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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, #1
August 23, 2004
MONITORING (Article 25)
Costa Rica highlighted the need for the best follow up that
is also efficient, given the trend of establishing new bodies that only
burden the UN budget further. It proposed adding compliance with the
convention as a measure of the Human Development Index, a well known
mechanism that could readily be used. This would not mean however that
a Committee should not be established or that States Parties could not
The Netherlands (EU) requested that the first reading
of this article not be completed until the next day as the Committee
was ahead of the agenda.
New Zealand pointed out it may be premature to discuss
monitoring absent any text on which to focus, but noted at this stage
that any mechanism for international monitoring must: be consistent
with substantive articles; be flexible enough to address treaty body
reform and draw on their best practices; take into account funding shortages
for the system as a whole; be funded from the general budget. If a new
treaty body will ensure this will not be a second class convention,
then creating such a body is the best solution. New Zealand is yet to
be convinced that alternative proposals would be more effective or less
resource intensive than a new body. New Zealand referenced the many
challenges associated with the existing treaty body system.
Mexico called for a specific article on both national
and international monitoring mechanisms. It referenced its proposal
for a mechanism that takes into account existing mechanisms, includes
the role of States Parties in submitting national reports, that of civil
society in submitting information, and the participation of civil society
in deliberations. Its proposal includes the consideration of communications
on violations. The composition of a committee of experts should include
persons of high moral authority and include PWD. The mechanism should
hold conferences of States Parties to promote cooperation, encourage
dialogue, exchange best practices and consider processes that could
help ensure respect for the convention. Its proposed language establishes
national institutions, and a committee of experts mandated to consider
state reports, make general recommendations, and invite IGOs and NGOs
to participate. It also outlines the composition of the committee, how
such experts would be chosen, the content of national reports to be
submitted, duration of committee meetings, competence of committee to
receive and consider communications on violations, conference of States
Parties and its functions.
Cuba supported the establishment or strengthening of national mechanisms.
Regarding international monitoring, consideration should be given to
existing bodies, but Cuba does not object to the creation of a separate
committee. The convention should include provisions on committee membership
and composition, how members are elected, and the mandate. Cuba agrees
with the Mexican proposal in calling for equitable geographic distribution
in the committee and suggested a quota system based on the number of
ratifications per region. Account should also be taken of reporting
to a committee.
Canada pointed out that a detailed discussion of monitoring
requires information on the content of the convention. It appreciates
the challenges as expressed by New Zealand. A monitoring body should
take into account the views of the Secretary General concerning treaty
body reform. The monitoring approach is a negative one, based on a non-compliance
model. Given the importance of progressive implementation Canada wants
to see the facilitation of progress, beyond simply monitoring, and that
would require a more positive approach to monitoring at the national
level. A Canadian national-level reporting framework, including indicators
for measuring outcomes of disability policy and legislation, has been
developed in cooperation with NGOs. Canada emphasized the importance
of mainstreaming disability into existing reporting on human rights
treaties. It may be necessary to look at more than one mechanism or
body fulfilling all monitoring tasks under the convention, and other
international and national mechanisms may have to do some work as well.
NGOs must be involved in monitoring.
Japan noted that final comments on a monitoring mechanism
are premature. A national implementation framework as set forth in Article
25 refers to one focal point when there may be others, and therefore
should refer to “focal points”. It suggests adding a reference to incorporating
the needs and views of PWD. Given the overly burdened current treaty
body system, a blend with existing monitoring mechanisms might be contemplated,
in line with Canada’s position.
India shared New Zealand’s concerns of the existing
system, referencing the burden of reporting on States and the back-log
of reports in the Committees. India could not support “adding to this
already onerous responsibility, therefore at this stage we would favor
the retention of the monitoring obligations as currently provided under
Yemen noted that the Working Group did not have enough
time to consider an international monitoring mechanism, but this is
essential. PWD and their representative organizations must participate
in any monitoring mechanisms.
South Africa called for provisions on international
monitoring in addition to the existing provision on national monitoring:
1) reporting requirements; 2) a treaty body with strong and effective
representation of PWD; 3) meaningful and effective national monitoring
mechanisms in keeping with national legal systems. Where applicable,
regional mechanisms should be incorporated into the monitoring. The
monitoring mechanism should be in keeping with existing treaty bodies
under ICCPR, CRC and CEDAW.
Serbia and Montenegro thanked Mexico and South Africa
for their detailed proposals.
Eritrea called for an international monitoring mechanism.
Chile stressed that without a follow up mechanism the
Convention is merely a declaration of principles. A body is required
for follow-up. Chile could plan for a committee and a special rapporteur
to follow up on the committee’s work. Links between the international
and national levels should be explored, as should the possibility of
individual communications, inter-state communications, and a national
body to oversee implementation at the national level.
Australia cautioned against duplicating and undermining
existing mechanisms. Further development of the Convention is needed
before decisions can be taken.
Republic of Korea acknowledged the problem of overburdening
the existing monitoring system and the need to avoid duplication and
other problems associated with the monitoring mechanisms. However some
kind of international mechanism should be considered.
Israel stressed the importance of international and
national level bodies to supervise implementation of the convention.
The monitoring mechanisms should mirror others in structure, expertise
and capacity and should include among its members PWD. Israel referenced
its submission of a comprehensive text on this issue at AHC3.
Thailand supported the language in Article 25, in the
Bangkok Draft, and in parts of the proposal submitted by Israel. It
reviewed the draft submitted by the International Disability Caucus
and saw merit in many of these proposals. It recognizes the need to
strengthen monitoring at both the national and international levels
to ensure the convention is fully implemented.
Amnesty International stressed that monitoring must
be guided by principles derived from the overall aim of the convention.
There must be a well-conceived and vigorous approach to monitoring;
The system must support monitoring at the national level and provide
links between national and international mechanisms. Any monitoring
mechanism must be grounded in the existing human rights framework, take
into account disability-specific issues, be supported by OHCHR, DESA,
and other agencies; ensure strong involvement by civil society, including
PWD; be an independent and impartial reviewer of implementation, and
create disability expertise. Any new system must receive sufficient
funding and secretariat support. AI supports a dual track approach –
a consolidated reference point within the treaty monitoring system for
its expertise on disability rights and broad access by PWD, combined
with mainstreaming and building on existing standards and procedures.
PWDA welcomed the measures on domestic level monitoring
in the existing article and made a number of suggestions to strengthen
it: the development of national action plans on implementing the convention,
domestic complaints avenues for violations, and the designation of a
convention ombudsman at the national level. Noting the absence of a
provision on international monitoring, it proposed, among other things,
establishing a new treaty body, state reporting, a complaints system,
and a Special Rapporteur.
National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI) supported
retaining Article 25 and called for two levels of monitoring: domestic
and international. It noted the weaknesses in Article 25 as drafted,
and stressed the important role of NHRIs, reinforced in the Paris Principles,
in guiding monitoring bodies. An effective international monitoring
mechanism can play an important role supporting national level implementation.
It suggested creating a new committee in a process that would take into
account treaty body reforms. The committee will carry out a full range
of standard functions given a compulsory reporting procedure, optional
individual complaints procedures and an optional inquiry procedure.
International Labour Organization (ILO) supported an
international monitoring mechanism in addition to a national level one
as provided for in Article 25. A new treaty body should take into account
the current treaty body review process. The system should make provision
for all relevant stakeholders, including governments, NGOs, UN agencies,
employers’ organizations and trade unions. The Migrant Workers Convention
should be consulted for creating a committee involving stakeholders.
Landmine Survivors Network (on behalf of LSN, RI, WFD, WNUSP, WFDDB,
ISHR, ICJ, COHRE, HI, EDF, Bizruit, World Union of Progressive Judaism,
and Save the Children Alliance) The new convention must be
rights-based and firmly embedded in the UN human rights system. The
international mechanism should supervise implementation and make structural,
social development changes. Development of a monitoring mechanism should
not be made contingent on treaty reform and should reflect the following
essential principles: members’ recognized expertise on disability rights
and their independence; competence to develop jurisprudence through
general comments and individual and collective complaints; implementation
through in-country visits and regional meetings; follow-up procedures;
access by a variety of actors and stakeholders; adequate resources.
Special Rapporteur on Disability endorsed the NGO statement,
noted that a monitoring mechanism is of vital importance and should
not fall below existing mechanisms, and should look beyond violations
of the convention to focus also on implementation measures of States
WNUSP clarified the NGO statement, adding that the
composition of the body should consist of a majority of people with
disabilities, along with the other attributes mentioned.
DPI hoped a consensus would emerge at this session
on a comprehensive mechanism, that should operate at the national, regional
and international level, and involving the participation of PWD at all
The Chair noted ongoing consultations on the process
of work during this session but no consensus had been reached.
The meeting was adjourned.
Volume 5, #2
August 24, 2004
Netherlands (on behalf of the EU) called for innovation and
creativity in developing a strong and effective monitoring mechanism,
reflecting the strengths of existing system while not replicating its
weaknesses. Reviews of the existing treaty monitoring system are focusing
on the need for improvement in the following areas 1) delays in submission
of periodic reports; 2) delays in the consideration of reports, which
on occasion necessitate updating of these reports; 3) extent of reporting
obligations undertaken by some States and non-reporting by other States;
4) duplication of reporting requirements across treaty bodies; and 5)
the need for more thematically focused reporting over the current pattern
of broadly based and fixed-interval reporting. A number of principles
should be followed, which the EU will submit to the Secretariat: monitoring
is an obligation that all States Parties freely enter into when signing
and ratifying; bodies should be composed of independent experts of high
moral standing and include appropriate involvement by PWD; civil society’s
role should be formalised; adequate support by the UN Secretariat is
needed; the work of existing treaty bodies should be taken into account,
particularly with a view to avoiding duplication and inconsistency;
and consistency with the overall reform effort should be ensured. The
body should accommodate constructive dialogue with and between States
Parties. It should be empowered to request thematic reports as well
as to examine periodic reports, request supplementary information and
transmit comments and recommendations to the State Party concerned.
Monitoring is a means to an end, namely, implementation, therefore implementation
and follow up is an essential part of the monitoring process. The mechanism
could offer expert advice and identify good practices to national level
implementation mechanisms, and states’ reporting obligations should
cover its efforts at implementation as well. Regarding Article 25 of
the Draft Working Group text, paras 1 and 2 should be combined as proposed
by the Working Group and replaced by a more general paragraph noting
that the mechanism should be in compliance with the national, legal
system. The EU also proposes a new para 2 on data and statistics and
the deletion of the WG Draft Article 6 on the same topic; a new para
3, derived from WG Draft Article 4(2); a new para 4 derived from CRC
Article 42 (Publicity of convention); a new para 5 derived from CRC
Article 41 (Respect for existing human rights standards).
Bahrain stated that monitoring is essential and Article
25 represented the minimum. Monitoring should have two dimensions. The
first is national and in each State this should be constituted by a
working group of activists including PWD and DPOs, who can submit reports
verifying the authenticity of States reports.
Jordan supported the EU’s proposals and highlighted
the need for including PWD in a strong and effective monitoring mechanism.
Mali stressed that follow-up is essential for implementation
and there should be stringent requirements so States will respond. In
Mali for example there are two levels of follow up: Ministries at the
sectoral level and a Council at the national level. The mechanism should
link the sectoral to the national level, and the national to the international
level. PWD must be represented at the sectoral level. Civil society
and governments must work together and there should be a common report
on follow-up and monitoring. It is risky when there are 2 reports, by
the government and by NGOs. Reports should clustered together so that
the country speaks with one voice.
The US shared concerns of the EU and other delegations
on the need for consolidating and streamlining the work of existing
treaty bodies and avoiding redundancy. Funding should be assessed to
the States Parties. Without taking any position on the issue of having
national and international monitoring bodies, the US stated its support
for the EU‘s proposals on the first paragraphs of Draft Article 25.
Kenya supported the EU proposals. States should learn
from past mistakes and any new institution should be an improvement
on the existing ones, and include PWD and civil society.
The Chair opened the floor to NGOs, but none took the
Albania supported the EU proposals, which along with
the text of the WG provide a good basis on which to develop domestic
Malaysia supported an implementation mechanism with
the caveat that its recommendations not be automatically binding – they
should be sensitive to cultural differences keeping in mind the object
and purpose of the convention is to promote enjoyment of rights of PWD
from jurisdictions around the world.
Mali emphasized the importance of appropriate legislation
and constitutional provisions at the national level, as well as a mechanism
at the international level, to ensure implementation. It also suggested
the establishment of focal points, perhaps regionally, that can link
up mechanisms at both levels.
The Chair opened the floor to general comments related
to the first reading
Republic of Korea called for making Article 6 on Statistics
and Data Collection more succinct, removing unnecessary detail such
as its provisions on privacy, focusing on procedural and methodological
elements, and merging it into Article 25. Trinidad and Tobago asserted
the importance of monitoring at both the international and national
levels to ensure that States fulfill their obligations. An international
body should be composed of independent experts, have good representation
of PWD, and observe the principle of equitable geographic representation.
Chile noted its intention to submit its written proposals
to the Secretariat and asked for an opportunity to speak about them
following the review of Articles 1-15.
Jamaica supported the inclusion of a monitoring mechanism
at both international and national levels. Lessons learned of the new
elements that need to be introduced to the mechanism monitoring the
UN Standard Rules, and this mechanism’s relationship with any new system
need to be clarified. There should be only one system addressing implementation
of policies relating to PWD.
Sierra Leone noted that the Committee was at a crucial
stage, with discussions still overwhelmed with documents and footnotes
accumulating since January, and a need now to galvanize ideas and written
text by removing overlaps and inconsistencies. While each delegation
has a right to propose its own text, Sierra Leone has chosen a self-
imposed moratorium, that it hopes will facilitate the Committee’s work.
Thailand suggested that moving amendments to the Draft
Text to a separate document, rather than keeping them all in as brackets
and parentheses, may make the documents less confusing to the visually
impaired. It also commended the process for its openness and participation
Venezuela supported national and international bodies
set up for monitoring. Disability is not something new, but we are making
history and it should be reflected in all bodies, not only the UN. PWD
may have the best solutions to problems and should be involved in decisions.
The attitude barrier is the greatest barrier to break down.
WBU (on behalf of the International Disability Caucus)
thanked the Committee for the constructive, transparent and efficient
process, which it hoped will continue. The Caucus has drafted an alternative
text for the Committee during the last eleven weeks, the result of more
than 700 emails. The Caucus would like to submit this amended text as
it is generated, as it is a work in progress. The target group for the
convention is 600 PWD around the world and there are DPOs reflecting
that. Since ancient times, PWD have been excluded from decisions and
this should not happen in a process that will affect our lives forever.
It called on the Committee to “include us in the whole process.”