Skip navigation links Sitemap | About us | FAQs

UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality

Back to: Daily Summaries
Ad Hoc Committee Main


Daily summary of discussions related to Article 25


UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities
Fourth session of the Ad Hoc Committee - Daily Summary
A service made possible by Landmine Survivors Network * [Disclaimer]

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 meet.

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 Article 25.”

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.

Non-Governmental Organizations

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 Parties.

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 levels.

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 floor.

Albania supported the EU proposals, which along with the text of the WG provide a good basis on which to develop domestic legislation.

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 to all.

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.”

Home | Sitemap | About us | News | FAQs | Contact us

© United Nations, 2003-04
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Division for Social Policy and Development