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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



New Zealand
summarized 6 guidelines. The draft Convention should: 1. Mirror the level of detail and style of existing human rights treaties; 2. Avoid redundancy and overlap; 3. Reflect the existing doctrine of progressive realization of economic, social and cultural rights; 4. Not extend the doctrine of progressive realization to civil and political rights; 5. Be consistent with other core human rights convention; 6. Focus on issues and rights that have particular relevance to disabled people. Based on these guidelines New Zealand has further suggestions: First, the current structure with divisions by thematic articles should be maintained, and further divisions according to sub-populations of persons with disabilities, such as women or children, should be avoided unless it can be demonstrated that there are issues specific to those groups that cannot be addressed in other articles. Second, the article on Personal Mobility should be deleted and its provisions merged into articles 4 and 15. Third, the EU proposal to merge parts of Draft Articles 4, 5 and 7 into a single Article 3 on non-discrimination has merit, but it is essential to ensure that important ideas are not lost in the process of condensation. The EU proposal to merge Article 6 (Data Collection) to Draft Article 25 (Monitoring) has merit but only if it is decided that Article 25 should contain a section on national as well as international monitoring mechanisms. Finally, New Zealand proposed the following additional structural changes: Article 11 should focus on the issue of informed consent to interventions. Article 12 should focus on freedom from all forms of violence and abuse, including torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment.

The Netherlands (EU) noted that human rights conventions generally follow a similar structure of preamble, general provisions, provisions on monitoring and final provisions, and the EU was generally satisfied with the Working Group’s draft in terms of following this structure. As far as the substantive part of the convention is concerned, the EU will not stand by its proposal to merge Articles 4, 5 and 7. The EU proposed replacing Article 5 (Promotion of Positive Attitudes) as new Article 24bis. Second, the EU proposed replacing the contents of Article 6 (Data and Statistics) and inserting it into Article 25 (Monitoring). The EU proposed replacing Article 7 (Non-discrimination) to become new Article 3.

Canada supported both the New Zealand and EU proposals on structure, which it indicated were quite compatible.

Chile supported the intervention by Canada. It welcomed the New Zealand proposals and highlighted certain points raised in them. Chile opposes a convention addressing only non-discrimination as this is too limiting. An integral convention should specify the various rights and also prescribe anti-discrimination measures. The importance of implementation and follow-up must be stressed in the Convention.

Yemen supported a comprehensive structure.

Australia noted that many existing human rights instruments are broken up into parts and proposed that the convention be broken into five logical parts to aid its accessibility: Part 1 – Interpretive provisions; Part 2 – General obligations and provisions; Part 3 – Provisions relating to civil and political rights; Part 4 – Provisions relating to economic, social and cultural rights; and Part 5 - Remaining provisions on implementations. Such a structure would provide a logical framework, make it easier for people to access the various provisions, and separate out the rights that are immediately realizable from those that are progressively realizable.

Serbia Montenegro supported the Canada and Chile proposals, and commended those of the EU and New Zealand, which seem compatible. It hopes that such proposals will make the convention more precise and capable of being put into practice.

Kenya called for a structure that parallels other human rights conventions, and urged the inclusion of as many issues of relevance to PWD as possible as these have not been well articulated in the monitoring mechanisms of other conventions. It supports the coverage of issues pertaining to specific groups where possible, an attempt to define disability, and the inclusion of national monitoring mechanisms.

China noted the interesting views put forward, including the proposals of New Zealand. It supports some of these proposals, especially the point about avoiding unnecessary repetition, and will further study the others.

Mali agreed with the existing structure, but stressed that it would insist upon an international implementing mechanism. Mali also noted problem throughout the French translation version of the text where the term “handicappe” was used without the term “persons” as in the English version. Mali believes that persons with disabilities are persons, and the inclusion of this term therefore makes a big difference.

Republic of Korea insisted that the idea of mobility must be preserved.

Thailand supported the constructive proposals made by New Zealand and the EU. In particular it supports the idea of disability inclusiveness throughout the convention, especially in the area of international cooperation. It supports strengthening the non-discrimination aspect of the convention as frequently stressed by the EU. While willing to work with delegations to avoid repetition it supports retaining the concept of mobility.

Non-Governmental Organizations

WNUSP stressed that an important principle to be reflected in the structure and content of this convention is the rejection of any limitation, restriction or exclusion of rights of any persons with disabilities. This convention is to promote rights and not to enshrine disqualifications of those rights, as has been proposed in, for example, Article 9. If governments are not in a position to fully address all human rights under certain themes, for instance on legal capacity or torture, WNUSP has suggested a way to address such issues without limitations on the basis of principles. WNUSP rejects New Zealand’s proposals on Articles 11 and 12.

South African Human Rights Institutions (on behalf of National Human Rights Institutions) associated itself with the Australian proposal to have five parts to the convention, which is logical and in line with existing human rights conventions. It also supported the New Zealand proposal, particularly with regard to repetition and redundancy.

PWDA finds the current structure to be underdeveloped, and problematic on both the conceptual and applied levels including: 1) the blending of civil and political rights with economic, social and cultural rights, along with so-called third generation rights which undermines traditional distinctions between immediately realizable rights and those subject to progressive realization; 2) the blending of preambular, interpretive and implementation and monitoring measures with substantive rights; and 3) the virtual absence of implementation and monitoring mechanisms. It supports the Australian proposals.

Thailand highlighted the absence of a provision on remedies, and hoped that this important subject would be addressed in the Committee’s reviews of each article.


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