Comments on the draft text
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The Commission is supportive of all the fundamental principles set out in this Article. In addition, the Commission would suggest adding what it believes to be another fundamental principle: the “duty to accommodate” persons with disabilities. Also see the Commission’s comments under draft Article 7 below.
Whichever word is finally used (individual autonomy or self-determination) it has to be made clear that its meaning includes the right to make one’s own choices and decisions, which is a key principle.
EDF proposes to add the principle of effective and substantial equality as a guiding principle, which is stronger than equality of opportunity.
The Articles arranged under the Title of general principles are comprehensive but the participants felt that principle of social justice and equity to ensure de facto equality should be reflected. To this effect suitable text may be evolved.
The identification of specific principles to aid in the interpretation and implementation of a treaty is a well-recognized practice in international law. In the context of international human rights law for example, the Committee on the Rights of the Child identified four main principles (non-discrimination, best interests of the child, survival and development, and participation) through its analysis of the text of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. (Cf. Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 5, CRC/GC/2003/5), drawing on Articles 2, 3, 6 and 12 respectively) The approach of the Working Group here is to expressly articulate the principles towards the beginning of the draft treaty text, after the section on objectives/purpose. This is an approach commonly utilized in international environmental treaties which leaves no ambiguity as to the principles to be applied. (Cf. Convention to Combat Desertification, Article 3; Framework Convention on Climate Change, Article 3)
The principles selected for inclusion in the draft text by the Working Group, are found in numerous existing human rights instruments, including the six core international human rights conventions, the UN Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, and the ILO Convention concerning Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (of Disabled Persons). It was also suggested that international cooperation be included as a general principle for the Convention. (Cf. Summary of the discussions held regarding the issue of international cooperation to be considered by the Ad Hoc Committee, ANNEX II A/AC.265/WG_)
The Ad Hoc Committee may wish to consider referring to “inherent dignity” in paragraph (a) instead of “dignity” (Cf. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, preambles), and in paragraph (c) the use of the term “participation,” which is broader than “participants.” (Cf. Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 23(1); and UN Standard Rules para. 14) The Committee may also wish to consider whether reference to “citizens” in (c) may be too limiting, as it could have the effect of excluding coverage of people with disabilities who are resident non-citizens.
In contemplating Article 2, the Ad Hoc Committee may find it helpful to revisit the contribution of the Danish Human Rights Institute to the Second Session of the Ad Hoc Committee, which provides a “Discussion Paper on Founding Principles of a Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities.” (A/AC.265/2003/CRP/9, available at: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/a_ac265_2003_crp9.htm).
PDCA supports principle d) in its reference to difference and diversity however we do believe that it may be useful to specifically state what this difference is i.e. gender, culture, age etc.
The Article is important since it underlines some very fundamental universal principles.