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Summary record of the 14th meeting, held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, on Tuesday, 10 May 1994 : Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 10th session.

UN Document Symbol E/C.12/1994/SR.14
Convention Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Document Type Summary Record
Session 10th
Type Document

11 p.

Subjects Economic Social and Cultural Rights, Women's Rights, Right to Education, Educational Policy, Religious Freedom, Minorities, Ageing Persons, Persons with Disabilities

Extracted Text

16 May 1994
Original: ENGLISH
Tenth session
Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,
on Tuesday, 10 May 1994, at 3 p.m.
Chairperson: Mr. ALSTON
Consideration of reports (continued)
(a) Reports submitted by States parties in accordance with articles 16 and 17
of the Covenant
Iraq (continued)
Organization of work (continued)
This record is subject to correction.
Corrections should be submitted in one of the working languages. They
should be set forth in a memorandum and also incorporated in a copy of the
record. They should be sent within one week of the date of this document to
the Official Records Editing Section, room E.4108, Palais des Nations, Geneva.
Any corrections to the records of the meetings of the Committee at this
session will be consolidated in a single corrigendum, to be issued shortly
after the end of the session.
GE.94-16574 (E)
page 2
The meeting was called to order at 3.10 p.m.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS (agenda item 4) (continued)
Second periodic report of Iraq (continued) (E/1990/7/Add.15; E/C.12/1994/WP.3)
1. Mr. HAMASH (Iraq) said that he would try to reply as fully as possible to
the questions put by members of the Committee. Any supplementary information
required would be submitted in writing as soon as possible.
2. Replying to the question on restrictions applied to women travelling
abroad, he said that certain limits had been imposed after the economic
embargo began in August 1990 because of the difficult economic situation in
Iraq and in order to prevent unnecessary expenditure on travel abroad. Women
took part in many conferences and symposia outside Iraq and could continue
higher education in foreign establishments. They were entitled to travel
abroad, if accompanied.
3. With regard to the question on private schools, he said that the
Revolutionary Command Council had abolished private schools. Subsequently,
following educational reforms, they had been legalized. Iraq had private
vocational centres and institutes to train people in subjects such as typing,
shorthand and computer sciences.
4. As to why the literacy campaign had targeted 25 per cent of women
and 15 per cent of men between the ages of 15 and 45, he said that Iraq had
planned to educate approximately 2 million people. The age group selected was
that in which illiteracy was most prevalent. Young children had not been
targeted in the campaign because they were already receiving compulsory
education. All those who had presented themselves at centres for the
eradication of illiteracy had been enrolled.
5. Turning to the question on whether foreign diplomas were accepted as
academic qualifications in Iraq, he said that in general they were, once a
committee had examined them to ensure that their academic level was
6. A question had been raised as to the difference between higher education
and higher studies. Higher studies tended to be postgraduate programmes.
7. In general, problems in education in Iraq arose as a result of the
economic embargo. Schools were closing due to a lack of equipment, including
desks and books. Education in Iraq was gradually becoming a luxury. Many
families were no longer able to find funds for clothing and for their
children’s transport to school. Iraq was a party to the Covenant and was
willing to implement it. However, circumstances beyond Iraq’s control were
preventing it from doing so. Following the end of the war in Iran in 1988 and
before the Gulf crisis, Iraq had tried very hard to improve living conditions
and resolve social problems. However, its attempts had been shortlived as the
page 3
war had interrupted its efforts. The economic embargo on Iraq was a violation
of human rights and was the cause of incurable, cultural, moral and social
diseases and constituted a blatant disregard for humanity.
8. The answer to the question of whether students returning to Iraq from
education abroad were punished, was categorically in the negative. Students
were free to study abroad and return to their homeland whenever they wanted
and were subjected to no form of intimidation or punishment.
9. With regard to the difference in salary between teachers and other civil
servants he said that teachers received increments of 100 dinars for working
in remote areas, 70 dinars by way of vocational allowance, 50 dinars for work
as a headmaster or assistant headmaster and 100 dinars for transport.
10. With regard to academic promotion, the lowest grade was assistant
lecturer, who usually had an MA, MSc or equivalent. After three years of
service and the publication of two pieces of research, he would be promoted to
instructor. After four years and three pieces of research he would become an
assistant professor. After five years, and providing his research was
original, he would reach the rank of professor. The same rules on promotion
applied both to Iraqi and non-Iraqi teaching staff.
11. In response to the question on whether the Turkoman population enjoyed
their own places of worship and schools, he said that they were fully entitled
to their own mosques. The Turkoman population had its own newspaper and
broadcasting station in Iraq. The station was run by the Government and like
other government organs was bound by the policy of the State.
12. With regard to the question on whether Syriac teachers and students had
been excluded from schools, he said that no such thing had happened in Iraq.
Furthermore, in response to the question on whether Shiite schools had been
destroyed he said that was completely out of the question.
13. With regard to the question on whether Shiite teachers and students had
been imprisoned in 1991, he drew attention to document A/46/46.
14. As to the question on whether Shiite books were prohibited, he said that
the books of all sects were freely available. The State only prohibited books
that promoted sectarianism or enmity between religions.
15. In reply to the question on whether Central Government paid the salaries
of teachers in Autonomous Regions, he said that he would reply in writing.
However, as far as he knew, there was no official contact with the Autonomous
Region and it was difficult to send teachers’ salaries there. Food and
assistance were provided to the Autonomous Region and transported by
non-governmental organizations. Restrictions on teachers’ travel abroad had
been imposed, as a result of the embargo.
16. In response to the statement made by a member of the Committee that the
people of Iraq were living in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation and that
human rights were not improving, he said that information from the State
Department was not reliable as there was inevitably an element of bias and a
political slant. If members of the Committee wished to visit Iraq to see for
page 4
themselves the situation, the Government although unable to pay for the ticket
due to a lack of hard currency, would be willing to pay their expenses.
17. Mr. TEXIER, speaking on a point of order, said that when referring to the
situation in Iraq he had chosen his words carefully and based his statement on
information from a variety of reliable sources including the Commission on
Human Rights and non-governmental organizations, in an effort to remain
18. Mr. HAMASH (Iraq) said that he did not wish to question the objectivity
or validity of sources but was merely expressing an opinion.
19. With regard to the question on whether there was a Kurdish broadcasting
station and whether it operated freely, he said that it was a government
station and therefore subject to State laws. The Kurdish language was taught
in the Autonomous Region.
20. With regard to the teaching of Islam, only Muslim students received such
instruction. Non-Muslims were free to withdraw from classes at any time and
receive education on their own religion. In response to the question on
whether Christians had to work on Sundays, he said that the situation was no
different from that of Muslims in Christian countries. However, Christians
could take time off at Christmas, Easter and other recognized religious
21. Turning to the question on whether any Syriacs held important positions
in government or public service, he said that public officials were appointed
on the basis of merit, not according to their sect.
22. As to the question on whether the autonomy law was applied in Kirkuk, he
said that it was not applied, as Kirkuk was a governorate.
23. With regard to the request for clarification of the meaning of the
socialist sector mentioned in paragraph 7 of the report of Iraq
(E/1990/7/Add.15) he said that it covered the public sector and public
24. As to whether certain villages had been destroyed and their populations
displaced, he said that during the war with Iran, many people had fled their
homes. Iraq was trying to help those people to resettle in their towns and
25. With regard to the question relating to the situation of the so-called
Marsh Arabs, he said that they were no different from any other Arab. The
Third River Project aimed to improve the soil. Iraq had made its position on
the Marsh Arabs very clear in its reports to human rights bodies as could be
seen from documents A/48/875 and A/C.3/47/2. The Marsh Arabs were not subject
to any form of discrimination.
26. With regard to the question on whether Iraqis of Iranian origin had to
bear a special mark distinguishing them, he said that the idea was
page 5
27. Mr. SIMMA requested clarification with regard to paragraph 29 of the
report (E/1990/7/Add.15) which set out teachers’ salaries in thousands of
dinars as opposed to paragraph 31 of the report which spoke only of hundreds
of dinars. Furthermore, it seemed incredible that teachers should earn
approximately 12 times more than other civil servants.
28. The replies of the delegation of Iraq to the Committee’s questions were
in parts unsatisfactory. Sweeping references to United Nations documents
which were not before the members of the Committee made no contribution to an
ongoing and fruitful dialogue. The delegation should openly state the
official position of the Government of Iraq with regard to the Marsh Arabs.
Furthermore, there were no grounds for disputing or rejecting the use of the
term Marsh Arab which was common currency and legitimate. Disputes over
terminology deflected attention away from the salient issue.
29. Mr. WIMER ZAMBRANO noted that the recently enacted Education Act had not
prohibited the establishment of private schools. It had not been clear,
however, whether any restrictions were placed on them in either legal or
academic terms and, if so, what such restrictions were.
30. Mr. TEXIER, recalling that the Commission on Human Rights had adopted two
resolutions requesting the Secretary-General to adopt measures enabling a
human rights monitoring team to be sent to Iraq and that the Sub-Commission
had subsequently taken up those resolutions, recognizing the gravity of the
human rights situation in Iraq, asked whether the resolutions had been
followed up and whether a mission had been sent.
31. Mr. HAMASH (Iraq), responding to Mr. Simma’s remarks concerning teachers’
salaries, acknowledged that the figures given in paragraph 29 of the report
might be misleading; there was a hypothetical flavour to them, in that the
amounts quoted for any one year represented the Government’s overall
expenditure on the arbitrary number of 1,000 teachers in relation to the
corresponding proportion of civil servants. It should be said, however, that
teachers received special allowances which civil servants did not. Teachers
had recently been paid allowances of 100 dinars for transportation and of
200 dinars for those in remote areas. The position of university teachers was
quite different: they received half as much again as a civil servant. With
regard to the question on private schools, he said that the recent
Education Act had stipulated that private schools could be operated, but at
the same time the provision that education was free had not been deleted. In
other words, no private school could be run on a profit-making basis, although
that clearly ran counter to the wishes of those operating such schools.
32. Mr. HUSSAIN (Iraq) referring to the alleged disappearance of a certain
number of students, said that letters received from the Working Group on
Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances after the Gulf War had been transmitted
to Baghdad; the Government’s responses with regard to some of those cases
appeared in the Working Group’s report. Some of the students involved had
turned out to be still living in their home towns; on others the Government
had no information. It was quite possible that they had disappeared during
the war.
page 6
33. On the question of the so-called Marsh Arabs, he said that he had cited
the relevant document numbers because Iraq’s position had been laid out
carefully before the Security Council and elsewhere, and a brief exposition
might give the wrong impression. However, although he believed that the
matter did not come under articles 13, 14 and 15 of the Covenant and was
therefore of no concern to the Committee, he was prepared to state that
despite studies carried out in the 1950s by experts from the United States
of America, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Russia showing the feasibility of
such a scheme, there had been no government policy to drain the marshes; but
the economic embargo, in preventing the previously substantial flow of
imports, had resulted in a pressing need to increase food production, for
which more land was required in the southern region of Iraq, near the marshes.
Water had therefore been diverted from the marshes to irrigate the newly
reclaimed land. As for the question of a human rights monitoring team being
sent to Iraq, his country had already stated its position before the
Commission on Human Rights and the Committee was not the appropriate forum in
which to repeat it. Briefly, the sending of such a team would be an
unprecedented interference with Iraq’s internal affairs and a violation of its
34. The CHAIRPERSON said that it was perfectly appropriate for the delegation
of Iraq to refer the Committee to other United Nations documents, such as the
report of the Special Rapporteur on Iraq (E/CN.4/1994/58) and Iraq’s response
to that report, relating to the Marsh Arabs and the drainage issue. It was up
to the Committee to take into account the views of both sides, that of Iraq
and that of the Special Rapporteur, who had criticized Iraq for not selling
oil, as it had long had the option to do under the terms specified by the
Security Council, rather than draining land. The Iraqi delegation was
justified in directing the Committee to the specific issues arising out of
articles 13, 14 and 15 and their relationship to the broader context. The
Committee would keep that balance in mind and would continue to do so in its
35. Mr. SIMMA begged to disagree. Although it was not impossible for the
Committee to acquaint itself with the documents cited, it would make for a
more constructive dialogue if the representatives of Iraq would express
themselves in words rather than in document numbers. He added that as a
lawyer he refuted the suggestion that any of the issues under discussion were
not the business of the Committee. In so far as human rights monitoring or
the plight of the Marsh Arabs impinged on economic and social rights, such
matters lay fully within the Committee’s competence.
36. The CHAIRPERSON said that the issue of competence was simply resolved:
it was up to the Committee to show that the issues in question were relevant
to the Covenant.
37. Mr. TEXIER said that the representative of Iraq had been wrong to claim
that a United Nations human rights monitoring mission would be unprecedented.
Such a mission had been sent to Cambodia for several months, although
admittedly the situation there was different because it was a matter of a
State in the process of renewal; a similar mission had, however, been in place
since July 1991 in El Salvador, a sovereign State which had positively
requested such a mission.
page 7
38. Mr. GRISSA said that it was generally inevitable that solving a problem
for the benefit of one group of people harmed the interests of another: even
social security could not be provided for some without taxing others. In that
context, the question of draining marshlands was far from being a matter only
for Iraq; it was related to the whole question of the flow of water in the
Euphrates, for example, and its division between Syria, Turkey and other
countries. He pointed out that the United States and Mexico had similarly
quarrelled over the division of the waters of the Colorado River.
39. The CHAIRPERSON said that the point at issue between the Government of
Iraq and the Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur on Iraq was whether
draining the Euphrates could be justified on practical grounds or whether it
had a political motive. It was a matter that the Committee could examine only
with a full understanding of the relevant documents.
40. Mr. SIMMA said that it was clear from the Special Rapporteur’s report
(E/CN.4/1994/58) that the land drainage was a human rights issue. Reverting
to a previous question, he asked the representative of Iraq to comment on the
claim that a Shiite college of jurisprudence in Najaf had been practically
taken over by Baghdad.
41. Mr. HAMASH (Iraq) said that as far as he knew there was a college of
jurisprudence in Najaf; a university had, however, recently been opened in
Kufah, a suburb of Najaf, and had become responsible for all institutions of
higher education in Najaf, presumably including the college of jurisprudence.
42. Mr. HUSSAIN (Iraq) said that although his delegation might think that the
issue of the so-called Marsh Arabs was outside the Committee’s competence, it
had not expressed its view so bluntly and the Chairperson himself had asked
the delegation to keep within the framework of articles 13, 14 and 15.
43. Turning to the issue of the human rights monitoring team, he said that
the situation of El Salvador was quite different from that of Iraq.
El Salvador had been in a state of civil war - which Iraq was not - and it had
requested the mission itself. In the case of Iraq it constituted an
interference in its internal affairs.
44. The CHAIRPERSON assured the representative of Iraq that he would not be
out of order in discussing the issues that had been raised.
45. Mr. ALVAREZ VITA asked when he would receive replies to the specific
question he had posed the previous day concerning the bishop whom he had
46. Mr. HAMASH (Iraq) said that he had no information on the matter and
assured Mr. Alvarez Vita that he would reply in writing.
47. The CHAIRPERSON thanked the delegation of Iraq for appearing before the
Committee, introducing its report and answering questions put by members. The
next stage would be for the Committee to prepare its concluding observations
page 8
in closed meeting. Those observations would be issued on the final day of the
48. Mr. Hamash, Mr. Hussain and Mr. Salman (Iraq) withdrew.
ORGANIZATION OF WORK (agenda item 2) (continued)
Draft General Comment on the economic, social and cultural rights of the
elderly (E/C.12/1993/WP.21)
49. Mr. TEXIER said that the Working Group composed of
Mrs. Jiménez Butragueño, Mr. Alvarez Vita and himself had considered the draft
General Comment and decided that some redrafting was needed.
50. Mrs. JIMENEZ BUTRAGUEÑO said that to take account of criticism that the
draft General Comment needed to be less academic and more forceful, she would
prepare an amended text for consideration the following week, in consultation
with other members of the Committee including the Chairperson.
Draft General Comment on persons with disabilities (E/C.12/1993/WP.26)
51. Mr. TEXIER said that the Working Group had agreed that the draft General
Comment needed only minor drafting changes and could now be considered by the
52. The CHAIRPERSON said that the draft General Comment on persons with
disabilities, for which he was responsible, was a long document. That was
because the General Assembly in 1993 had adopted a very lengthy set of
Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with
Disabilities, which had had to be taken into account; and also because the
draft General Comment covered the entire range of economic, social and
cultural rights as applied to persons with disabilities. It would have been
impossible to say anything relevant in a few brief paragraphs.
53. The inspiration for the draft was a former intern, Ms. Teresia Degener.
Although armless, there was nothing Ms. Degener was unable to do including
typing the draft outline for a General Comment. She had raised the issue of
economic and social rights for persons with disabilities and asked why the
Committee did not address it. Following a report by Mr. Leandro Despouy
(E/CN.4/Sub.2/1991/31), the Commission on Human Rights had asked the Committee
to take a leading role in relation to the question of persons with
disabilities. The adoption of the draft General Comment would be a direct
response to that request.
54. He called for comments of a general nature, after which the text would be
considered paragraph by paragraph.
55. Mr. WIMER ZAMBRANO observed that "persons with disabilities" would be
better translated in Spanish as "minusválidos" rather than "personas con
56. Mrs. JIMENEZ BUTRAGUEÑO, while agreeing with that point, considered that
a more positive formulation would be "personas que padecen alguna minusvalía".
page 9
57. The CHAIRPERSON said in drafting the text of the draft General Comment he
had used the text of the draft Standard Rules, which he understood had not
been amended.
58. The issue raised by Mr. Wimer Zambrano and Mrs. Jiménez Butragueño was an
important one. However the Standard Rules adopted by the General Assembly -
the latest and most authoritative United Nations document on the matter - used
the term "persons with disabilities" ("personas con discapacidad") which he
had therefore adopted, even though there were differences of opinion about the
terminology within the disabled community.
59. Mr. CEAUSU pointed out that the thrust of the draft General Comment was
to make it possible for persons with disabilities to lead a normal life.
However, there were some persons who had no hope of recovery and were entirely
dependent on others in order to eat, drink and carry out their natural
functions. He therefore suggested the addition of one or two paragraphs to
take account of the special needs of such persons, their families and carers.
60. The CHAIRPERSON said that although his intention was to have the General
Comment adopted at the present session, if at all possible, he was open to any
proposals for improvements.
61. Mrs. JIMENEZ BUTRAGUEÑO endorsed the point raised by Mr. Ceausu, but
suggested that amendments should be submitted in writing.
62. Mr. SIMMA agreed with the point raised by Mr. Ceausu, and suggested that
he might draft a supplementary paragraph for consideration by the Committee
the following week.
63. After a short discussion, the CHAIRPERSON suggested that the Committee
should try to approve the text at its present meeting. It would consider the
text paragraph by paragraph, and Mrs. Jiménez Butragueño would indicate the
amendments proposed by the Working Group. Any substantial amendments or
additions would be considered before the final adoption of the text the
following week.
64. It was so decided.
Paragraphs 1 and 2
65. Paragraphs 1 and 2 were approved.
Paragraph 3
66. At the request of Mr. WIMER ZAMBRANO, the CHAIRPERSON said that the
Spanish translation of the term "disability" would be brought into line with
the term used in the Standard Rules.
67. Paragraph 3, as amended was approved.
Paragraphs 5-7
68. Paragraphs 5-7 were approved.
page 10
69. In response to a point made by Mr. SIMMA, the CHAIRPERSON said that the
term "disabled persons" in the first line should be changed to read "persons
with disabilities".
70. Paragraph 8, as amended, was approved.
Paragraph 9
71. Mr. MARCHAN ROMERO said that the expression "temporary preferential
treatment" should be amended to take account of the fact that disabilities
could be permanent.
72. The CHAIRPERSON suggested replacing the phrase "to give temporary
preferential treatment" by the phrase "as appropriate to give preferential
73. It was so decided.
74. Mr. RATTRAY said that he would prefer the term "special treatment" to
"preferential treatment".
75. The CHAIRPERSON said that he could not agree with that suggestion because
various disability groups objected to the word "special" as implying
second-class treatment rather than favourable treatment. Also, most human
rights treaties specifically permitted preferential treatment where necessary
for equal enjoyment of rights.
76. Mrs. JIMENEZ BUTRAGUEÑO, also objecting to the word "special", suggested
the term "positive action", which was the accepted expression when referring
to the status of women and other disadvantaged groups.
77. Mrs. BONOAN-DANDAN said that the term "positive action" seemed to her
vague, and urged keeping the stronger word "preferential".
78. The CHAIRPERSON said that he took it the term "preferential treatment"
would be retained.
79. It was so decided.
80. Mr. GRISSA said that he saw a logical contradiction between acknowledging
the need for preferential treatment and going on to state the objectives as
"full participation and equality within the society for all persons with
disabilities". The problem was that, precisely because they had disabilities,
they were simply not able to participate fully in society - a goal,
incidentally, that was Utopian even for those without particular handicaps.
The point was to give persons with disabilities all possible help by providing
the appropriate environment, in terms of legislation, job opportunities and
the like, that would allow them to participate, to the full extent of their
capacity, in society.
81. The CHAIRPERSON said that he did not see the contradiction. Obviously,
disabilities imposed constraints; but, unless persons with disabilities were
subjected to overt discrimination or the various unconscious barriers often
page 11
erected to their functioning in society, they would be able to participate
fully, though differently. The point was basic, and underscored the need for
a general comment. Given the current state of society, there were ways in
which much fuller participation could be arranged. Perhaps the words "full
participation" could be replaced by "the fullest possible participation".
82. Mr. MARCHAN ROMERO, supported by Mr. TEXIER, observed that the World
Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons specifically used the term
"full participation" in that same context. Its wording had been cited in
paragraph 7 of the draft general comment, and the text should be consistent
83. Mr. GRISSA said that he would not insist upon what he would regard as
more reasonable wording.
84. THE CHAIRPERSON said that he had hesitated to change the wording for just
that reason. The draft general comment should adhere to the standards set in
the other United Nations documents on the question, which had been adopted
unanimously after lengthy multilateral negotiations. Its wording should
therefore be compatible with the World Programme of Action and especially with
the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunties for Persons with
Disabilities, also referred to in paragraph 7. The Committee was drafting an
aspirational document that gave expression to the ideal. It need not qualify
all difficulties, but should rather establish the goals and hold to that
85. He took it that the term "full participation" would therefore be
86. It was so decided.
87. Paragraph 9, as amended, was approved.
Paragraph 10
88. Mr. GRISSA said that the causes of disabilities should be addressed
somewhere in paragraph 10, which dealt only with the negative impact of
economic constraints. Disabilities were preponderantly man-made, as a result
of maiming in warfare. Prevention was more important than cure.
89. The CHAIRPERSON agreed to draft appropriate wording regarding the effects
of war.
Paragraph 11
90. Mr. MARCHAN ROMERO observed that the second sentence of paragraph 11
spoke only of ensuring the equitable treatment of persons with disabilities,
without referring to the second goal of full participation, as set out in the
World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons and as cited in
paragraph 7 of the draft. He suggested that paragraph 11 should be also
brought into line with paragraph 7.
91. It was so decided.
page 12
92. Mr. WIMER ZAMBRANO said that it would be more accurate to say in the
first sentence that Governments had decided to follow free market policies
rather than that they were increasingly relying on them.
93. The CHAIRPERSON proposed replacing the word "reliance" by the word
"commitment" and the phrase "upon free market forces" by the phrase "to free
market policies".
94. It was so decided.
95. Mrs. IDER said, with regard to the third sentence advocating the
imposition of norms on the private sector, that in many developing countries
policies could not be imposed by legislation as in the developed countries,
but only through incentives.
96. The CHAIRPERSON said that the previous speaker would have an important
point if the sentence sought to impose special affirmative action obligations
upon the private sector, rather than simply holding it to certain general
norms of equality and non-discrimination. It was just as applicable in
developing as in developed countries that Governments had to ensure the
observance of such norms by the private sector as well, otherwise the advocacy
of preferential treatment became a hollow gesture. It was in fact more
applicable in third world countries, which could realistically be held only to
avoiding overt discrimination. To ask them to offer financial incentives to
the private sector was even more optimistic than it would be in the West.
97. Mr. GRISSA said that he did not see why the private sector was singled
out, when public enterprises could be just as guilty.
98. The CHAIRPERSON agreed, but pointed out that the second sentence of
paragraph 11 had referred to regulation of both the public and private
spheres, and that the rest of the draft general comment was directed at the
public sector as well.
99. He took it that, except for the change in the first sentence, the
Committee wished to retain the text as it stood.
100. It was so decided.
101. Paragraph 11, as amended, was approved.
Paragraph 12
102. Mr. CEAUSU said that he thought too much of a burden was placed on the
free market in paragraph 12 and others. Perhaps in the third sentence it
could be said that "sweeping economic reforms" rather than "the operation of
the free market" could produce unsatisfactory results for persons with
103. Mr. GRISSA said that any economic system would have unsatisfactory
results, even a planned economy. Those who could not take care of
themselves - women, the elderly, those with disabilities - needed government
page 13
protection in any case; and, indeed, no free market system had ever operated
without government intervention to regulate it.
104. The CHAIRPERSON observed that it was a fact that the free market was
currently the dominant ideology, and he believed it to be the most effective
and successful economic system ever devised. There was, however, a tendency
for Governments to take the easy way out, to maintain that, having abandoned
socialism, the free market would take care of everything. Paragraph 12 was
saying that the free market did not necessarily ensure protection for the
disabled, and that Governments must take special measures to see to that.
105. Mr. GRISSA said that the free market needed no defence; nor should it be
singled out by a value judgement. He would delete the third sentence.
106. The CHAIRPERSON suggested replacing the clause "the free market will
produce unsatisfactory results" by the clause "the free market will not
succeed in producing in satisfactory results".
107. Mr. KOUZNETSOV observed in response to Mr. Grissa, that major changes
always had a negative impact and the Covenant always advocating minimizing any
such negative impact, regardless of the economic system.
108. He agreed with the Chairman’s assessment of the market economy and the
attitude of former planned-economy Governments. However, it seemed out of
place to link the Covenant and market mechanisms as was done in the first
sentence, since the Covenant made no value judgement on the free market. The
word "entirely" made it sound as if the Covenant was a hymn to the free
109. Mr. RATTRAY observed that paragraph 12, like paragraph 11 before it,
referred to the fact that the obligations of States were not relieved if
services were not delivered in either the public sector or the private sector.
Both paragraphs as drafted were acceptable to him.
110. Mr. SIMMA said that he found Mr. Rattray’s clarification of the structure
of paragraphs 11 and 12 enlightening. The text recommended that all systems
should produce satisfactory results, but paragraph 12 was specifically
considering the free market.
111. Mr. Kousnetsov’s point was well taken, and he proposed replacing the
phrase "is entirely consistent" with the phrase "is as such consistent".
112. It was so decided.
113. Mr. GRISSA said that he still could not accept paragraph 12 as it stood,
because he saw no connection between the market economy and the solution to
the problems of persons with disabilities.
114. The CHAIRPERSON thought that it was simply a problem of semantics and
asked Mr. Simma and Mr. Grissa to consult and revise the wording of the
paragraph appropriately.
The meeting rose at 6 p.m.