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Daily summary of discussions


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)

PREAMBLE (unless otherwise noted, references to previous proposals are recorded in the June 4 Summaries for AHC3)

New Zealand noted the Preamble was lengthy and reserved the right to return to this section if the opportunity arose to streamline it. Review of (n) bis and (s) should be deferred until the question of separate articles on women and children in the convention is resolved. Review of EU proposal (n) ter should be deferred until the chapeau of Article 12 has been reworked. Kenya’s proposal referring to other sub-populations of PWD reflects problems inherent in listing – they cannot be exhaustive, and risk leaving some sub-groups out. Armed conflict is more appropriately addressed in the preamble, in the context of affirming the strengthening of international peace and security to enable PWD to exercise their rights, rather than in the draft article on Right to Life.

Korea was disappointed that the program of work did not include its proposed important new article on Women with Disabilities, as was reflected in the Compilation text. While it would continue to support the organization of work as proposed, it expected progress in this session so that the Committee could consider this Draft Article 15bis at AHC5.
The Chair indicated that the point raised by Korea was “very well taken.”

Japan drew attention to preambular paragraph (q) bis made by Costa Rica regarding the important role that PWD can play in society, noting the importance of this point and indicating that it would submit a written proposal regarding the same to build on the Costa Rica proposal. Recognition of the expertise of PWD should be in the preamble.

Mexico supported the proposal made by Pakistan regarding (b) and the reference to the International Covenants (see References to universality, indivisibility and interdependence in (c), which constitute standard preambular language, and to international law and the Migrants Workers Convention in (d), should be retained. There should be references to the World Programme of Action in (e). Mexico proposes (e) bis referencing ILO Convention 159. Mexico proposes (e) ter which references the Durban Conference against Racism, Xenophobia and other Related Forms of Discrimination as proposed by Chile. In (f) Mexico supports Costa Rica’s reference to discrimination and violence and the EU proposal replacing “violation of” with “affront to”. (g) should clarify that “diversity” refers to various types of disabilities. It does not support Thailand’s inclusion of additional language on the “needs and requirements of PWD” as this might change the meaning of the paragraph and make it sound paternalistic. The EU’s proposal on (i) was appropriate except for its last phrase: “in particular developing countries,” which reflects the traditional view of international cooperation as a transfer of resources to developing countries, when it is instead important to use this Convention to promote new forms of cooperation. In addition there should be a separate article on international cooperation. In (j) the reference to diversity is unnecessary. Mexico also supports the Korean proposal in (l) adding references to PWD “taking leading roles”, and the Nambian and South African proposals deleting the potentially limiting last phrase of that paragraph. In (m) references to multiple or serious disabilities should be removed as they introduce a hierarchy of disability and attach more importance to those who have more serious disabilities. As outlined by Pakistan, it is not necessary to list the bases of discrimination to which PWD may be subjected, or the list should reflect that in the UDHR. In (n) the EU proposal on women with disabilities is supported. In (o) the Chilean suggestions, as well as the EU’s language on poverty and disability, are also supported. Amending (r) according to the Pakistani proposal, which provides appropriate focus, will avoid a repetition of a discussion already held. The last phrase referencing developed and developing countries is unnecessary and should be deleted. The EU’s reformulation of (s), while to be supported, should better reflect the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Finally, Mexico also supports Israel’s recommendation that the Preamble should reflect an “integral” approach to disability.

The United States of America pointed out not all countries are parties to all conventions and that it would submit alternative language to the Secretariat regarding (b). In (d) it supported Pakistan’s proposal on listing of international treaties.

India proposed adding “and discrimination” in (c) highlighting the fact that PWD continue to face barriers. In (i) and (j) “emphasizing” should be replaced with “recognizing.” In (k), at end of the sentence, India proposed adding “to the extent possible.” In (l), in the middle of the first sentence, India proposed adding “and their families where appropriate.” (o) should reflect India’s proposed language recognizing that conditions of poverty can exacerbate the situation of PWD. (p) should include additional language on “and natural disasters” and “enjoyment” of human rights. In (r), “facilitate” should replace “promote.” In (d) references to the Migrants Workers Convention should be deleted. The term “violation” should be replaced with “affront” in (f).

Chile will submit minor proposals to the Secretariat relating (f), (g), (i), (j), (o), (q), (r). It suggested adding a reference to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Australia proposed 2 new paragraphs: (e) bis: “Recognizing the importance of a profound shift as indicated in the UN Standard Rules on Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities away from an understanding of disability solely as an individual pathology and towards one that recognizes the disabling impact of inaccessible social structures and processes on persons with impairment” and (f) bis: “Recalling with profound concern the history and experience of eugenics, abuse, neglect, isolation, segregation and violence against persons with disabilities in all parts of the world.”

China supported Pakistan’s proposal in (b). It stressed the importance of mentioning international cooperation in (i), and in a separate paragraph. It supports Cuba’s suggested inclusion of the term “all” in (n). The proposals put forward by India, Cuba and Chile in (o) speak to the importance to PWD of the need to eliminate poverty. In (r) it supported the proposals of Cuba, Pakistan and Canada.

Malaysia supported Pakistan’s position in relation to (b) and (d), as not all States are Parties to conventions on human rights.

Canada highlighted repetition in the Preamble, and called for more concise text. On the issue of sub-groups, it may propose a paragraph on the unique barriers faced by PWD who are indigenous.

Lebanon reaffirmed its support for international cooperation. It also proposed a new para after (n): “Recognizing development of the concept of disability during prior decades which clearly reflects the fact that disability is an interactive process between the personal and functional position of the individual in its socio-economic and cultural situation.”

The Phillipines supported retention of the reference to the Migrant Workers Convention given their sheer numbers around the world. Recognising that poverty is not the only situation that aggravates the situation of PWD, it proposed adding after “poverty” in (b) the terms “environmental degradation and inefficient governance.”

Cuba supported inclusion of the reference to the World Conference on Racism, Discrimination, Xenophobia and other Forms of Intolerance and the Indian proposal to include natural disasters in (b). Cuba shared the view that international cooperation is crucial for implementation and that there should be a separate paragraph on the subject as proposed by China.

Thailand noted its uncertainty regarding the inclusion of sub-groups in (g). It does not think the terms “needs and requirements” are paternalistic. It supports India’s suggestion to include reference to natural disasters. It also supports the concept of international cooperation, especially if disability-inclusive international cooperation can be emphasized.

Japan suggested combining (b) and (d) noting that some States are not party to some of the conventions listed here and calling instead for a generic reference without listing. It also called for a generic reference to international cooperation (i). Japan still has “some difficulties” with referencing families in (l), even when qualified with “as appropriate” and called for its deletion. Although Japan supports family values, it pointed out that families often suppress the free decision-making of persons with disabilities. It is also opposed to classifying PWD as is done in references in (m) to people with severe or multiple disabilities.

Venezuela stressed that in preambular paragraph n bis there should be a reference to women and girls with disabilities. It supports South Africa, Yemen and Costa Rica regarding (q), which should include additional references to “cultural” and “economic” areas. It supports Canada’s proposal on (r), but with the inclusion of “their participation and integration,” and additional references to culture, sport and recreation at the end. Because many PWD suffer from multiple forms of discrimination, (s) should include obese people and pregnant women.

Yemen proposed an addition to the paragraph on armed conflict and supported a separate paragraph addressing international cooperation.

Republic of Korea opposed reference to the Migrants Workers Convention, questioning its universality. It supported Japan’s proposal to combine (b) and (d). It supported retaining reference to international cooperation, more concise than in (i), and reflecting a similar reference in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It proposed the following new language in (l): “...and that the views and concerns of families and caregivers of PWD should be duly considered in such decision-making processes.”

Bahrain supported inclusion of international cooperation in a separate paragraph, as proposed by China. It supported Japan’s proposal to combine (b) and (d).

Non-Governmental Organizations

WNUSP emphasized that as a positive statement committed to the full enjoyment of human rights for PWD, the Preamble should avoid any medical model language, differentiating among PWD or referencing differences in functional capacities. Limiting references to autonomy, independence and choice in (k), with language like “to the extent possible” was entirely out of place in this convention. Proposals to reference PWD and their families reflected a similar paternalism, and WNUSP supports Japan’s position in that regard. As proposed by Mexico the paragraph on the UN Standard Rules should also include reference to the World Programme of Action, but no other instrument.

People with Disability Australia, Australian National Association of Community Legal Centers, Australian Federation of Disability Organizations (PWDA) supported Australia on violations of human rights of PWD and the social model of disability. In (l), “recognizing” should replace “considering” making it clear that States Parties positively accept the principle of participation of PWD, rather than merely acknowledge it. Participation is essential and a precondition of the enjoyment of human rights of PWD and this should be recognized in the new paragraph: “Recognizing that the participation of PWD and their representative organizations in the formulation, promotion implementation and evaluation of policies, plans, programmes and actions at the national, regional, and international levels is essential and a condition precedent to the realization of the human rights of PWD.” Para (n) fails to refer to the specific violations faced by women and girls with disabilities and may not encompass the special measures necessary to address the human rights concerns that arise at the intersection of gender and disability. References to multiply disadvantaged groups, and the recognition of the disadvantage of severely disabled persons must be retained in (m). In addition, the paragraph must recognize the disadvantage faced by PWD in rural and remote areas, islands and geographically disadvantaged areas. PWDA supported the recognition of minority sexual status as one of the characteristics leading to aggravated disadvantage.

Save the Children Alliance proposed the following addition to (k): “Recognizing the importance for PWD of their individual autonomy and independence including the freedom to make their own choices, taking into account Article 5 of the CRC relating to the evolving capacities of the child.” It endorsed the EU proposals on (s), of critical importance given that children with disabilities are rendered invisible in many societies.


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