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Let the World Know
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"Let the World Know"

Report of a Seminar on Human Rights and Disability
Almåsa Conference Centre (Stockholm, November 5-9, 2000)

Published by the Office of the Special Rapporteur on Disability
of the United Nations Commission for Social Development © 2001


Preface and Acknowledgements *

I Introduction *

II Background to the Seminar *

III Timing of the Seminar: An Opportune Moment *

IV Purpose of the International Seminar: From Rhetoric to Reality *

V Organization of the Seminar *

VI General Directions for Mainstreaming the Human Right of Persons with Disabilities *

VII Developing an Overall Structure for Reporting Violations of the Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities *

VIII Understanding What Amounts to an Infringement of Human Rights *

IX Building a System for Dealing with Infringements of Human Rights *

X Making it work: Developing Instruments for Documenting Infringements of Human Rights: The Five Working Groups Report *

  1. Documenting Individual Cases *
  2. Documenting Legal Cases/Jurisprudence *
  3. Documenting the Media *
  4. Documenting legislation *
  5. Documenting Programmes, Services and Practices *

XI. Additional General Recommendations to Strengthen the Use of International Instruments on Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities

XII Concluding Remarks: From little acorns great oaks grow *

ANNEX A: List of Participants (including observers, and support staff)

Selected Pre-Paper: Disability rights and human rights: plunging into the 'mainstream'? By Andrew Byrnes

Preface and Acknowledgements

This report presents the outcome of an international seminar on human rights and disability, which was held from 5 to9 November 2000 at Almåsa Conference Centre, Stockholm, Sweden.

The purpose of the seminar was to draft guidelines for more effective identification and reporting of violations and abuse of the human rights of persons with disabilities.

The seminar was funded by the International Disability Foundation (Geneva, Switzerland) with additional funding generously provided by the Olof Palme International Centre and the Swedish Committee for Rehabilitation.

The Office of the Special Rapporteur on Disability of the United Nations Commission for Social Development organised the seminar. The Special Rapporteur chaired the meeting.

Six major international disability organisations were represented. In addition, 20 experts in disability and/or human rights were individually selected. Dr. Marcia Rioux (Canada), accepted to serve as the rapporteur of the meeting and has compiled this report.

The main outcome of the seminar is a number of guidelines to establish a structure and to develop competencies for collecting data and for reporting human rights violations and abuse against persons with disabilities to the United Nations human rights system. These guidelines concern national governments, the United Nations system in the human rights area, and both national and international disability organisations. I am convinced that the implementation of these proposals will mean creation of an effective system for exposure of existing infringements of the human rights and persons with disabilities.

A short version of the report has been distributed to the media and is available from the Office of the Special Rapporteur on Disability.

I want to thank the funders, the seminar rapporteur, the participants and all others involved for their active contributions to the strengthening of human rights protection in the disability field, which will be possible through the seminar.

I sincerely hope that all concerned will consider these recommendations for implementation.

Stockholm, January 2001
Bengt Lindqvist
Special Rapporteur on Disability
of the United Nations Commission for Social Development

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