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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality

Draft Article 3


"Communication" includes oral-aural communication, communication using sign language, tactile communication, Braille, large print, audio, accessible multimedia, human reader and other augmentative or alternative modes of communication, including accessible information and communication technology.11


"Persons with disability"13

"Discrimination on the ground of disability"14

"Language" includes oral-aural language and sign language.15 "Reasonable accommodation"16

"Universal Design", and "Inclusive design".17


9: In the consideration of this article, the Ad Hoc Committee may wish to take into account the different proposals that were presented to the Committee and the Working Group regarding the specific definitions of the concepts herein contained.

10: The need for a definition of "accessibility" and the content of any definition will depend on the outcome of the discussion in the Ad Hoc Committee on draft Article 19 on accessibility.

11: The Ad Hoc Committee may wish to consider the need for a definition of "communication" (separate from draft Article 13 on Freedom of Expression and Opinion) and, if so, the content of that definition.

12: Many members of the Working Group emphasised that a convention should protect the rights of all persons with disabilities (i.e. all different types of disabilities) and suggested that the term "disability" should be defined broadly. Some members were of the view that no definition of 'disability' should be included in the convention, given the complexity of disability and the risk of limiting the ambit of the convention. Other delegations pointed to existing definitions used in the international context including the World Health Organisation's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). There was general agreement that if a definition was included, it should be one that reflects the social model of disability, rather than the medical model.

13: Some members of the Working Group considered that it was more important to include this definition than the definition of "disability". Other members were of the view that a definition of this term was not necessary.

14: This definition is addressed in draft Article 7 on Equality and Non-Discrimination. The Ad Hoc Committee may wish to consider the best placement for this definition.

15: Some delegations were of the view that the separate draft articles of the Convention specify that language included sign language, and questioned the need for this definition in the present article. Others expressed the view that the definition was needed.

16: The definition of this concept was not discussed beyond the definition that is included in draft Article 7, although the Working Group considered necessary to include it.

17: These definitions were not discussed but the Working Group considered that they would be useful.

Relevant references:

International human rights conventions and legal instruments

Disability-specific instruments

Jurisprudence of human rights treaty bodies

Other documents

Summary of discussions at the Working Group

Comments on the draft text

Back to list of Draft Articles

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