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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality

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Response submitted by the ECLAC to the Second Session

Dear Mr. Schölvinck:

Let me refer to your kind communication dated 7 February 2003, addressed to Mr. Jose Antonio Ocampo, ECLAC's Executive Secretary, which has been forwarded to me for answer.

I must first inform you that the ECLAC's Human Rights Unit, incorporated to its Social Development Division, has been established one year ago , as an effort to deepen the human rights approach to development, with an emphasis on the elaboration of poverty reduction strategies and the focus on vulnerable groups.

Therefore, we thank you very much, for the possibility of getting further acquainted with the work for the preparation of a future convention on protection and promotion of the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities.

Although we are not presently working on this area, it is undoubtedly a key instrument for the building-up of equitable and inclusive societies, and we shall be glad to cooperate with these initiatives if you consider we can make a more specific contribution in the future.

Considering the requested inputs to the outline attached to your letter, and insisting on the recent nature of our approach to this subject, I would greatly recommend that, under the proposals for a possible convention, consideration is given to the following aspects:

  1. The need to look at the context of the integrated follow-up of UN summits and conferences and, in this connection, the importance that the future convention reflects the various economic, social and cultural issues tackled by other conventions and also influencing the full enjoyment of rights by disabled people;
  2. The fact that many disabled people (a vulnerable group as such) also belong to other vulnerable groups such as women, children and young people, indigenous populations, afro-descendants, migrants, civilians in armed conflicts or humanitarian emergencies, refugees, displaced, and the extent to which non-discrimination and inclusion policies for the latter should consider the special cases of disabled people.
  3. Finally, and linked to the above, it seems indispensable to focus on the reality of disability caused by war and conflicts and on the frameworks of specific instruments such as land mines, small weapons and similar agreements, and also to the re-insertion of the victims into their societies.

These ideas are very rough and preliminary and I shall be glad to further discuss and complete them through mutual feed-back.

I would also be glad to exchange ideas about possible regional activities on the issue.

Very sincerely yours,

Carmen Artigas
Chief, Human Rights Unit
ECLAC's Social Development Division

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Department of Economic and Social Affairs
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