UVA Law Logo Mobile

UN Human Rights Treaties

Travaux Préparatoires


Monitoring the implementation of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities : note / by the Secretary-General.

UN Document Symbol A/50/374
Convention Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Document Type Note by the Secretary-General
Session 50th
Type Document

26 p.

Subjects Persons with Disabilities, Equal Opportunity

Extracted Text

General Assembly
24 August 1995
Fiftieth session
Item 107 of the provisional agenda*
Monitoring the implementation of the Standard
Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for
Persons with Disabilities
Note by the Secretary-General
1. At its forty-eighth session, the General Assembly adopted the Standard
Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities,
contained in the annex to its resolution 48/96 of 20 December 1993. In
paragraph 4 of that resolution, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to
promote the implementation of the Standard Rules and to report thereon to the
General Assembly at its fiftieth session.
2. Since the adoption of the Rules, the following activities have been
undertaken to promote their dissemination and understanding worldwide:
(a) Distribution of the Rules to Governments, specialized agencies and
other organizations and bodies of the United Nations system in the six official
languages of the United Nations;
(b) Encouragement of translation of the Rules into other languages. The
Rules are also currently available in Czech, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, German,
Hindi, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Slovak, Swedish and Tamil;
(c) Translation of the Rules into Braille in English, French, Italian and
Spanish by the World Blind Union;
(d) Making the Rules available through the INTERNET.
* A/50/150.
95-26067 (E) 220995 /...
Page 2
3. Attention is drawn in particular to the call for the promotion of the
Rules, and the development of strategies for implementing them, in the Programme
of Action adopted by the World Summit for Social Development, held at Copenhagen
from 6 to 12 March 1995. 1/
4. Pursuant to section IV, paragraph 2, of the Rules, which envisages the
appointment of a Special Rapporteur to monitor their implementation within the
framework of the Commission for Social Development, the Secretary-General
appointed to that position Mr. Bengt Lindqvist (Sweden). The Special
Rapporteur, who is based in Stockholm, receives a substantial amount of support
from the Government of Sweden (including office facilities and secretarial
assistance). The Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development
has assisted the Special Rapporteur in carrying out the following activities:
(a) An address to the Third Committee of the General Assembly, in
October 1994;
(b) Convening of the first meeting of the panel of experts to assist the
Special Rapporteur in the implementation of the Standard Rules (New York,
15-16 February 1995);
(c) Attendance at several meetings, conferences and congresses in Africa,
Asia and Europe;
(d) The mobilization of financial resources to support the work of the
Special Rapporteur;
(e) Elaboration of a questionnaire which was sent to Governments, together
with a note verbale introducing the Special Rapporteur and informing them about
the monitoring exercise in connection with the Standard Rules;
(f) Preparation of a report for consideration by the Commission for Social
Development at its thirty-fourth session.
5. Pursuant to section IV, paragraph 11, of the Standard Rules, the Commission
for Social Development established an open-ended working group to examine the
Special Rapporteur’s report and make recommendations on how to improve the
application of the Rules. On the basis of the work of the working group, the
Commission adopted resolution 34/2 entitled "Monitoring the implementation of
the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with
Disabilities". 2/ In that resolution, the Commission took note with
appreciation of the report of the Special Rapporteur and of his recommendations,
and welcomed his general approach to monitoring, including the emphasis to be
placed on advice and support to States in the implementation of the Rules. The
Commission requested the Secretary-General to circulate the report of the
Special Rapporteur as an official document of the General Assembly, at its
fiftieth session, under item 107 of the provisional agenda.
6. The report of the Special Rapporteur, setting out in detail both the
activities undertaken and recommendations for future action, is annexed to the
present note, together with summaries of the submissions received in response to
his questionnaire.
Page 3
1/ Report of the World Summit for Social Development, Copenhagen,
6-12 March 1995 (A/CONF.166/9), chap. I, resolution 1, annex II, para. 75 (k).
2/ Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1995, Supplement
No. 4 (E/1995/24), chap. I, sect. E.
Page 4
Report of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission for
Social Development on monitoring the implementation of
the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities
for Persons with Disabilities
In my capacity as Special Rapporteur for the monitoring of the
implementation of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for
Persons with Disabilities, I have the honour to deliver my first report to this
Commission. I do it with some satisfaction, as the monitoring mechanism is now
running fairly well. At the end of my report, I will present for your
consideration some recommendations concerning the continuation of the monitoring
exercise. These recommendations have to a large extent been worked out in close
cooperation with the panel of experts now functioning as part of the monitoring
mechanism. I am, however, also going to draw your attention to some problems,
which we will have to deal with in order to make the remaining two years of this
first monitoring exercise as effective as possible.
Before I enter into the discussion concerning the implementation of the
Rules, I should like to offer you some comments on the general development of
policy in the disability field.
The International Year of Disabled Persons was a great success in so far as
it meant the international recognition of the human rights perspective in the
disability field. Both the theme of the Year - full participation and
equality - and the even more important World Programme of Action concerning
Disabled Persons were important contributions in this respect.
Full participation and equality for persons with disabilities is a farreaching
and powerful message. It emphasizes a comprehensive disability
approach, which takes into account all aspects of life and society.
Rehabilitation, technical aids and other forms of personal support are necessary
preconditions for good living conditions. But they are not enough. Even
integration, that is, leaving institutions and living in an open society, is not
sufficient. Full participation on equal terms is more than that. It means
creating opportunities for real and meaningful participation and sharing in all
the different spheres of society. This new dimension in disability policy
focuses on the lack of attention to the needs of persons with disabilities and
the shortcomings of society, which up to now have been prevailing conditions in
all parts of the world.
An important contribution of the World Programme of Action in the
clarification of disability policy is that the Programme structures disability
policy in three main areas - prevention, rehabilitation and equalization of
opportunities. Prevention and rehabilitation are already well-known areas. The
third area, equalization of opportunities, is new and brings into focus the many
obstacles to participation in our societies. Another important contribution of
Page 5
the World Programme of Action is the emphasis on the involvement of
organizations of persons with disabilities in matters concerning disability.
The International Year was a great success ideologically and meant
important progress in the development of disability policy. This resulted in
enthusiasm and high expectations in the international community. At the same
time, the breakthrough in ideas created a considerable gap between the new and
internationally adopted policy and the reality in which persons with
disabilities lived. Neither the physical environment nor activities, services
or information systems designed for the general population have been shaped with
these needs in mind.
The expectations generated from the celebration of the Year have not been
fulfilled. In the middle of the decade (1983-1992), international
non-governmental organizations had already started to request stronger
leadership from the United Nations in the implementation of the new disability
policy. The new United Nations instrument in the disability field, the Standard
Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, was
elaborated in response to that request for a stronger leadership.
STANDARD RULES - a new type of instrument
There are important differences between the Rules and the World Programme
of Action:
(1) The Rules carry the development of the human rights perspective
further. This is, to a large extent, due to the development that has taken
place since the International Year in 1981.
(2) The Rules convey a much clearer message in the area of "equalization
of opportunities".
(3) The language of the Rules is generally more concentrated and shorter
in form than that of the World Programme. This makes the message of the Rules
more obvious.
(4) The Rules generally address Governments of Member States directly,
which is not the case in the World Programme.
(5) The implementation of the Rules will be actively monitored through a
monitoring mechanism established especially for that purpose.
The Rules were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in
December 1993. During the spring of 1994, the Rules were translated into the
official languages of the United Nations and distributed to Member States. In
March 1994, the Secretary-General announced his intention to appoint me as
Special Rapporteur, subject to my approval. However, the General Assembly did
not allocate the necessary financial resources for monitoring through the
regular budget of the United Nations. Instead, the Assembly declared that the
work of the Special Rapporteur should be financed by extrabudgetary funds. My
Page 6
reply to the Secretary-General took this into account. I said that I would be
honoured to serve as United Nations Rapporteur in this context, if sufficient
funding for a meaningful monitoring exercise could be secured. After having
received assurance from the Government of Sweden that it would be willing to
provide office facilities for the Rapporteur and after having received
information that there were a number of other Governments that would be willing
to contribute to the funding of the monitoring exercise, I accepted the
One interesting innovation in the monitoring mechanism of the Rules is the
invitation by the United Nations to international organizations of persons with
disabilities to establish among themselves a panel of experts to serve as an
active part of the monitoring system. During the second half of 1994, Disabled
Peoples’ International, the International League of Societies of Persons with
Mental Health, Rehabilitation International, the World Blind Union, the World
Federation of the Deaf and the World Federation of Psychiatric Users decided to
form this panel of experts. Budgetary constraints have limited the number of
members of the panel to 10 persons. The panel consists of five men and five
women, with various disabilities or experiences of disabilities, from all parts
of the world. The panel members are: Monica Bartley (Jamaica), Joshua Malinga
(Zimbabwe), Victor Wahlstrom (Sweden), Gabriela Fabila de Zaldo (Mexico),
John Scott (New Zealand), Penny Hartin (Canada), William Rowland (South Africa),
Liisa Kauppinen (Finland), Mohamed Sazali Shaari (Malaysia) and Mary O’Hagan
(New Zealand).
Budget and funding
During 1994, a cost plan for the activities of the Special Rapporteur was
prepared in cooperation with the Secretariat. Except for the contribution of
the Government of Sweden concerning office facilities, which is being given in
kind, the total cost for travel, the three meetings of the panel, fees for the
Rapporteur and limited amounts for regional activities and professional
assistance would amount to $581,000 for the entire three-year period. Up to the
present time, $350,000 has been received or secured. The following countries
have made voluntary contributions: Austria, Canada, China, Cyprus, Denmark,
Finland, Japan, Monaco, Norway, Republic of Korea, Spain and Sweden. In
addition, the United Nations Secretariat is supporting the monitoring exercise
as part of its regular activities.
Though it is encouraging that so many countries have decided to contribute
to the funding of the monitoring mechanism, there is still a serious shortage of
funds. I would therefore appeal to other Member States, which have not already
done so, to make voluntary contributions to this monitoring exercise, which is
developing in a promising way.
Activities during the first year
First letter to Governments
In November 1994 a note verbale was sent to Member States, introducing the
Special Rapporteur and informing them about the monitoring exercise in
connection with the Standard Rules. A first letter from the Rapporteur to
Page 7
Governments was attached to the note verbale. The letter included four general
questions on the manner in which Governments and other interested entities in
the countries received, promoted and began implementation of the Standard Rules.
Member States were asked to reply before 15 February 1995. A reminder to
Governments was sent out by the Secretariat shortly before the final date for
replies. In addition, the 10 members of the panel of experts were asked by the
Rapporteur to distribute the above-mentioned letter to their national
By 10 April, a total of 29 replies had been received. (Subsequently, by
the end of July 1995, 13 additional replies were received.) Such a low response
rate seems to correspond well with the earlier experience of the Secretariat
concerning questionnaires to Member States on disability matters. With regard
to those experiences, I invite the Commission to discuss the use of
questionnaires to Governments as a tool in the current monitoring project.
Result of the questionnaire
As mentioned earlier, the letter from the Rapporteur to Governments
included the following four questions:
1. What has been done to make the Rules better known to concerned bodies
and organizations in your country?
2. How have the Rules been used to date, for instance, in connection with
your legislation or other measures?
3. How do you plan to use the Rules?
4. In this first phase of monitoring, would your Government wish to
receive more information or assistance to introduce the Rules?
A summary of country replies can be found in the appendix.
Rapporteur’s activities, June 1994-June 1995
At the Disability Conference in Iceland in June 1994, the United Nations
Secretariat announced that I would serve as Special Rapporteur-designate until
the formalities in connection with the organization of the monitoring mechanism
had been finalized. I participated in two meetings at the United Nations, in
August and November 1994, to plan and organize the monitoring activities
together with representatives of the Secretariat. The formal agreement between
the Secretariat and me was finally signed in November, but runs from
August 1994.
During the first phase of monitoring, my main function as Rapporteur was to
make the Rules better known. I also discussed with international
non-governmental organizations various possibilities of cooperation, methods for
implementing the Rules and ways in which non-governmental organizations at
various levels could cooperate with the Rapporteur and the United Nations
Secretariat to achieve maximum results.
Page 8
As Rapporteur, I participated in a large number of conferences and seminars
organized by Governments and/or organizations. On all those occasions, I made
speeches and participated in workshops and discussion groups. There was great
interest in the contents of the Rules and the opportunities for development that
they offer. The presentations of the Rules attracted large audiences and the
discussions were intense.
First meeting of the panel of experts
The first meeting of the panel of experts was held from 15 to
17 February 1995 at United Nations Headquarters. All 10 members attended the
first meeting. They were briefed on the progress of the monitoring project and
on other United Nations activities in the disability field. The meeting focused
on the future activities of the monitoring exercise. The panel of experts
adopted a report containing a number of recommendations.
Future activities
Future activities are based on the guidelines set out in paragraph 1,
section IV of the Standard Rules, as follows:
"The purpose of a monitoring mechanism is to further the effective
implementation of the Rules. It will assist each State in assessing its
level of implementation of the Rules and in measuring its progress. The
monitoring should identify obstacles and suggest suitable measures that
would contribute to the successful implementation of the Rules. The
monitoring mechanism will recognize the economic, social and cultural
features existing in individual States. An important element should also
be the provision of advisory services and the exchange of experience and
information between States."
To summarize, the overall goal is to further the effective implementation
of the Rules. The monitoring should also measure the level of implementation,
identify obstacles and suggest suitable measures to remove them. Another
important task is to provide advisory services and to promote an exchange of
experience and information between States.
Again, regarding budgetary matters, the monitoring project was funded for
rather limited activities. My time is shared between the task of Rapporteur and
my work as a member of the Swedish Parliament. I have an excellent assistant on
a half-time basis and, through the Swedish in-kind contribution, part-time
professional assistance. I also benefit from the support and advice of both the
panel and the United Nations Secretariat.
Should additional funding be provided, it is my intention to develop
regional activities utilizing regional expertise. It is against this background
that I will discuss the various future activities for the remaining two years of
the monitoring project.
Page 9
Measuring the level of implementation
As stated earlier, the response to the first letter to Governments was very
disappointing. With better preparation, especially in obtaining the active
cooperation of interested non-governmental organizations, it should be possible
to get more replies. Though the response rate to questionnaires is
traditionally low, it is clearly indicated in the monitoring guidelines that
questionnaires to Member States should form an important part of the monitoring
Based on the recommendations of the panel of experts, it is my intention to
send a second letter in 1995 to Member States concentrating on the following six
strategically important areas: legislation (rule 15), coordination of work
(rule 17), organizations of persons with disabilities (rule 18), accessibility
(rule 5), education (rule 6) and employment (rule 7). The specialized agencies,
especially the International Labour Organization and the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, will be consulted on the
areas relevant to their mandates. Building on the experiences of the first two
questionnaires, consideration will be given to devising a third set of questions
before the end of the monitoring period.
The panel has also offered to serve as the evaluating body in this context.
It has recommended the development of an index based on the Standard Rules.
Therefore, the elaboration of the questionnaire and of such an index for
structuring the replies must be coordinated.
In connection with the World Summit for Social Development, held at
Copenhagen, the Danish organizations of persons with disabilities, in
cooperation with the Nordic disability organizations, organized a conference on
the development of a disability index. The idea was to develop such an index on
the basis of the Standard Rules. In this way the international community would
get an instrument to measure and compare development in the disability field
both over a period of time and between countries. A first version of such an
index was presented at the Summit. The discussion proved that there is
considerable interest in such an index, especially among organizations. It also
indicated that much work remains to be done before such an index can be
integrated into the international evaluation activities. It is also obvious
that the solution developed by the Danes is formed in such a way that it cannot
be used to evaluate the implementation level in a single Rule area. If an index
technique is desired in connection with the evaluation of an investigation of
the kind recommended by the panel, we will have to develop our own solution for
that purpose.
Identifying obstacles and suggesting measures to remove them
The most obvious contribution of the Standard Rules to disability policy is
the concept of identifying and removing obstacles that prevent the full
participation in society of persons with disabilities. For some groups and in
some cases, such obstacles are easily identified. In other cases they are less
tangible. The discussion of this topic in relation to the situation in
developing countries is an almost untouched area. In this regard, I look to the
Commission for advice and guidance.
Page 10
It is important to use all available opportunities to discuss these matters
with the representatives of both Governments and organizations. I intend to use
the various seminars, congresses etc. in which I participate to bring this
matter to their attention. I will also continue to encourage members of the
panel of experts and representatives of organizations of disabled persons to
contribute their innovative ideas to this process.
Advisory services
Countries are already asking for advice in implementing the Rules. The
possibilities of assisting countries within the monitoring project are, of
course, very limited. Nevertheless, it is important to respond positively to
such requests, since one of the most important functions of the monitoring
exercise is to create opportunities for development and cooperation. I would
appreciate a discussion in the Commission on how such advisory services could be
linked to the monitoring exercise. I firmly believe that we should seek
cooperation with the specialized agencies, the United Nations Development
Programme and other funding agencies to develop advisory or consultative
services in the area of legislation and policy development.
One interesting idea is to develop "good country models" of implementation.
The selection of the models can be based on a fair regional distribution, using
the experiences of the regional commissions and other regional organizations.
Promoting an exchange of information
One of the most obvious results of the first letter to Governments is their
request for information about how other countries have used the Rules. This is
in itself a strong motive for continuing to send questions to Governments. High
priority should therefore be given to compiling and distributing examples of
good country models.
The replies to the first letter contain a number of interesting examples of
what has been done or is being planned. As can be seen in the appendix, we have
chosen to report country by country in order to make it easier for those
interested in acquiring more information.
I invite the Commission to discuss how an exchange of information can best
be promoted through the activities of this monitoring project. The discussion
could concern both the ways in which results and findings are reported and
special measures taken to stimulate and facilitate an exchange of information.
In the first part of my report, I described the role of the Standard Rules
in the development of policy and thinking in the disability field. I also
indicated the reasons why this instrument was elaborated and why it is important
to achieve results in the implementation of the Rules.
I also described the way in which the monitoring mechanism has been built
up by the Secretariat during 1994 and the efforts made to find sufficient
funding for the activities.
Page 11
In the second part of the report, I discussed the activities of the first
year of the monitoring exercise.
In the third section, I reported on the various tasks of the monitoring
project. As we have limited resources, it is important to discuss various
possible activities with the funding situation in mind.
The Rules are being introduced in a large number of countries. They
already play an important role in influencing policy and thinking both
internationally and at the national level. However, much remains to be done to
implement the Rules - especially the role and use of the Rules in developing
Now, I would like to make some recommendations for the consideration of the
Commission. Some of them are concrete suggestions for the continuation of the
monitoring exercise. In some cases, I seek the advice and experience of the
Commission in order to improve policy and action.
1. As a general approach to the monitoring, emphasis should be placed on
advice, support and encouragement rather than on measuring, comparing and
2. In the future, the major emphasis in the monitoring activity should be
on assisting developing countries in their implementation efforts.
3. Although the overall goal of the monitoring activity is to implement
all the Rules, the monitoring efforts during the remaining two years should
concentrate mainly on the following six areas: legislation (rule 15),
coordination of work (rule 17), organizations of persons with disabilities
(rule 18), accessibility (rule 5), education (rule 6) and employment (rule 7).
4. In these six areas, measurable goals (or indicators) should be derived
from the contents of the Rules.
5. The Rapporteur should distribute a second letter to Member States,
making in-depth inquiries in the first four areas: legislation, coordination,
organizations of persons with disabilities and accessibility.
6. Concerning the survey in the areas of education and employment, the
Rapporteur should consult with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization and the International Labour Organization in their
respective fields.
7. The possibility of using a simple index technique in the evaluation of
the results from this second questionnaire should be considered.
8. The offer made by the panel of experts to perform the evaluation of
the survey should be accepted.
Page 12
9. International disability organizations (especially those constituting
the panel of experts) should be invited to participate in the survey. Their
national members could remind Governments to reply. They could reply themselves
or, if possible, comment on the replies of their Governments.
10. The Commission is invited to discuss what could be done to improve the
response rate from Governments.
11. Efforts should be made by the Secretariat and the Rapporteur to
involve the specialized agencies and the regional commissions in the
implementation of the Rules. Among other things, the following measures should
be considered:
(a) A letter with general questions, similar to those contained in the
first letter to Governments, should be sent to these entities;
(b) The inter-agency meetings on disability should be reopened by the
Secretariat in order to exchange information, coordinate measures and explore
the possibilities of joint action;
(c) International non-governmental organizations should be invited to
participate in the inter-agency meetings;
(d) Inter-agency meetings should also be held at the regional level.
12. When Member States ask for more extensive advisory services, the
Rapporteur should seek the cooperation of the Secretariat, the United Nations
Development Programme, the specialized agencies, the regional commissions and
other agencies in the field of technical cooperation. Measures to encourage
cooperation between the Rapporteur and these agencies should be developed.
13. The Commission should consider encouraging the development of
regionally distributed "good country models", which, during a later stage in the
monitoring exercise, could be used for reference.
14. In response to the requests from Member States, good examples of
measures should be registered for publication towards the end of the monitoring
15. The Commission is asked to consider further measures to stimulate the
exchange of experience and information between countries.
16. Further measures to promote awareness-raising in connection with the
Rules should be considered. Among those measures, the following are
(a) The wider circulation of the Standard Rules;
(b) A broad circulation of the brochure on the Standard Rules;
(c) The distribution of a list of United Nations documents that could
support the implementation of the Rules;
Page 13
(d) A request to international non-governmental organizations to circulate
their support material;
(e) The design of a poster on the message of the Rules, to be made
available for awareness campaigns.
17. The Commission should consider the funding situation and suggest
measures to secure the necessary resources for the monitoring activities. Among
other things, the Commission is asked to consider the possibility of reopening
the discussion on funding the monitoring mechanism through the regular budget of
the United Nations.
Page 14
Summaries of replies from Governments to the questionnaire of the
Special Rapporteur of the Commission for Social Development on
the Implementation of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of
Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities
At a regional meeting for Latin America regarding national legislation and
programmes for disabled persons in 1994, the Governments of the region discussed
possibilities for applying the Standard Rules. The Rules will serve as a
fundamental guide in the creation of basic jurisprudence, providing an
opportunity for affirmative action programmes.
The Government of Argentina developed a Plan of Action for 1994-1995, the
application of which was evaluated by the Third Argentinean Congress on
Disability, held at Buenos Aires in December, with the participation of
1,700 persons. The Standard Rules were disseminated by the Argentinean
Federation for the Mentally Disabled.
The experience gained during the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons
has shown the way for pursuing the application of the equalization of
opportunities under the Standard Rules. Furthermore, the rights of persons with
disabilities, embodied in international instruments, are complemented by the
rights and guarantees recognized in the National Constitution, recently reformed
in 1994.
Argentina has a national commission that assists the Government in
integrating disabled persons into society by studying the special needs of
persons with disabilities. The commission includes representatives from various
areas of the Government and works in collaboration with non-governmental
A considerable amount of work has been done to make the Rules known to
authorities, agencies and organizations. The Rules are often referred to in
federal documents.
A handbook for regional use on how to plan and design an accessible
environment has been elaborated. During the drafting of the Rules, drafts were
being used as a basis for new federal legislation, for example, the Disability
Discrimination Act (1992). A disability strategy has also been elaborated after
consultation with non-governmental organizations, staff and other concerned
The Australian Disability Council has a key role in the monitoring and
further development of the strategy. A national campaign has been launched in
support of the strategy.
Page 15
The Australian Government welcomes more information, especially practical
examples from other countries.
In December 1992 a policy was adopted by the Austrian Government which, to
a large extent, coincides with the Rules.
Concerning future activities, Austria will endeavour to incorporate the
principles of the Rules in new policy.
The Republic of Belarus pays considerable attention to the problems of
persons with disabilities and undertakes a number of measures for their
protection, including legislation on the prevention of disability and
rehabilitation of persons with disabilities, which aims at protecting the rights
and freedoms of disabled persons. However, the difficult economic situation in
Belarus constitutes a major obstacle for funding disability programmes.
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities, on 2 December 1992, was
also proclaimed the Day of Persons with Disabilities of the Republic of Belarus.
The Republic of Belarus would like to receive information on the
implementation of the Rules in other States.
The Government of Benin plans to elaborate a strategy in order to introduce
the Rules and to speed up their implementation. The Government works in
cooperation with the African Rehabilitation Institute. The Government would
like to receive more information.
The Rules have been handed over to a group of disability advocates. New
legislation concerning persons with disabilities will be elaborated, in
cooperation with all concerned. Several of the paragraphs in the Rules will be
used in the new law. The Government of Bolivia would welcome more information.
The Rules were presented at a meeting in November 1994. In January 1995 a
plan of action was adopted. The national Constitution of 1991 includes several
paragraphs on the rights and needs of persons with disabilities. The Government
would like to use the Rules and a seminar will be organized to promote them.
Various ministries are being informed about the Rules. The Government would
like to receive more information.
Page 16
The Standard Rules have been translated into Greek and distributed to the
Organization for Disabled Persons, to Social Partners and to other interested
government services.
The Standard Rules and the World Programme of Action have served as
guidelines for the development of government policies for disabled persons and
have helped to provide a framework for disability legislation.
The Government is interested in obtaining information on how other
countries have used the Rules in national legislation, particularly in the
European Union.
The Rules have been translated and presented at a press conference in 1994.
Copies of the Rules have been distributed to ministries, Parliament and regional
and local agencies. The Danish Council of Organizations of Disabled People
distributed 1,500 copies of the Rules to its members. The Danish translation of
the Rules is also available on tape and in Braille.
In April 1993, a resolution was adopted, recommending that both public and
private sectors comply with the principle of equal treatment of disabled and
non-disabled citizens. An Equal Opportunity Centre for Disabled Persons was
Communication and information are considered important and some
100,000 Danish kroner has been allocated for information purposes.
The Estonian Disabled Person’s Board had the Rules translated into Estonian
and widely distributed, including at the provincial and local levels. In
December 1994, a workshop on the Rules was organized. The Government plans to
hold an electronic-mail conference, at which one theme will be the Rules.
At present, a special commission is drafting an Estonian policy based on
the Rules. The Estonian Foundation of Disabled People was formed in 1994. Its
main purpose is to fund programmes and projects to integrate persons with
disabilities and increase their independence. The Foundation receives
49 per cent of gambling taxes from the State budget.
The Rules have been translated into Finnish and distributed to disability
organizations and regional and local authorities.
The Finnish National Council on Disability, which is a coordinating body in
accordance with the principles of the Rules, has started to draft a Finnish
policy based on the Rules. On two occasions during 1994 the National Council on
Page 17
Disability launched information programmes on the Rules. The Finnish Government
would like to maintain close contact with the Special Rapporteur.
The translation of the Rules into German will soon be completed and will be
published as a brochure. The principles of the Rules correspond well with
German legislation on rehabilitation.
The Government of Ghana is committed to ensuring the mainstreaming of
persons with disabilities into the economic, social and political life of Ghana.
Towards that end, the Government has established a National Advisory Committee
on Rehabilitation Policy, whose terms of reference are based on the Standard
Rules, the Salamanca Statement and the Framework for Action on Special Needs
The 1992 Constitution of Ghana meets the necessary provisions for most of
the requirements of the Standard Rules. The Government has proposed a bill for
the enactment of the Disabled Persons Act, fully addressing the legal elements
of the Standard Rules. The Government also intends to publish the rules to
raise the awareness of the community and make society accessible to persons with
The Rules have been translated into Icelandic and distributed to concerned
authorities and organizations.
The Rules have already been used to improve services.
The Government would appreciate additional information.
The Rules are well in keeping with national legislation.
the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has the main responsibility for
disability policy.
The Government of Iraq considers that paragraphs 2 and 3 of rule 9 should
be deleted as they do not correspond with Islamic law and Arab tradition.
It is important to designate an international organization to study
experiences in different countries and to give advice to other countries.
Iraq has long experience in disability services of various types,
particularly with reference to employment.
Page 18
The Ministry of Family and Solidarity has disseminated the text of the
Rules to interested parties in order to increase awareness and sensitize the
public to the problems of disabled persons.
On 30 July 1993, the Government adopted a national programme concerning
disabled persons.
The Rules have been circulated to all bodies and organizations. They have
been used as a guide to introduce and implement programmes and other measures to
improve the socio-economic status of persons with disabilities. These include a
1 per cent minimum quota of public sector jobs reserved for persons with
disabilities, and amendments to building codes to improve access.
In the future, the Rules will be effectively implemented in all relevant
sectors. The Government of Malaysia wishes to receive more information and
assistance in introducing the Rules.
The Government of Mexico has approved a national programme on disability
and has created a National Coordinating Commission.
Five federal laws have been modified during the past two years.
The Rules constitute the framework and recommendations for the present
The Rules have been distributed to all concerned organizations and
institutions. They have been used in awareness-raising campaigns. An
international seminar was held in December 1994. A High Commissioner on
Disability was appointed in March 1994 in order to ensure integration of
disabled persons into society.
A large number of specialists participated in the international seminar on
equality for persons with disabilities, at which the Rabat Declaration was
Two new laws, one on the visually impaired and the other on the protection
of disabled persons from discriminatory treatment, have recently been enacted.
A plan of action will be elaborated in cooperation with ministries, the
private sector and national organizations and in consultation with international
The Government of Morocco would appreciate information from other
Page 19
The Rules have been translated into Dutch and distributed to ministries,
Parliament, various organizations and the media.
The Rules can be seen as a frame of reference for policy development. They
correspond well with the approach taken in Dutch legislation and practice.
At present, an Action Plan on Care for Disabled Persons is being
elaborated on the basis of the Rules. A long-term programme for the
coordination of disability issues is being drafted for the years 1995-1998.
New Zealand
The Standard Rules have been given to the Ministry of Health and the
Department of Social Welfare, both of which have responsibility for providing
policy advice and maintaining income levels for people with disabilities. In
addition, the Assembly for People with Disabilities has disseminated the Rules
to interested disability-related entities in New Zealand.
The Rules have been used in promoting the need for a government strategy
to ensure that people with disabilities have equal opportunity to access
state services. Also, the Rules have contributed to the ongoing conceptual
development regarding a definition of disability support services.
The Government would be pleased to receive any further information
regarding the Rules.
The Rules correspond with the overall political goals of the Government’s
action plan. Each ministry is responsible for implementing the Rules within its
area of responsibility. The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs is
responsible for coordination.
A special committee of state secretaries has been appointed to deal with
policy relating to disabled persons.
A National Council on Disability has been established which, among other
things, will present proposals to the ministries and monitor the implementation
of the Rules.
The Government of Norway is interested in receiving further information on
the way the implementation of the Rules is being effected internationally and in
individual countries.
Page 20
The Rules have been distributed to concerned ministries, organizations and
institutions in the disability field. The Rules will be incorporated in ongoing
activities. The implementation of the Rules will, to a large extent, depend on
the availability of resources.
The Government is interested in additional information, especially from
other countries in the region.
The Government is currently distributing copies of the Rules to all
concerned. A conference will be organized for staff within the National Council
for the Welfare of Disabled Persons and the Ministry. They will be responsible
for distributing information to the 15 regions of the country.
The Government is elaborating a Magna Carta for Disabled Persons which is
well in keeping with the Rules.
The Disability Unit in the Ministry has used the Rules in formulating its
Plan of Action for 1995.
The Rules will be used as guidelines when planning policy both locally and
regionally. Non-governmental organizations will be represented in this process.
The Government would appreciate information and assistance in introducing
and interpreting the Rules.
The Standard Rules were disseminated by radio and television and at
meetings of disability organizations.
The State Secretariat for Disabled Persons has regular meetings with
non-governmental organizations. Most of the Rules are included in a law
concerning the protection of disabled persons. The institutions for children
have been reformed.
The Rules will be used to improve legislation, encourage early detection,
increase the degree of independence of disabled persons, and initiate vocational
training programmes.
The Government would appreciate more information about activities in other
countries and monitoring mechanisms.
Page 21
Russian Federation
A Russian club named "Adventure" held a marathon for disabled persons in
1994. The marathon adopted the United Nations slogan "Society for All", from
the Decade of Disabled Persons. This event helped strengthen relationships
between the people of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic
States and was a valuable contribution to the plans and programmes for disabled
The Government of Slovakia printed 2,500 copies of the Standard Rules and
disseminated them throughout the country, including to governmental and
non-governmental organizations and health and educational institutions. The
Rules were published in newspapers and magazines for disabled persons.
The Government is interested in integrating the Standard Rules into new
legislation. The Government wishes to improve the integration of disabled
persons into society and has discussed establishing a "project for the
coordination of activities for the integration of disabled people in everyday
life in every district". The project is expected to become an instrument for
local policy-making.
Although the Government abolished the Committee for Disabled Persons in
1995, it hopes to establish another coordinating body. In previous years, this
Committee, consisting of governmental and non-governmental organizations and
disabled persons, strove to enable disabled persons to take part in the
community and to have the right to education, employment and housing.
The Standard Rules have been translated into Slovenian and distributed to
relevant ministries, organizations for the disabled and institutions responsible
for developing national legislation on disability issues. The Government plans
to publish and distribute the Rules to local communities to assist them in
developing local policy.
The Government plans to modify and amend the existing legal framework which
impedes or prevents the full participation and equal status of disabled persons
within society. The Government also intends to amend legislation concerning
housing and construction policy to assist disabled persons in acquiring housing
and to introduce provisions for removing architectural barriers.
The Rules will serve as a guide for developing employment policies for
persons with disabilities. Additionally, the Rules will serve as a reference
for the drafting of national programmes on social welfare for disabled persons.
The Government would like to be updated on the activities of the Commission
for Social Development regarding the implementation of the Rules in other
Page 22
South Africa
The Government has put considerable effort into creating a National
Coordinating Committee on Disability and developing a network of committees in
the areas of prevention, rehabilitation and equal opportunities. The goal is to
undertake a total review of legislation and services in the disability field.
This should help professionals develop skills based on the Rules.
The Government would appreciate more information.
The Rules have been widely distributed among professionals of the National
Institute for Social Affairs, with a view to their consideration within the
framework of the concepts, planning and management of policies for disabled
persons. The Rules have been taken into consideration within the framework of
the plan of action for the integration of disabled persons and will be used as a
reference for future actions of the Institute.
The Government of Spain would be interested in receiving additional
information on the development and impact of the Rules in other countries.
Sri Lanka
The Rules have been translated into Sinhalese and distributed to all
concerned authorities and institutions.
Legislation on the establishment of a National Council on Disability has
been drafted, with disability organizations represented at all levels.
The Government would appreciate additional information.
A disability ombudsman was appointed in 1994. The ombudsman will ensure
that disabled persons are not treated unfavourably, will serve in an advisory
capacity and scrutinize and evaluate current legislation. The Government
considers it important to take measures to develop general accessibility and
responsibility in various parts of society.
The Rules have been translated into Swedish. The Government has allocated
10 million Swedish kronor for disseminating information about the Rules.
The Government welcomes the proposal in the White Paper on European Social
Policy to prepare an appropriate instrument endorsing the United Nations
Standard Rules.
Page 23
The Rules will be translated into German. They have been distributed to
disability organizations. The Rules, which have just recently been introduced,
have not yet had any concrete effect at the federal or regional level.
Disability organizations will consider how the Rules can be used in various
The Swiss Government would appreciate additional information about how the
Rules are used in other countries.
Syrian Arab Republic
The Government of the Syrian Arab Republic has fully agreed to the Standard
Rules on the condition that these Rules do not contradict Islamic law. So that
the Rules can be better known, the Ministry for Social Affairs and Labour will
disseminate them to the competent authorities for implementation. The
authorities will study legislation in order to update it in accordance with the
Rules, provided that the Rules do not contradict public legislation.
In the future, the ministries will include in their related five-year
plans, new projects that will comply with the Rules, keeping within affordable
In due course, the Syrian authorities will seek any needed assistance or
Trinidad and Tobago
During 1993, a committee consisting of representatives from government and
disability organizations elaborated a draft policy on the basis of the Rules.
The committee has continued to formulate a plan of action. Measures have been
taken to raise awareness.
It has been proposed that a National Coordinating Committee be established
during 1995, to be followed by a disability unit in 1996, which would function
as the secretariat of the Committee.
Copies of the Rules and the policy statement will be distributed.
The Government would appreciate information about activities in other
The National Coordinating Committee, established in 1981, has translated
the Rules into Turkish and distributed them to concerned institutions and
organizations. The Rules are on the Committee’s agenda.
General policy on the Rules will be included in the five-year plan, which
is currently being drafted. The intention of the Government is to include the
Rules in discussions with institutions and organizations.
Page 24
Efforts to eliminate physical obstacles will be increased. Personnel and
families will be trained and statistics will be collected through a database.
The Government would like additional information.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Concerned ministries have been informed about the Rules and the Rules have
also been distributed to concerned organizations.
The Rules have been scrutinized and concerned ministries will take account
of the principles.
United States of America
The Standard Rules have been incorporated into recommendations made to the
President and Congress by the National Council on Disability, an independent
federal agency that works to increase the inclusion and empowerment of persons
with disabilities.
During the past 20 years, the United States has passed legislation, which
embodies many of the principles articulated in the Standard Rules, including the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which contains non-discrimination provisions for
promoting equality and opportunities for persons with disabilities. The Act
also includes provisions for the hiring and advancement of employees with
disabilities in the Federal Government and affirmative action plans for federal
contractors. Recommendations by the National Council on Disability led to the
Federal Government passing the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, creating
a wide range of civil rights that prohibit discrimination against people with
Information submitted by non-governmental organizations
China Disabled Persons’ Federation
Brochures in Chinese have been printed and distributed throughout the
country. The message of the Rules has been made known through the media. The
Rules are often used for reference. The present Chinese legislation is in
accordance with the Rules. Two inspection tours have been made to monitor the
implementation of the Rules. China has a five-year programme on disability, in
which most areas of the Rules are included.
Brochures will be distributed at the grass-roots level. The Rules will be
incorporated in the formulation of the next five-year programme. The main
target in that five-year programme will be poverty relief in the market economy,
especially for the poorest citizens.
China would like to exchange information with the United Nations and with
other countries concerning the implementation of the Rules.
Page 25
Union nationale des associations de parents et amis de personnes handicapées
mentales - National Union of Associations of Parents and Friends of Persons with
Mental Deficiency (UNAPEI)
Paragraph 7 of rule 7 states that "the aim should always be for persons
with disabilities to obtain employment in the open labour market. For persons
with disabilities whose needs cannot be met in open employment, small units of
sheltered or supported employment may be an alternative".
In our capacity as representatives of persons with mental deficiency in
France, we are of the opinion that there should be an adapted response to each
type of disability. One must be realistic, and restrictive as well as
mistrustful attitudes towards sheltered workshops may lead to the exclusion of
persons with mental deficiency; for a great number of those persons, access to
specialized structures is the way to greater inclusion. Our aim is to temper
exchanges of views in international organizations where theory does not
necessarily correspond to reality.
National Forum for Welfare of the Mentally Handicapped
The Ministry of Welfare will print the Rules in Hindi and distribute them
throughout the country. At the government level, the question of translating
the Rules into other vernacular languages is being discussed.
The Government has prepared comprehensive legislation.
The National Council for the Welfare of the Handicapped will be encouraged
to discuss the Standard Rules and to use them for policy development.
Akim Israel - National Association for the Habilitation of the Mentally
In reply to the questions of the Special Rapporteur, Akim Israel has made
an extensive account of the various programmes in Israel for disabled persons,
especially for the mentally handicapped.
Page 26
South Africa
S.A. Federation for Mental Health
The Rules are well known at the government level and in disability circles.
The National Coordinating Committee on Disability was formed in 1993. Its
main objective is to implement the Rules. At present, disability policy
and legislation are being updated. Non-governmental organizations participate
in this process. The Rules will mainly serve as criteria regarding how change
can be monitored. The Committee is in close touch with the United Nations and
Rehabilitation International but welcomes information and advice.