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Session of the Ad Hoc Committee
Summaries of the Sixth Session
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The Chair described the procedural outcomes for
the remainder of the session. The formal Committee Report must be reviewed
and approved. The Annex, the Chair's report, which has less status, also needs
to be approved. Both these documents were distributed. The Chair's report is
not as detailed as the summing up that he has provided at the end of each discussion,
nor is it a compendium of proposals from States. Its purpose is to capture
the direction of the negotiations and which proposals received general support.
Facilitators' texts are regarded as agreed upon text if they have been reported on as such in the plenary. Since Facilitators have not done this, their texts (available at http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc6facilitator.htm) could not be included in the Chair's report. Facilitators have so far reported back on Articles 15(bis), 16, 17, 19, 21.
FACILITATOR REPORTS (cont from Aug 11)
Article 23: Participation in Cultural Life, Recreation, Leisure and Sport
The facilitator Thailand reported on two consultations. At the first consultation suggestions were collected to become the basis for a draft that was circulated. At the second consultation participants focused on and resolved some differences. There was agreement that many of the lists of items should be shortened, provided these can be dealt with in other articles of the Convention. The group proposed strengthening the chapeau by adding "on an equal basis with others.” No conclusion was reached on whether 24(1)(a) should be its own para (1)bis. The group generally supported 24(2), but could not agree on which term should be used, "intellectual property rights" or "copyright"; more research is needed. Paragraph 24(3) now deals with different groups of PWD whose ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities or indigenous identities may not be recognized and emphasises culture rather than a specific target groups. Religion may be more appropriate in Article 13 since it does not deal with cultural rights but discrimination based on disability. Para 24(4) on the right of children to play and have access to leisure and recreational activities on an equal basis with others, including within the school system, combines mainstreaming and disability-specific issues, and there was considerable support for making this a separate article. For the moment it is retained pending further consultations. The group needs to further consider whether Mexico's proposal: "Promote that persons with disability have access to services from those involved in the tourism industry" should be in this Article or in an article of its own, and whether this falls under culture or recreation.
Article 24(bis): International Cooperation
The Facilitator Mexico reported receiving many suggestions for clarifying and enriching the text without prejudice as to its placement. Differences of opinion remain regarding the scope details of IC and consultations are ongoing.
The Chair stated that reports were still needed from the facilitators for
Right to Work and Social Security and Adequate Standard of Living.
The Chair asked for more discussion on Article 21 and 21 (bis) to determine how close the Committee had come to substantial agreement. A report had been made the day before, and the text was available to delegations. As noted yesterday the bracketed language in 21(a), which should be square rather than round brackets, has not gained general agreement and debate on this will not be reopened. The footnotes are for illustrative purposes only and will not be discussed. However the Chair would like to know if the rest of Article 21 is acceptable to delegations.
Article 21: Right to Health; Article 21(bis): Rehabilitation / Habilitation
New Zealand noted several items it believed to be still under discussion but which were in neither the draft nor the footnotes. The concept of informed consent no longer appeared in the text. It is unclear whether the chapeau's language includes public health or community health; the term "health services" seems to connote medical and health services provided to a person rather than to the community as a whole. Many PWD miss out on health education campaigns, for example because no captions are provided on a televised stop smoking ad. Early identification and intervention of disability may have been inadvertently left out of Article 21; it is in Article 21 (bis). The intervention need not only be related to habilitation or rehabilitation; it could also be a health-related intervention.
Canada expressed concern that this chapeau uses the phrase "on the basis of disability” and would prefer language based on CEDAW, emphasizing the elimination of discrimination and the full enjoyment of rights. The enjoyment of this right should be on the basis of equality and non-discrimination of any kind. Paragraphs 21(a) and (b) should require State Parties to guarantee that PWD have equal access to health services, rather than requiring States Parties to “provide” PWD with health services. The bracketed text in (1)(a) should be adopted. As stated by New Zealand, the Article should require prior, free, and informed consent by PWD to medical treatment, habilitation and rehabilitation services. Canada proposed adding a new 21(e), and a new 21(bis)(a), both using this language: "ensure respect for the equal right to give free and informed consent prior to medical treatment."
EU noted that there were a few amendments which the EU had suggested at the Facilitators meeting that are not included in the Facilitator text for Article 21. However it will not raise them because the current text broadly reflects the input given during the meeting. The EU therefore endorses the balance of this draft, as well as New Zealand's additional amendments. The EU questioned the phrase "health-related rehabilitation" in the chapeau of Article 21 because it was generally agreed that all references to habilitation and rehabilitation should be moved to a new article, though a couple of delegations favored keeping this reference in Article 21. The EU asked for further reflection about this issue. The square bracketed language in 21(d) should also include "and worth" at the end. The EU also supports the facilitator's text for Article 21 (bis).
Costa Rica stated that it shared New Zealand's concerns and will consider Canada's proposals. It also supported Qatar's proposals made informally and would like to see this reflected in the Facilitator text.
Chile endorsed Canada's comments on Article 21. The facilitator's text is not fully satisfactory, as it does not stress the right to health as Chile understands that right. Free, informed consent is important; PWD should not face obligatory medical interventions.
Thailand supported New Zealand, Canada and others that free and informed consent should be included in both 21 and 21(bis). PWD should be able to have full control over the health care services they receive.
The Chair noted that some delegations have mentioned Article 21 (bis). He noted his understanding that the silence of other delegations meant that they accept Article 21 (bis) as drafted.
Holy See supported Qatar's proposals and should be reflected in the text. In addition there has been much discussion on whether "health services," "health care" or "health care services" should be used, and this should also be reflected in the text.
The Chair reiterated the Committee should not discuss the bracketed language as the division that exists on its issues cannot be resolved at this session. The current discussion should now move forward and focus on other un-bracketed language.
Nigeria stressed the importance of free and informed consent in the context of Article. The two Qatar texts should also be reflected in Article 21.
Yemen reiterated its proposal from AHC3 and this session to delete "habilitation" and "rehabilitation” from Article 21, because this is covered in 21(bis), and to refer to "medical services" in Article 21 instead. Yemen endorsed Qatar's proposal.
The Chair observed that some delegations, although supporting the separation of health care and habilitation/rehabilitation into separate articles, still wanted to include a reference to health-related (or medical-related) rehabilitation in Article 21, Right to Health. He enquired into the difference between medical rehabilitation and habilitation/rehabilitation in 21 (bis).
World Health Organization (WHO) stated that an article on health which does not include the element of rehabilitation will undermine PWD access to those services. Rehabilitation services have been overlooked by health services. If PWD's essential rehabilitation services are left out, PWD's health will be compromised, especially in developing countries. Rehabilitation services are not guaranteed, especially in developing countries; they should be available through health services. The Chair asked for an example of medical-related rehabilitation as opposed to other rehabilitation services. WHO responded that all people who require medical attention for trauma or chronic conditions should be guaranteed rehabilitation services to prevent complications which could worsen disability or lead to an early death. Medical rehabilitation services are provided through health services at early stages or chronic stages of disability. The Chair asked whether there is a difference between medical treatments – do those that prevent complications fall under health while those that treat the disability or chronic condition fall under rehabilitation? WHO responded that rehabilitation both prevents the development of the disease and complications, and promotes health and functioning.
United States supported including language in Article 21 prohibiting the denial of nutrition and life-preserving medical treatment.
Argentina supported the facilitator's text as a foundation for future work, and agreed with New Zealand's and Chile's comments regarding free and informed consent.
The Chair observed that there are no objections to Article 21 (bis) and that it provides a good basis for further work. There is also support for Article 21 (not including the bracketed portions), but with additional elements added, including free and informed consent.
Qatar reminded the Chair of its proposal to add two paragraphs prohibiting the deprivation of nutrition and medical care which has received support of other delegations.
Russian Federation supported including rehabilitation in Article 21 because in practice it is difficult to distinguish between medical and social aspects of health. The Article's numbering and wording causes concern. Perhaps discussion of this could be continued at the next session, so that specialized documents can be examined including those published by WHO. Russian Federation opposes enshrining the right to health as such, but remains willing to listen to arguments.
The Chair responded that the language used in this Article parallels CEDAW and CESCR, but there may be a linguistic issue. States cannot guarantee good health to everyone, and the right to health care is larger, so the translation should be examined. Article 21, including the bracketed text, will have to considered again. He asked for comments on Article 21 (bis).
New Zealand still has concerns about a separate article on rehabilitation and habilitation. It is unsure that this is best way to deal with issues outside of medical rehabilitation, but will look closer at the text. Article 21 (bis) does not deal with issues of daily living, and may unduly professionalize the otherwise normal process of living one’s own life.
Palestine stated that rehabilitation and habilitation are often misunderstood.concepts; rehabilitation means preparing the person to continue life in a convenient manner. Habilitation means those with birth disabilities being taught to use Braille or sign language. Medical rehabilitation deals with complications related to the disability. It believes more time is needed to define these items and make them clearer. Some countries deprive children with disabilities from medical care compared to those without disabilities. There is also discrimination against disabled women in medical care.
India reiterated the formulation it proposed at AHC3 for defining medical rehabilitation in the context of health, including access to a continuum of rehabilitation services such as physical, occupational, speech/language/communication and pyschosocial therapies as well as assistive technologies and other devices. Human resources are needed to provide these services. This was the idea behind Article 21 in its original form where rehabilitation and health are dealt together. Article 21 (bis) now broadens these ideas. India believes rehabilitation related to education and employment should be dealt with in the relevant articles and not here. Article 21 (bis) should deal only with medical rehabilitation.
Mali noted complications in translating the concept of rehabilitation without a common language. There are three essential elements: deficiency, incapacity, and disability. Deficiency means a deformity of one or more parts of the body (which is a health issue); incapacity means that the disabled body can no longer fulfill its mission (which is both a functional rehabilitation issue and a health issue); and disability means the limitations which remain after a person’s recovery and rehabilitation (which is not a health issue). Disability is caused by the environment and requires social and professional re-adaptation to gain the same productivity level as others.
Canada shared an example to illustrate the difference between medical rehabilitation and general/social rehabilitation: A carpenter begins losing his/her sight, and an eye doctor provides treatments to preserve or restore the vision; this is medical rehabilitation. At the same time, the Convention should ensure that the carpenter will be taught techniques to continue doing carpentry work, such as mobility orientation, etc.; this is social rehabilitation, or adaptation, or independent living, and takes place outside the medical process and the health care system. As New Zealand proposed free and informed consent should be added to Article 21(bis) if it were to be retained, though Canada would prefer that there not be a separate article on rehabilitation/habilitation. These important ideas should be addressed in the relevant articles elsewhere. In 21(1), the words “organize, strengthen and extend” should be replaced with “ensure access to.” In 21(1)(a), the word "begin" should be replaced with "are available.” In 21(1)(b), the words" as close as possible to people’s own community” should be replaced with "community based setting."
Brazil stated that although there is a need for rehabilitation in education, employment, and social services, it supports the separate Article 21(bis) as drafted. A more general concept of rehabilitation would mean to compensate for loss of function and/or to enhance autonomy. This may involve prosthetics, technical assistance, medications (for stability), psychological treatment, and orientation. Because these are all linked to health care such rehabilitation should be mentioned in the right to health.
Oman supported Qatar's proposal to guarantee PWD's right to life, treatment, and all health services that enable survival.
China suggested that while informed consent is important, it should be placed in Article 12 (bis). During AHC5, the majority of delegations agreed with the introduction of 12 (bis) to deal with these issues. There should be no overlapping.
Yemen reaffirmed its support for a separate article on rehabilitation and habilitation but was flexible on its placement pending the discussion about convention structure. Medical rehabilitation cannot be placed in 21(bis) because this is linked to necessary medical procedures. Yemen reiterated its proposal from AHC3 obligating States Parties to undertake “rehabilitation and training of persons in the psychological, social, physical, professional, and other fields so as to enable them to exercise their life in a natural and normal way.” This proposal does not include medical rehabilitation. If medical rehabilitation is included in 21 (bis), it would imply that PWD are ill and need care by medical authorities; this should be avoided. The main thrust of this article is to allow PWD to have a decent life, earn a living, and meet their needs. These ideas do not contradict comments by other delegates about medical rehabilitation.
Israel supported including Qatar's text in Article 21. In Israel, three different terms are used: medical, paramedical, and psychosocial rehabilitation. Medical and paramedical rehabilitation should be addressed in Article 21 and pyschosocial rehabilitation in 21 (bis). These services are related to each other, and should be coordinated by case managers. At the end of 21(bis)(2), language should be added to make clear that training should be based on a human rights approach.
Chile highlighted both practical and philosophical aspects to the question of whether a health condition determines disability. While a health condition can cause a deficit, it is only in its combination with the PWD’s interaction with the environment that causes disability. This Convention is not about cures and treatments; it is about freedoms and political rights linked to access, and the ability of the PWD to recover their functionality and participate through the rest of their life. Chile supports the placement of medical rehabilitation in article 21, but the other concepts of rehabilitation are broader.
Morocco stated that rehabilitation can be either medical, linked to health, or social and professional. Medical rehabilitation includes physiotherapy after injury and prostheses. Following an accident or pathology, the person receives treatment either to overcome the consequences or to maintain existing capacity and prevent complications. Social and professional rehabilitation helps a person to reintegrate into society using technical, educational and logistical resources. Even though these services are not directly related to health they must be supervised medically to ensure effectiveness and to prevent injuring the person further. Morocco also supported Qatar's proposal.
Cameroon asserted that the lack of any substantive agreement on the definition or concept of rehabilitation or re-adaptation could lead to misunderstanding. This is a broad concept embracing the social and psychological and medical. The aim of rehabilitation is to allow the PWD to achieve or maintain an optimal level of existence including physical, sensory and social, and to achieve greater autonomy. Rehabilitation and habilitation are closely interlinked with health. Rehabilitation, which modifies the conditions of the person to allow access to activities, could also therefore be related to accessibility, although this convention has only dealt with access modifications to the environment. Rehabilitation could also be linked to Article 20, Personal Mobility. To avoid duplication references to other articles should be made taking the Convention's structure into account. There should be a separate article on rehabilitation, with clear links to accessibility and personal mobility. Cameroon endorsed the Qatar proposal.
Senegal and Sudan supported including Qatar's proposal in Article 21.
WHO sought to clarify that the understanding of health cited in Canada's example should in fact be extended to cover the process of integrating into society. This is still linked to health because health involves physical, social, and mental wellbeing. Health is not just related to medicine but covers all aspects of social participation. Noting that less than 5% of PWD in developing countries have access to rehabilitation services even after extensive worldwide advocacy and education about the need for these services, the WHO also expressed concerned about adding the further element of habilitation to the services to be provided by states. If States cannot provide for rehabilitation services, it is unlikely they will devote additional staff and resources to habilitation services.
Article 22: Right to Work
The Facilitator Israel noted that this report was subject to a further consultation among interested delegations in the afternoon. In the chapeau the addition of "of lawful working age" is redundant because the language of "on an equal basis with others" already exists, and should therefore be deleted. The words "with a view to protecting persons with disabilities from poverty" will also be deleted. There are differences of opinion regarding affirmative action. Some delegations want to stress quotas, while others want clearer affirmative action language, but all agree on the need to strengthen this para. Accordingly the facilitator’s text reflects a new 22(c) to "ensure appropriate representation for PWD in government ministries and require appropriate representation in the workforce of the public sector and of large private sector employers" and a new 22(e) to "encourage employers to hire and retain persons with disabilities, by way of such measures as the promotion of affirmative action programs, and the provision of financial incentives and support.” Discussion is in progress over the need to keep 22(c), 22(e), or both. In 22(h), the issue of alternative forms of employment needs further input from interested delegations. New Zealand has suggested deleting 22(h) because 22(d) covers this issue and will protect PWD in “all forms of” employment. The facilitator expressed his concern that many PWD are in alternate job situations, some of which may not be referred to as employment, and that 22(d) may not protect them.
Article 19: Accessibility
The Facilitator Serbia and Montenegro reported on the outcome of its consultations with delegations, also recorded in footnotes to its consolidated non-paper. Accessibility should be dealt with earlier in the Convention, closer to Article 7 as well as possibly in General Principles. Some delegations wanted progressive realization in this article, while others did not and this needs further discussion. The facilitator's text for 19(1) is based on the WG text, with additions from the plenary discussion. Some delegations were unsure about the bracketed text "[existing and preventing future] barriers.” Subparagraphs 19(1)(a) and (b) as well as 19(2)(a) and (b) are shown in brackets because they are too detailed and delegations were concerned that a listing could be read as exhaustive. Subparagraph 19(2)(c), as edited, is supported by delegations which favor merging Articles 19 and 20, and opposed by delegations against this merger. One delegation was concerned that it may create the impression that access relates only to the built environment and not to information and communication technologies. There was quite a bit of agreement regarding 22(d) and (e). The group could not agree about accessibility requirements for privately-owned facilities and services in (f); some delegations advocated stronger language, while others wanted to limit this to “encouragement” only. There was much support for adding 19(2)(g), adapted from two subparagraphs in Article 13, reading as follows: "Ensure that accessible information and communication technologies, including new information and communication technologies and systems, be designed, developed, produced and distributed at an early stage so that the information society becomes inclusive for PWD."
The session was adjourned.
The International Disability Caucus outlined its position in response to the morning’s discussion of Articles 21 and 21(bis). It agreed there should be an explicit reference to prior free and informed consent in both articles. For reasons given by the WHO references to medical related rehabilitation should be retained in the article on health. It agreed with New Zealand’s proposal to ensure that public health campaigns are accessible to PWD. There are examples of public health campaigns that have failed to do so, which have led PWD to become infected with HIV/AIDs and other diseases.
Namibia Association of PWD responded to the WHO with respect to its understanding of rehabilitation for PWD. There is a concrete history from which PWD are emerging, and that history is dominated by health professionals. They have a very important role to play, but that role is limited. It is important to recognize that disabled people don’t necessarily want to live their lives surrounded by health professionals. This political aspect of rehabilitation should be recognized in this convention.
Review of the Draft Formal Report of the 6th AHC (A/AC/256/2005/L.4)
The Chair proposed that Para 10 of Section IV “Recommendations” be amended to allow for 2 sessions of the AHC in 2006 that could last for a period of upto 3 weeks each.
In response to the concerns of the Czech Republic, seconded by Serbia-Montenegro, the Report would note that the next session would not begin prior to January 9, 2006.
The Chair expressed regret that the conference calendar was unable to accommodate a 7th AHC later in 2006. However he would ensure that the Chair’s Text would be published as soon as possible so as to allow participants sufficient time to prepare.
The United States opposed the recommendation of a 3 week session because of potential budgetary implications. In the past delegations were consistently assured that there would be no program budget implications with upcoming AHCs only to learn of an oral PBI statement at the moment of the vote on the resolution, as happened with the General Assembly resolution in 2003. The UN is provided with ample resources to meet the priority needs agreed to by member states. Any negotiations must be within existing resources confirmed in writing by the Secretariat. Treaty negotiations should avoid draining resources not only of the UN but also states and NGOs participating in the process. A 3 week session in January followed by a 2 or 3 week session in August is a substantial commitment of resources and time. Furthermore the US is categorically opposed to any intersessional meetings either in New York or Geneva as this would seriously compound their concerns expressed above. This is particularly true if the meetings are held in Geneva which would require representatives from NY missions to travel to a third country creating unnecessary inefficiencies.
The Chair indicated his awareness of the resource issues, noting in particular the burdens that have been borne by members of civil society. Their level of attendance is a reflection of their level of commitment to the process. The language of para 10 notes “within existing resources” which should address the US’ concerns.
Russian Federation allied itself with the Czech Republic and Serbia –Montenegro noting that a 3 week session presents financial issues that remain to be clarified.
The Chair assured that the Committee is not making a decision about the 3 week session at this point.
The draft Report was adopted with the amended para 10. Annex I of the Report “Additional nongovernmental organizations accredited to the the 6th AHC” was also adopted.
Review of Annex II – Report of the Chairman
The Chair reiterated that this Annex is not meant to be a verbatim record of the discussions. There are 150 paras reflecting the considerable depth of the discussions that have taken place so far. In order to keep to a concise format, it also does not represent country positions. He opened the floor for delegations’ substantive comments.
Canada noted that the Committee had considered proposals to include a General Obligation regarding women with disabilities, in Article 4, in addition to references in General Principles and the Preamble, and this should be reflected in para 19.
Japan noted that some of its views on Article 17 – Education – were not reflected:  the general education system may not be able to accommodate PWD, and depending on the specific situations of PWD there may be situations where special education may be more suitable;  with respect to para 34 of the Report, WG text para 17(3) should not be restricted to covering people with specific types of disabilities;  with respect to para 38 of the Report, Japan had supported the proposal to restructure WG text 17(4).
Australia noted that para 5ter of the Report on the structure of the Convention does not reflect the fact that delegations were open to alternate structures, in particular that proposed by Australia. It recommended that the para’s second sentence “There was agreement that the way in which the WG text was presently structured was generally acceptable, although” be deleted.
Canada wished to highlight the efforts of facilitators which, if they could not be reflected in the Report itself, should be available on the UN Enable website.
The Chair explained that Facilitators’ texts cannot be regarded as commanding general agreement or general support until they have been considered in plenary. These are texts that were meant to be formulated in small groups so they do not have formal status as such. Therefore, though they could not be included in the Report, they will be very helpful if made available on the website. There will also be an additional reference in the Report that “additional meetings were held by the Facilitators and the text further advanced.” These advancements will be taken into account at the next AHC.
Canada noted support for proposals that Accessibility be included as a General Principle in Article 2 given its importance to this convention, and this should be reflected in para 60 of the Report.
Thailand noted its strong concerns with the reference in 19.2(d) to “encourage”, as well as the opposition of some delegations to its position, and requested that this discussion be reflected in para 66 of the Report.
New Zealand noted that Thailand’s concerns have already been covered generically in the Report in its Introduction para 5(bis).
Qatar asserted that it had proposed 2 additional paras in Article 21 affirming the right of PWD not to be denied food or medicine. This proposal had received support from many delegations and therefore should be reflected in the Report.
The Chair noted in response to the question from Yemen that there was no agreed outcome with regard to language on Articles 21 and 21(bis) but there was agreement that there should be 2 Articles.
Sierra Leone enquired how the Report would reflect the concerns of Qatar since the Report is not meant to reflect the views of any one delegation. The Chair responded that a reference would be made to a proposal that PWD should not be denied food, water, or life support, and this proposal was supported by others. The Chair recalled that the proposal was not specifically opposed by any delegations, but did not receive general support either. The Report will not mention any delegations by name.
New Zealand pointed out that the last phrase in the last sentence of para 73 of the Report dealing with Article 21in its entirety should be deleted, since the assertion that “by referring throughout the text to physical and mental health” is not correct. This reference only applies to the chapeau.
EU recalled the Chair’s point that this Report was not meant to reflect all proposals made by all delegations on any one Article, and expressed concern that doing so could unbalance the text. By including individual proposals from individual delegations the Report could revert to becoming the Compilation that the Chair was seeking to avoid.
The Chair noted that proposals which individual delegations felt strongly about received support from some delegations the Report will reflect this, but in a different way from those situations where proposals received general support, or where proposals were made later in the day and the Committee’s position had not been resolved. The Chair assured he will find balancing language to reflect these situations in the report.
Chile noted that the proposal from its delegation and Canada on fully informed consent with respect to interventions should be reflected in the text.
The EU noted that proposals it had made with respect 22(e) and (f) that received some support are not reflected in the Report.
Israel noted that there was strong support for the Canadian proposal, also embodied in Israel’s own proposal for Article 22, that para (h) as moved to (a) contain a prohibition on discrimination and require reasonable accommodation. This does not receive adequate expression in the relevant paras 88 or 99 of the Report.
Canada noted that in the case of both Articles 21 and 22 Facilitators Jordan and Israel returned streamlined proposals to the plenary that were both discussed and received support. These results are not fully captured in the relevant paras 87, 100b.
The Chair agreed that a general reference expanding on the work of the Facilitators will be noted in the report. However the text for Article 22 had not yet in fact been advanced in the Facilitator’s small group discussions as this was one of the later articles to be dealt with in the Committee, and this is reflected in his report back to the plenary this morning. With respect to Article 21, while the Facilitator’s text did reflect advances in the small group discussions, there remained a number of outstanding issues to be resolved. Neither of the texts could therefore be regarded as generally supported by the plenary.
Chile noted that it had wanted to retain the reference to people with severe and multiple disabilities, so that the need for special protection would be recognised. The language in para 111 of the Report, indicating “general agreement” that this reference should be deleted, should therefore be changed.
Kenya was of the understanding that the discussion on religion in Article 24, as reflected in para 124 of the Report, concluded with agreement that the Committee would explore other parts of the convention where this language could be better located.
Yemen recalled, on the same issue, other proposals that there was no need to refer to religion at all given the sensitivity of this issue, so both sets of views on the inclusion of religion need to be reflected.
The Chair noted that on balance most delegations were in favor of not mentioning religion in this Article, but perhaps elsewhere, as in Article 13, for example.
The Chair gave Facilitators an opportunity to report back from their afternoon small group meetings.
FACILITATOR REPORTS (cont)
Article 22 – Right to Work
The Facilitator Israel reported that the meeting was attended by EU, NZ, Japan, Denmark, Canada, and representatives from civil society. Progress was made, leaving only one outstanding issue, relating to affirmative action with respect to the private sector. Para 22(c) of the Facilitator text needs further examination especially from the EU and NZ for new wording requiring special measures such as affirmative action of private sector employers. However there does seem to be agreement for including language calling on the public sector to take a leading role in employment of PWD, and to replace “appropriate representation” with more suitable language. There is consensus that references in the chapeau to “lawful working age” and “with a view to protecting PWD from poverty” can be deleted. There was also consensus to add “and support” to (g) after “assistance.” There was near consensus on the deletion of (h) and general agreement on the deletion of (i).
Article 24(bis) - International Cooperation
The Facilitator Mexico reported that the small group covered several issues, without prejudice as to placement of this Article:  The importance of IC in realizing the objectives of this convention;  States’ obligation to comply with the convention with respect to IC;  Stakeholders include the participation of civil society and associations of DPOs;  Support for the establishment and strengthening of capacity via a broadened understanding of capacity-building – this needs more discussion;  The need to engage in IC for development so as to take into account PWD – this is already in 4(c) on General Obligations for mainstreaming disability into policymaking, and has repercussions that are national and international in nature;  Exchanges of information and experience including best practices;  Technical assistance. These last 2 points deal with establishing priorities for technical and scientific knowhow, information exchange for technical assistance, access to technology and access to assistance. There were differences of opinion on the depth of these concepts and they need to be further clarified;  A reference to economic assistance to be provided as much as possible, including by private entities, raised a number of concerns among some delegations but was supported by others. It was pointed out that this issue is already mentioned in the CESCR;  The establishment of a link between IC and CESCR also led to disagreement even though it was pointed out that other human rights treaties have made such a link. Yet others pointed out that this was a hybrid convention and IC therefore related to all its parts. A reference to progressive realization was also proposed but it was pointed out that a general reference should be made in Article 4 instead.
Article 17 - Education
The Facilitator Australia noted considerable progress to its latest text following additional afternoon small group meetings. No new ideas were introduced as the purpose was to work with ideas that had been put forward. The exception to the principle of inclusive education that was in the chapeau has been moved to para 2(d) which deals with the actions that states parties need to take to fulfill this right. Para 3 has been modified to reflect the combined proposals from Thailand and Australia’s 17(bis). Paras 4 and 5 continue to closely reflect the WG text.
The Chair concluded by noting that the Committee had achieved the objective
it had set out for itself at the beginning of this 6th session, of completing
detailed deliberation on the remaining 15 Articles. The WG text has been an
extremely good working document. The text was put together as a collection
of individual articles and not as a composite whole so there are overlaps and
structural issues that remain to be dealt with. However the substance of its
articles have held up extremely well. The overall shape of the text and remaining
issues are becoming clear.
Subsequent AHC meetings will need to be held in a different mode. Delegations should shift from a debating mode, expressing preferences and responding to them, to expressing what is or is not ultimately acceptable.
Following discussions with the Bureau and regional groups on the best way to move the process forward, a Chair’s Text will be prepared to assist in future negotiations. It will be based on the WG Text, will draw on the comments made at this and previous meetings, and will draw on the various Facilitators’ texts as appropriate keeping in mind that this work is at different stages of elaboration and not all of them have come back to plenary.
The Chair’s Text will attempt to balance fairly and carefully the different points of view that have been expressed. There are a few major issues of a political nature that the Text will leave unresolved. There are however many political / technical issues, where the sense of the meeting is reasonably clear, where it is possible to make some proposals that bridge differences. The Text will attempt to reflect those views that are strongly held but not everyone will get everything that they want, otherwise the Committee will end up with the Compendium again.
Delegations should therefore come to the January meetings having formulated positions based on what they can ultimately accept, allowing for what will need to be a much more focused discussion.
Following expressions of thanks from the Chair, the 6th AHC meeting was adjourned.
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The Daily Summaries are translated into French by Handicap-International, into Spanish by the Inter American Institute on Disability and into Arabic by Landmine Survivors Network (www.musawa.org). Thanks to funding from the above mentioned governments RI will facilitate translation to Spanish and Chinese.
The daily summaries are available online at http://www.riglobal.org/un/index.html in MSWord; http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc6summary.htm; www.worldenable.org/rights; and www.ishr.ch
Reporters for the 6 th Session are Roisin Dermody, Marianne Schulze, Tina Singleton, Robin Stephens; Editors are Laura Hershey and Zahabia Adamaly. Please forward any corrections or comments to Zahabia_a@hotmail.com.
Anyone wishing to disseminate the Summaries and/or translate them into additional languages is encouraged to do so, with the request that you please retain the above crediting language - thank you.
* The Daily Summaries do not reflect the views of Rehabilitation International.