utilized to ensure that all PWD of all
age groups are taken into account.
Lebanon stressed the purpose of Article 2 is to outline
general principles and mechanisms that will help in the application
of the provisions contained in other articles, such as international
cooperation. Further additions to the WG draft are unnecessary.
Norway highlighted a lack of clarity in the elaboration
of general principles. These are meant to be goals, like gender equality,
and not the means to achieve them, as several proposals from AHC3 like
international cooperation, indicated. International cooperation may
be included in other articles, but is not appropriate in Article 2.
Article 2bis should be retained but placed elsewhere.
Kenya suggested that the reference to “gender equality”
be changed to “gender equity” as this latter term better reflected the
notion of fairness.
Canada preferred the reference to “autonomy”, the compromise
found by the WG, over “self-determination” which has a specific meaning
and would lead to confusion and mis-understanding. It appreciates the
strong support for the Canadian proposal to add gender equality, and
opposes the suggestion by Kenya that “gender equity” be substituted
instead, as this would role back achievement in human rights.
Trinidad and Tobago supported many of the general principles
in the WG text as well as the addition of international cooperation
and gender equality.
Republic of Korea expressed concern at the proposed
amendments noting that this article should contain crosscutting ideas
with which States can review the achievements of the convention. International
cooperation is an implementation measure and should therefore be in
another article and a reference to gender equality should be included.
Chile suggested that the term “self-determination”
could be clarified if understood to mean “personal self-determination.”
Jamaica revisited the consensus of the WG on the purpose of Article
2 - to contain the fundamental principles that should guide the development
of the convention. In its formulation, a distinction should be drawn
between mechanisms for achieving the goals of the Convention and the
Tanzania supported all delegations calling for the
inclusion of international cooperation.
South Africa Human Rights Commission (for National Human Rights
Institutions) proposed the insertion of “respect for human”
before the term “dignity” in para (a). In para (c), the formulation
in the Mexican proposal’s para (d) is preferred as a more active expression
of the principle of participation and inclusion. Para (d) should be
amended to read “respect for human diversity” which is more universal
than “respect for difference” and the reference to “acceptance of disability”
should be amended to read “recognition of disability.” Para (e) should
be moved up in the hierarchy of principles, and the principles of reasonable
accommodation and gender equality should be added.
Special Rapporteur on Disability proposed, given differing
views on international cooperation, that “the principle of international
responsibility” be substituted instead in Article 2.
EDF (on behalf of International Disability Caucus)
generally supported the WG text on Article 2. It supports the addition
of gender equality. Though noting the concerns of Canada, the concept
self-determination is preferred over autonomy. It supports the proposal
of the National Human Rights Institutions to substitute “respect for
human dignity” in Article 2(a). The Korean proposal to include the concept
of self-representation is interesting and should be explored further.
The proposals addinga barrier-free environment, reasonable accommodation
and accessibility are good ideas that should also be explored further.
The Caucus welcomes the replacement of para (c) with the Mexican proposal’s
para (d). The strengthening of the principle of equality of opportunity
will be explored further. The Caucus is not inclined to support the
inclusion of international cooperation in Article 2 preferring its inclusion
in a separate article and a reference in the Preamble.
DPI supported the principles as formulated in the WG
text, as they respect the spirit and philosophy of the convention. It
also supports the EU proposal to use the term “participation” in para
(c), as this will enshrine in the convention the motto of the international
disability movement, “nothing about us without us.”
Save the Children Alliance as a child rights organization
expressed appreciation for the WG text. It underscored the importance
of positive action and extending the concept of gender equality into
The Chair expressed his intention to work on the proposals
for Article 2 for resubmission to the Committee tomorrow. As Article
3 on Definitions has already been discussed, on August 23, the floor
was opened for consideration of Article 4.