Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities : note / by the Secretary-General
|UN Document Symbol||A/60/266|
|Convention||Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities|
|Document Type||Note by the Secretary-General|
|Subjects||Disability, Persons with Disabilities, International Instruments, Non-Governmental Organizations|
United Nations A/60/266
General Assembly Distr.: General
17 August 2005
05-46396 (E) 280905
Item 73 (b) of the provisional agenda*
Human rights questions: human rights questions, including
alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment
of human rights and fundamental freedoms
Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral
International Convention on the Protection and Promotion
of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities
Note by the Secretary-General
The Secretary-General has the honour to submit to the General Assembly,
pursuant to General Assembly resolution 59/198, the report of the Ad Hoc
Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on Protection
and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities on its sixth
Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and
Integral International Convention on the Protection and
Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with
Disabilities on its sixth session
1. In its resolution 56/168, the General Assembly decided to establish the Ad Hoc
Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the
Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities,
based on a holistic approach in the work done in the fields of social development,
human rights and non-discrimination and taking into account the recommendations
of the Commission on Human Rights and the Commission for Social Development.
2. In its resolution 59/198, the Assembly decided that the Committee should
hold, within existing resources, prior to the sixtieth session of the Assembly, two
sessions in 2005, of 10 working days each, to be held, respectively, from 24 January
to 4 February and in July/August.
II. Organizational matters
A. Opening and duration of the sixth session
3. The Committee held its sixth session at United Nations Headquarters from 1 to
12 August 2005; it held 20 meetings.
4. The Division for Social Policy and Development of the Department of
Economic and Social Affairs acted as the substantive secretariat, while the
Disarmament and Decolonization Affairs Branch of the Department for General
Assembly and Conference Management served as the secretariat of the Committee.
5. The sixth session of the Committee was opened by its Chairman, Don
MacKay, Ambassador of New Zealand.
6. On 13 April 2005, the Committee held its organizational meeting, at which the
following officers were elected to serve on its Bureau:
Don MacKay (New Zealand)
Jorge Ballestero (Costa Rica)
Ivana Grollovà (Czech Republic)
Mutaz Hyassat (Jordan)
Laoura Lazouras (South Africa)1
1 Elected on 1 August 2005.
7. At its 1st meeting, on 1 August 2005, the Committee adopted the provisional
agenda for its sixth session, as contained in document A/AC.265/2005/L.3, as
1. Opening of the session.
2. Election of officers.
3. Adoption of the agenda.
4. Organization of work.
5. Continuation of consideration of the proposed revisions and amendments
to the draft text of the Working Group as contained in the reports of the
Ad Hoc Committee on its third session (A/AC.265/2004/5, annex II),
fourth session (A/59/360, annex IV) and fifth session (A/AC.265/2005/2,
annexes II and III).
6. Conclusion of the Ad Hoc Committee at its sixth session.
7. Adoption of the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on its sixth session.
8. The Committee had before it the following documents:
(a) Report of the Committee on its fifth session (A/AC.265/2005/2);
(b) Note verbale dated 18 July 2005 from the Permanent Mission of
Morocco to the United Nations addressed to the Secretariat (A/AC.265/2005/3);
(c) Provisional agenda for the sixth session of the Committee
(d) List of participants (A/AC.265/2005/INF/2);
(e) Proposed programme of work for the sixth session of the Committee
(f) The concept of special measures in international human rights law:
background document prepared by the Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights (A/AC.265/2005/CRP.4);
(g) Legal capacity: background document prepared by the Office of the
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (A/AC.265/2005/CRP.5);
(h) Report of the Committee on its third session (A/AC.265/2004/5 and
(i) Report of the Working Group (A/AC.265/2004/WG.1);
(j) Report of the Committee on its fourth session (A/59/360).
III. Organization of work
9. At its sixth session, the Committee conducted informal discussions on articles
15, 15 bis, 24 bis, and 16 through 25 of the draft convention, in accordance with the
programme of work adopted at its first meeting, on 1 August 2005. At its 20th
meeting, on 12 August, the Committee heard the report of the Chairman on the
progress made in the informal discussions held on the aforementioned draft articles
(see annex II). The Committee decided to continue to review the draft convention at
its seventh session.
10. The Committee recommends that it continue its work in 2006 and that it hold,
within existing resources, prior to the sixty-first session of the General Assembly,
two sessions in 2006, of at least 10 working days and up to a maximum of 15
working days each, to be held, respectively, in January and August.
11. The Committee invites the members of its Bureau to hold intersessional
meetings in regard to the preparation and organization of its seventh session,
including the preparation of the provisional agenda, which should be issued at least
four weeks before the seventh session.
12. With regard to accessibility and in accordance with General Assembly
resolutions 58/246 and 59/198 and decision 56/474, the Committee reiterated the
need for additional efforts to be made to ensure accessibility at the United Nations,
with reasonable accommodation as regards facilities and documentation for all
persons with disabilities.
13. In that regard, the Committee requests the Secretary-General to explore and
implement innovative measures, within existing resources and in consultation with
organizations of persons with disabilities and the Bureau, for the provision of
selected documents in Braille. The Committee requests the Secretary-General to
report to it at its seventh session on the implementation of this recommendation.
14. The Committee calls upon the organizations and bodies of the United Nations
system, including the World Bank, to intensify their cooperation in support of the
work of the Committee, as well as in anticipation of the implementation of the draft
convention, and invites the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in close
collaboration with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights, to take the necessary steps to secure this inter-agency collaboration.
V. Adoption of the report
15. At its 20th meeting, on 12 August, the Committee adopted the draft report on
its sixth session (A/AC.265/2005/L.4), as orally amended.
Additional non-governmental organizations accredited to
the sixth session of the Committee
Action on Disability and Development
Afghan Disabled Union
British Council of Disabled People
Consiglio Nazionale sulla Disabilità
Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies
Federation of and for People with Disabilities
Friends of Peace and Development Organization
Gambia Future Hands on Disabled People
International Stuttering Association
Iraqi Handicapped and Survivors Society
Lebanese Physical Handicapped Union
Leonard Cheshire International
Mine and Weapon Victims Association
Peace and Tolerance International Organization
Persons With Pain International
Society for Mental Health Care
Sudan Association for Combating Landmines
Union des personnes handicapées du Burundi
Report by the Chairman
1. The Ad Hoc Committee held informal and formal meetings from 1 to
12 August 2005 on draft articles 15, 15 bis, 24 bis, and 16 through 25.
2. The text of the draft convention prepared by the Working Group
(A/AC.265/2004/WG.1, annex I) formed the basis for the discussion, which took
into account various amendments and proposals made during previous meetings, as
contained in the compilation document.
3. The aim of the discussions was to clarify as many of the issues concerning the
draft articles as possible. The present report indicates areas of general agreement on
language and areas where there remains a divergence of views that will need to be
resolved subsequently. Where general agreement was reached, it was on the clear
understanding that it was without prejudice to the ability of delegations to
reconsider the draft articles at a subsequent stage, when the shape of the overall
convention became clear.
4. It was again clear from the discussion that there are overlaps and duplications
between provisions in some articles, which deal with similar matters, and this will
need to be rationalized. There were also suggestions for restructuring and
streamlining some articles, which will need to be taken into account.
5. Many of the draft articles deal with economic, social and cultural rights, which
are to be realized to the maximum of available resources; that is, they are subject to
the doctrine of progressive realization. Some of those draft articles also cover civil
and political rights, which are of immediate effect and to which the doctrine of
progressive realization does not apply. This can make it difficult to insert a
reference in the chapeaux to those draft articles saying that they shall be
progressively implemented. It was agreed that the matter needed to be dealt with in
the convention, perhaps by a generic provision in draft article 4.
6. The issue of whether the convention should recognize or ensure a right,
and related questions around similar language, arose several times during these
negotiations. The Committee will need to look at making these terms consistent
throughout the convention. Similarly, the Committee will also need to address
proposals that were made throughout the text to insert language such as on an equal
basis with others and equitable.
Summary of discussions on the structure of the draft convention
7. The Committee considered the structure of the draft convention in general
terms. A number of delegations suggested that certain draft articles should be shifted
elsewhere in the draft convention in order to place them within a more suitable or
logical grouping of draft articles.
8. It was agreed that it would be largely unhelpful to try to place a rigid
demarcation in the draft convention between those draft articles dealing with civil
and political rights and those dealing with economic, social and cultural rights,
especially as many of the draft articles were of a hybrid character. It was also
important to avoid creating the appearance of a hierarchy of rights in the draft
9. There was general agreement that the articles in the draft convention should be
clearly delineated and avoid unnecessary repetition.
10. The Committee considered that titles could contribute to the accessibility of
the draft convention. This issue was to be given further thought.
Discussion of draft articles
Draft article 15
11. There was general support that there should be an article in the convention on
this issue, and that the Working Group text was a good basis for discussion. There
was general support for the essence of draft article 15, that persons with disabilities
should be free to choose their living arrangements on an equal basis with others. It
was also noted that the key to this draft article was the right of every person with
disabilities to live in the community.
12. There was support to redraft the chapeau as follows:
States Parties to this Convention shall take effective and appropriate
measures to [enable/facilitate] full enjoyment by persons with disabilities of
their freedom of choice, independent living and full [inclusion/participation] in
the community, including by ensuring that: [...]
13. The Committee noted that the use of the word facilitate might not be
linguistically correct, and that this would need to be looked at again when draft
article 15 was next discussed.
14. There was some support for a proposal to redraft the chapeau so that it drew on
article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and
incorporated the right of persons with disabilities to liberty of movement and
freedom to choose their residence. Others, however, argued that the proposal did not
take into account the limits on this right that were contained in the Covenant.
Subparagraphs (a) and (b)
15. There was support to merge subparagraphs (a) and (b), with slight amendment,
so that they read:
(a) Persons with disabilities have the opportunity to choose their place
of residence and where and with whom they live on an equal basis with others
and are not obliged to live in [an institution or] a particular living
16. Some delegations objected to the inclusion of any reference to institutions,
and proposed the deletion of the substance of subparagraph (b) on the basis that it
was covered under either draft article 10 or in the substance of subparagraph (a).
Other delegations proposed to append paragraph (b) with clauses such as except
where necessary or subject to the provisions of article 10. It was noted, however,
that such language went beyond the situations set out in draft article 10, and would
undermine the approach taken in that draft article.
17. There was general agreement that there was an element of duplication with
draft article 10, and that when that article was next discussed it should be ensured
that the elements of draft article 15, subparagraph (b), were adequately covered to
avoid the duplication.
Subparagraphs (c), (d) and (e)
18. There was a proposal to insert a new subparagraph (c) bis, which would
address the manner in which support services were to be provided. The Committee
noted that this proposal replicated elements that appeared in the preamble and under
draft article 4, although there might also be a place for inclusion in the context of
this draft article.
19. There was general agreement that the phrase and facilities should be inserted
in subparagraphs (d) and (e) after the word services.
20. It was noted that draft article 15 (e), with the additional language of and
facilities in a format that is accessible to and in plain language could be considered
in future discussion on draft article 19.
21. The Committee noted that subparagraphs (c), (d) and (e) related to economic,
social and cultural rights, and as such were progressively realizable. While it had
been previously agreed that draft article 4 should include the concept of progressive
realization, it was noted that that did not necessarily preclude the use of progressive
realization language in draft article 15 or in other articles containing hybrid or
ambiguous provisions. The issue of how to address economic, social and cultural
rights in the draft convention was an issue still to be properly discussed.
22. A view was expressed that in draft article 15, subparagraphs (a)-(e) were not
helpful in that by listing measures that States Parties must take, it could be
perceived as excluding other, unlisted, measures. The Committee noted that the
subparagraphs were illustrative only, and not an exclusive list.
Draft article 15 bis
23. The Committee noted that while all women are covered under the Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, that Convention
does not specifically mention women with disabilities and there are no other legally
binding texts that do. There was general agreement in the Committee, therefore, to
include in the Convention the principle of gender equality. All delegations agreed
that the Convention needed to adequately address the situation of women with
24. There were different views expressed, however, on how best to achieve this
aim in the convention. Some delegations supported the proposal for a stand-alone
article. Others suggested that a reference in the preamble, combined with language
in the general principles, the general obligations or the monitoring section, best met
the aim. Others proposed to mainstream gender issues throughout thematic articles
of specific relevance to women. Others supported both a separate article and
25. The Chair noted that delegations should bear in mind that any programme of
action to implement the convention would be an additional place to deal with the
situation of those that faced additional disadvantage due to discrimination on
26. The issue of women with disabilities was referred to the facilitator (Theresia
Degener, Germany) to explore further the best approach and examine where and if
there were gaps in the convention that needed to be addressed from a gender
Draft article 16
27. There was general agreement in the Committee that some specific references
to children with disabilities were needed in the draft convention. There was also
general agreement that draft article 16 did not add much substance to what was
already contained in article 23 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
28. Views varied in the Committee on how best to include children with
disabilities in the draft convention. Proposals included retaining a separate (but
redrafted) article on children; a reference in the preamble with a general statement
in a draft article of horizontal application (such as draft articles 2, 4 or 25) or
mainstreaming references in relevant thematic draft articles.
29. The issue of children with disabilities was referred to the facilitator (Josephine
Sinyo, Kenya) to explore further the best approach.
Draft article 17
30. The Committee noted that education laid the foundation for the participation
by persons with disabilities in society as a whole throughout their lives, and that
inclusiveness was one of the main themes of the article (and of the convention more
generally). There was a need to balance that with the other main theme of education
options for persons with disabilities.
31. There was general agreement in the Committee that the obligations of States in
this draft article should not be qualified, and it was noted that the issue of
progressive realization of economic, social and cultural rights could be dealt with in
an earlier general article that applies to the whole convention, including this
32. There was otherwise general acceptance of the first sentence of paragraph 1 of
the Working Group text. There was also general support to include, as the second
and third sentences of paragraph 1, a proposal on inclusiveness in the general
33. There was general agreement to replace children with disabilities with
persons with disabilities throughout this draft article, except in subparagraph 1 (d)
of the Working Group text, where the word child would continue to be more
34. There was also general agreement to include the word creativity in
subparagraph 1 (c).
35. The Committee noted the important reference to the best interests of the
child in subparagraph 1 (d), and agreed that the subparagraph should not use
weaker language than was employed in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
But there were divergent views on whether article 17 was the appropriate place for
such a reference. There were also divergent views on whether to retain the reference
to individualized education plans from the Working Group text. Some delegations
supported the idea, but could not agree as to how it should be expressed. Other
delegations wanted the reference deleted.
36. Following the discussion, paragraph 1 currently reads:
1. States Parties recognize the right of all persons with disabilities to
education with a view to achieving this right [progressively and] on the basis
of equal opportunity. States Parties commit themselves to the goal of
inclusiveness of their general education systems. Where exceptionally the
general education system does not adequately meet the needs of persons with
disabilities, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure
[quality/effective] alternative forms of education, bearing in mind the goal of
full inclusion. The education of persons with disabilities shall be directed to:
(a) the full development of the human potential and sense of dignity
and self worth, and the strengthening of respect for human rights, fundamental
freedoms and human diversity;
(b) enabling all persons with disabilities to participate effectively in a
(c) the development of the personality, creativity, talents and mental
and physical abilities of persons with disabilities to their fullest potential;
(d) the best interests of the child, which shall be of primary
consideration, [in particular by individualizing education [plans] [and
37. On subparagraph 2 (c), there was some support to add the word secondary.
In doing so, the Committee noted that the reference, which now reads free and
compulsory primary or secondary education, did not create any new obligation for
States to provide free and compulsory secondary education. Rather, the provision is
a non-discrimination one, and means that if a State did provide free and compulsory
secondary education to the general population, then it should also be provided to
persons with disabilities.
38. Paragraph 2 currently reads:
2. In realizing this right, States Parties shall ensure:
(a) that all persons with disabilities [choose inclusive and accessible
quality/effective education] [have access to quality/effective education in the
general education system] [throughout their lives] [to the extent possible] in
the communities in which they live (including access to early childhood and
(b) required support, including specialized training of teachers, school
counsellors and psychologists, an accessible curriculum, an accessible
teaching medium and technologies, alternative and augmentative
communication modes, alternative learning strategies, accessible physical
environment or other reasonable accommodations to ensure the full
participation of students with disabilities;
(c) ensure that no person with disabilities is excluded from free and
compulsory primary or secondary education, or denied access to education, on
account of their disability.
39. There was general support to replace paragraph 3 of the Working Group text.
Some delegations favoured broadening the coverage of this paragraph to include all
persons with disabilities. But the Committee accepted that this might be used as a
basis for excluding all children with disabilities from the general education system.
There was general support, however, that children with particular disabilities, such
as blind, deaf and deaf-blind children, may need to commence their learning in an
environment that is more specific to their needs. This would allow them to gain
maximum benefit from a fully inclusive general education system, and ultimately
more effectively participate in society.
40. One proposal, that received some support, reads:
3. States Parties shall ensure that blind, deaf and deaf-blind children and
young persons have the right to choose education in their own groups and
settings, where they shall be provided with the same level of support and
standards, consistent with other provisions in this article.
41. The Ad Hoc Committee debated the issue of acquisition of life skills. While
some delegations supported including this issue in a separate draft article 17 bis,
most delegations were in favour of including the concept in this paragraph. Many
delegations also emphasized the importance of training and education.
42. The Ad Hoc Committee also agreed to use the same language on types of
communication that was proposed during the discussion of draft article 13.a
43. Paragraph 4 currently reads:
4. States Parties shall ensure that children with sensory and communication
disabilities may choose to be taught sign language or Braille, as appropriate,
and to receive the curriculum in sign language, or Braille, or augmentative
alternative communication or other accessible means, modes and formats of
communication. States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure
[quality/effective] education to students with sensory disabilities by ensuring
the employment of teachers who are fluent in sign language or Braille. States
Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure that people with disabilities
have the opportunity to learn the life, social development, orientation and
mobility skills that are required for people with disabilities to participate on an
equal basis with others as members of the community.
a See A/AC.265/2005/2, annex II, para. 69.
44. There was general agreement to retain paragraph 5 of the Working Group text.
45. Paragraph 5 currently reads:
5. States Parties shall ensure that persons with disabilities may access
general, tertiary education, vocational training, adult education and lifelong
learning on an equal basis with others. To that end, States Parties shall render
appropriate [assistance/support] to persons with disabilities.
46. The draft article was referred to the facilitator (Rosemary Kayess, Australia)
for further discussion.
Draft article 18
47. There was general agreement to the importance of this draft article. There was
also general agreement that its provisions needed to be strengthened to better reflect
the stronger commitments found in similar provisions of the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women.
48. The Committee noted that General Comment 23 of the Committee on the
Elimination of Discrimination against Women provided some useful guidance in
relation to this article.
49. There was general support to strengthen the chapeau of subparagraph (a) by
replacing the opening phrase actively promote an environment in which with the
phrase ensure that.
50. There was general support to change the term citizens to persons in
subparagraph (a) and subsequent subparagraphs. This would be consistent with the
term used in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women, and also reflect that in many States some non-citizens (such as
permanent residents) have the right to vote and therefore no lesser standard should
be accepted for persons with disabilities.
51. To ensure that there would be no expectation that States should grant extra
political rights to persons with disabilities that others did not enjoy, the Committee
agreed to add the phrase on an equal basis with others. That would ensure that no
State would be obliged to give non-citizens with disabilities a right to vote if noncitizens
in general would not be entitled to vote.
52. A proposal to add a phrase and materials to the end of the chapeau received
no opposition. The phrase is intended to clarify that all aspects of voting and
participation in political life should be accessible.
53. Following the discussion, subparagraph (a) now reads:
(a) ensure that persons with disabilities can effectively and fully
participate in political and public life on an equal basis with others [and in
accordance with national laws outlining political rights for all people], directly
or through freely chosen representatives, including the right and opportunity of
persons with disabilities to vote and be elected, by ensuring that voting
procedures, facilities and materials: [...]
Subparagraphs (a) (i), (a) (ii) and (a) (iii)
54. There was general support on the inclusion of these three subparagraphs,
although a number of technical issues were raised.
55. In particular, the Committee noted that a secret ballot might not always be
technically possible for some persons with disabilities. Wording such as in
accordance with the law might help, and the phrase without intimidation might
also be an important qualifier. Such language could help protect people with
disabilities who are not able to engage in a completely secret ballot.
56. It was generally agreed that any assistance provided to people with disabilities
should only be at their request and provided by someone they trust. It was also noted
that political rights are broader than the right to vote in elections and several
delegations wished to express specifically the right to hold office and participate
effectively in the political process.
57. There was also agreement to make some minor changes to make the language
consistent with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
58. Following the discussion, the subparagraphs now read:
(i) are appropriate, accessible and easy to understand and use;
(ii) protect the right of persons with disabilities to vote by secret ballot, [in
accordance with law and without intimidation] in elections, and public
referenda; to stand for elections and to hold office and perform all public
functions at all levels of government;
(iii) guarantee the free expression of the will of persons with disabilities as
electors and to this end, where necessary, allow assistance in voting on their
request and by a person of their own choice;
59. The Committee considered a number of linguistic and structural proposals that
strengthened and broadened subparagraph (b), and also brought it more closely into
alignment with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
60. In particular, there was general agreement to delete the term as appropriate
from subparagraph (b), as it might be misinterpreted as a qualifier. There was a
preference by the Committee for the broader term public affairs, rather than
public administration, in order to be consistent with other international treaties.
There was general agreement to add the word international to the settings in
which persons with disabilities could participate.
61. Following the discussion, subparagraph (b) now reads:
(b) [actively promote an environment in which] [ensure that] persons
with disabilities, without discrimination and on a basis of equality between
men and women, can effectively and fully participate in the conduct of public
affairs, and shall encourage their participation in public affairs, including to:
(i) participate in non-governmental organizations and associations
concerned with the public and political life of the country, including the
activities and administration of political parties;
(ii) form and join organizations of persons with disabilities to represent
persons with disabilities at international, national, regional and local
62. The Committee noted that there was general agreement at its fourth session
that the elements of subparagraph (c) should be consolidated in draft article 4,
paragraph 2, along with several other provisions from other paragraphs that have
general application across the whole convention. Some delegations noted at that
meeting, however, that the subparagraph needed to be retained in the context of
political participation. The Committee noted that these elements should be
considered at a future meeting from the perspective of the balance of text and
63. Divergent views were expressed on the phrase in particular those concerning
issues relating to persons with disabilities. Some delegations proposed to delete the
phrase in order to broaden the paragraph to take into account participation in matters
wider than those concerning disability issues. Other delegations, however,
considered that there was a need to ensure the primacy of the voice of persons with
disabilities in relation to disability issues.
64. Participation in the implementation and evaluation of policy, in addition to
decision-making, was also emphasized by several States, in particular in relation to
Draft article 19
65. There was considerable discussion in the Committee of the relationship and
overlap between draft articles 19 and 20, as well as, to a lesser extent, draft articles
13 and 15.b The Committee noted that draft articles 19 and 20 are essentially two
sides of the same coin. There was general support to merge the two draft articles.
66. A number of delegations pointed out that accessibility was not just about
access to buildings. Accessibility also related to, for example, accessible
information. It was important to ensure that this draft article did not slant towards
one type of accessibility. There was also support to include accessibility as a
principle in draft article 2.
67. There was general support to redraft the beginning of paragraph 1 to delete
superfluous text, in order to make the goal of this draft article clear.
b See A/59/360, annex II, paras. 9 and 10.
68. The Committee noted that the words the focus of these measures in the last
line of the chapeau might have a limiting effect. Delegations agreed to give this
issue more thought.
Subparagraphs 1 (a) and (b), 2 (a), (b), (c) and (d)
69. There was considerable discussion on the question of whether subparagraphs
1 (a) and (b) and 2 (a), (b), (c) and (d), which generally refer to public buildings,
facilities and services, should also extend to privately owned or developed
buildings, facilities and services intended for public use. There was general
agreement that access to buildings should be viewed from a who uses the building
perspective, rather than from a who owns the building perspective.
Subparagraphs 2 (e) and 2 (g)
70. The Committee noted the general agreement at the fourth session to
incorporate these two paragraphs into paragraph 1 and paragraph 2 of draft article 4,
71. Draft article 19 currently reads:
1. States Parties to this Convention shall take appropriate measures to
ensure accessibility for persons with disabilities by identifying and eliminating
obstacles to the built environment to transportation, information and
communications, including information and communications technologies, and
other services, in order to ensure the capacity of persons with disabilities to
live independently and to participate fully in all aspects of life. [The focus of]
these measures shall include, inter alia: [...]
(b) the construction and renovation of public buildings, roads and other
facilities for public use, including schools, housing, medical facilities, indoor
and outdoor facilities and publicly owned workplaces;
(c) the development and remodelling of public transportation facilities,
communications and other services, including electronic services.
2. States Parties shall also take appropriate measures to:
(a) provide in public buildings and facilities signage in Braille and
easy-to-read and understand forms;
(b) provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including
guides, readers and sign language interpreters, to facilitate accessibility to
public buildings and facilities;
(c) develop, promulgate and monitor implementation of minimum
national standards and guidelines for the accessibility of public facilities and
(d) [encourage/ensure] private entities that provide public facilities and
services to take into account all aspects of accessibility for persons with
(f) promote universal design and international cooperation in the
development of standards, guidelines and assistive technologies [...];
(h) provide training for all stakeholders on accessibility issues facing
persons with disabilities.
72. The draft article was referred to the facilitator (Damjan Tatic, Serbia and
Montenegro) for further discussion.
Draft article 20
73. The Committee noted that there were three important issues under
consideration in the discussion of this article: accessibility in the broadest sense (as
dealt with in draft article 19); personal mobility of the individual; and liberty of
74. The Committee also noted that there were considerable overlaps between draft
article 20 and draft article 19, along with elements of other draft articles of the
Convention. There was general support, therefore, to move elements of draft article
20 to other articles and to delete draft article 20 altogether. In that regard, the
Committee noted that there was general agreement at its fourth session that
subparagraph (c) should be incorporated into draft article 4.b
75. Some delegations were, however, concerned that deletion of the article might
result in the loss of essential elements.
76. On the issue of liberty of movement, the Committee noted that this was a right
guaranteed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. There
was general agreement that that right should not be ignored. Some delegations noted
instances in which the liberty of movement of persons with disabilities was
adversely affected by, for example, being denied birth registration or a passport.
Language on this issue had been proposed and would need to be further considered
by the Committee.
Draft article 21
77. There was general agreement in the Committee that draft article 21 should
address the right to health and that a separate draft article 21 bis should address
habilitation and rehabilitation. The Committee did not resolve, however, whether to
retain medical, or health-related, rehabilitation in article 21, or to delete all
references to it and deal with it in article 21 bis. The Committee agreed to consider
this issue, and the proposed texts for article 21 bis further, at a later date.
78. It was also generally agreed that the concept of health, as defined by the World
Health Organization, was a very broad one and that this needed to be reflected in the
text (or a footnote). That could be achieved by using the descriptive language of the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
79. A proposal was made that persons with disabilities should not be denied food,
water or life support, which was supported by a number of delegations.
80. There was some support to strengthen the chapeau by replacing the word
recognize with guarantee.
81. The chapeau currently reads:
States Parties [recognize/guarantee] that all persons with disabilities have the
right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental
health without discrimination on the basis of disability. States Parties shall
ensure no person with a disability is deprived of that right, and shall take all
appropriate measures to ensure access for persons with disabilities to
[affordable/free] health and [medical/health-related rehabilitation services]. In
particular, States Parties shall: [...]
Subparagraphs (a) to (m)
82. There was broad agreement that the subparagraphs should be strengthened by
the deletion of qualifying words such as strive, although there was also limited
support for retaining the idea of progressive realization in the text.
83. It was also generally agreed that in many of the subparagraphs there was a
great deal of duplication of material contained in other articles in the draft
convention text and that others were too prescriptive. There were consequently
many proposals to streamline or delete subparagraphs including:
(a) Subparagraph (d), which was too prescriptive and, in any case, if
retained, more properly would belong in the new proposed draft article 21 bis on
(b) Subparagraphs (f) and (m), on which there was general agreement at the
fourth session to consolidate into draft article 4;b
(c) Subparagraph (g), on the grounds that the Committee agreed at its fourth
session to consider general language on the training of professionals dealing with
persons with disabilities, but without prejudice to its inclusion or ultimate placement
in the text;b and
(d) Subparagraph (l), which not only replicates part of subparagraph (j), but
also is covered in article 14.
84. The Committee noted that where text was to be deleted or merged, there was a
need to ensure that important elements were not lost and were incorporated into the
text when the same issues were considered again under other articles. It would be
necessary, for example, to reconsider whether the confidentiality of medical records
was adequately covered under draft article 14.
85. Some delegations proposed the deletion of the words including sexual and
reproductive health services from subparagraph (a), but there was broad support for
retaining it. The Committee noted that this phrase was not intended to alter or
prejudice the general policies of Governments in regard to family planning or
related matters, to the extent that these were permitted by national legislation of
general application. The phrase was a statement on the right to be free of nondiscrimination,
and its effect was that persons with disabilities would need to be
treated on an equal basis with others in this area.
86. On subparagraph (a), there was general agreement to include the concept of
population-based public health programmes, and general support to replace the word
citizens with persons.
87. On subparagraph (b), there was support to include the concept of early
detection and treatment.
88. There was also support for adding rural areas after peoples own
communities in subparagraph (c).
89. There were divergent views on whether subparagraph (e) should deal with
prevention of secondary disabilities, the prevention of disabilities more generally, or
be deleted entirely on the grounds that its provisions were already covered
adequately by preceding subparagraphs.
90. There was also some support for proposals to add references to the
compatibility of research with respect for human rights and the protection of human
life to subparagraph (f), if this subparagraph were retained.
91. There was also general support to merge subparagraphs (h), (i) and (j).
92. Some delegations considered that subparagraph (k) should be deleted because
the issue would be covered by draft article 12 bis. Other delegations preferred to
retain it here.
93. Following the discussion, paragraphs (a)-(j) of the text read:
(a) provide persons with disabilities with the same range and standard
of [affordable/free] health [and rehabilitation services] as provided other
persons, [including sexual and reproductive health services] and populationbased
public health programmes;
(b) provide those health and [medical/health-related rehabilitation]
services needed by persons with disabilities specifically because of their
disabilities [including early identification and intervention as appropriate];
(c) endeavour to provide these health and [medical/health-related
rehabilitation] services as close as possible to peoples own communities [and
in rural areas] [...];
(e) [provide programmes and services to prevent and protect against
[secondary] disabilities, including among children and the elderly;]
(f) [encourage research and the development, dissemination and
application of new knowledge and technologies that benefit persons with
disabilities [that are compatible with the respect for human rights and the
protection of human life]] [...];
(h/i/j) require health professionals to provide care of the same quality to
persons with disabilities as to others by, where necessary, raising awareness of
the human rights, dignity, autonomy and needs of persons with disabilities
through training and the promulgation, in consultation with other concerned
parties, of ethical standards for public and private healthcare.
94. The draft article was referred to the facilitator (Mutaz Hyassat, Jordan) for
Draft article 22
95. There was general agreement by the Committee to take a rights-based
approach to this article. The Committee also noted that the text of the Convention
should not derogate from existing international instruments, such as International
Labour Organization conventions.
96. The Committee expressed a general preference for States to recognize the
importance of access by persons with disabilities to the open labour market, in order
to empower and enable them to participate fully in society. General concern was
expressed about the potential for exploitation of persons with disabilities. The
balance of views in the Committee on sheltered workshops was that such settings
were undesirable because of the potential for segregation from the community and
their conditions of employment. There was agreement that there should be further
consideration of that point.
97. The Committee noted that there was a degree of overlap between this article
and articles 17, 19 and 21 bis (habilitation or rehabilitation for the purposes of
98. There was general agreement that the chapeau should deal with general
principles, and that the subparagraphs should deal with measures to realize those
principles. With that in mind, the Committee agreed to delete subparagraph (a) and
to incorporate its concept in the chapeau. There was also considerable support for
the idea that employment of persons by the public sector should be mentioned,
because of the role the public sector should play in setting an example for the
private sector, and that this idea could be included in the chapeau. This could allow
for the deletion of subparagraph (i).
99. The chapeau now reads:
States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to work, [on an
equal basis with others]; this includes the opportunity to gain a living by work
that they freely choose or accept in a labour market and work environment that
is open, inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities, [with a view to
promoting equal opportunity and treatment of persons with disabilities,] and
protecting them from poverty. States Parties [shall set an example of
employment of persons with disabilities] and take appropriate steps to
safeguard and promote the realization of this right, including measures to:
100. There was general support for dividing subparagraph (c) into two
subparagraphs, the first dealing with paid employment and the second with selfemployment.
101. Subparagraph (c) now reads:
(c) promote [equal] employment opportunities and career advancement
for persons with disabilities in the open labour market, as well as assistance in
finding, obtaining and maintaining [and returning to] employment;
(c) bis promote opportunities for self-employment, entrepreneurship and
starting ones own business.
102. There was no agreement on the issue of quotas in subparagraph (d). However,
there was support for using less specific language on affirmative action or special
103. Subparagraph (d) now reads:
(d) encourage employers to hire persons with disabilities, such as
through affirmative action programmes, incentives [and other appropriate
policies, support and special measures];
104. There was general support to amend the text of subparagraph (e) so that it now
(e) ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided to persons with
disabilities in the workplace;
105. Some delegations proposed that this paragraph could be deleted, while others
supported its retention.
106. The Committee noted the possibility that subparagraph (g) could either be
merged with subparagraph (c) or deleted and covered under proposed draft article
107. There was support for including references to conditions of hiring or
recruitment and for safe and healthy working conditions in subparagraph (h). In
view of its importance, there was also firm support for the placement of this
subparagraph immediately under the chapeau as a new subparagraph (a).
108. Subparagraph (h), now subparagraph (a), currently reads:
(a) protect through legislation persons with disabilities with regard to
conditions of recruitment, hiring and employment, continuance of
employment, career advancement, working conditions, including equal
remuneration for work of equal value and equal opportunities, safe and healthy
working conditions, and the redressing of grievances, and to ensure that
persons with disabilities are able to exercise their labour and trade union
109. There was general support for deleting subparagraph (j) and to consider the
first part of it under draft article 5.
110. The draft article was referred to the facilitator (Dan Oren, Israel) for further
Draft article 23
111. There was general agreement that the order of paragraphs 1 and 2 should be
reversed, so that adequate standard of living (para. 2) would be addressed ahead
of social security. There was also a suggestion to create two separate draft articles
out of draft article 23, one on an adequate standard of living, and the other on
social security. The Committee agreed to reflect further on this proposal.
112. The Committee discussed options to replace or complement social security
in order to find a broader phrase to encapsulate the assistance provided by a State,
and to ensure that there was no discrimination against persons with disabilities in
the provision of that assistance. Suggestions included social insurance (currently
used in this draft article), social assistance, social support, social safety nets
and social protection. The Committee noted that further reflection on this issue
113. The paragraph, now paragraph 2, currently reads:
2. States Parties recognize the right of all persons with disabilities to [social
security, including social insurance/social assistance/social support/social
safety nets/social protection], and to the enjoyment of that right without
discrimination on the basis of disability, and shall take appropriate steps to
safeguard and promote the realization of this right, including measures to:
114. Proposals for this subparagraph included specifying that the services, devices
and other assistance referred to in this provision should be offered free of charge,
a proposal that had also been made in the context of other draft articles. There was
resistance to this specific proposal, although it was agreed that delegations were
committed to the concept of affordability.
115. There was general support to replace necessary with appropriate in this
subparagraph, in order to ensure consistency with the rest of the draft convention.
116. Subparagraph (a) currently reads:
(a) ensure access by persons with disabilities to appropriate services,
devices and other assistance for disability-related needs;
117. There was general support for the deletion of the references in this
subparagraph to particular groups of persons with disabilities, and it was noted that
the incorporation of women and girls (children) into the draft convention was
being examined by the facilitators on those issues. The difficult situation of many
aged persons with disabilities was also highlighted, but there was no agreement as to
how this issue should be handled.
118. The Committee noted that taking into account the needs and perspectives of
persons with disabilities was addressed in draft article 4, paragraph 2. It was agreed
that the Committee needed to ensure that the draft convention did not unduly
duplicate coverage of specific issues, and there was general support to delete that
119. Subparagraph (b) currently reads:
(b) ensure [equal] access by persons with disabilities, [particularly
women and girls with disabilities and the aged with disabilities,] to [social
security/social assistance/social support/social safety net/social protection]
programmes and poverty reduction strategies;
120. Many delegations suggested that the defining element of this subparagraph
was the situation of persons with disabilities living in poverty.
121. There was some support for severe and multiple to be deleted from this
subparagraph, largely because of the difficulty of defining severe and multiple
and of identifying which categories of persons with disabilities they encompassed.
The provision would then simply refer to persons with disabilities. This was not
an unopposed view, however, and other proposals included referring in particular
to severe and multiple disabilities.
122. There was general support to retain the reference to families in this
subparagraph, as families were particularly relevant in the context of this draft
123. Subparagraph (c) currently reads:
(c) ensure access by persons with disabilities, and their families, living
in situations of poverty to assistance from the State to cover disability-related
expenses (including adequate training, counselling, financial assistance and
respite care), which should not become a disincentive to develop themselves;
124. There was general support to replace governmental with public. It was
also agreed that the rest of this subparagraph, from including, would be deleted.
125. Subparagraph (d) currently reads:
(d) ensure access by persons with disabilities to public housing
126. There was general support to delete this subparagraph on the basis that it had
the potential to be unduly prescriptive. Some delegations, however, wanted to retain
it, and there was a suggestion that this subparagraph should be limited to disabilityrelated
127. The Committee noted that in some countries, and under some religions, life
insurance was not looked on favourably. If this subparagraph was to be retained,
there was a need to ensure that it did not in any way imply or create a right to life
insurance in those countries where it was not permitted.
128. Some delegations suggested that the reference to health insurance under this
subparagraph properly belonged under draft article 21. This issue needed to be
considered further by the Committee in order to ensure an integrated text.
129. In relation to paragraph 2, some delegations suggested that the listing of
elements of an adequate standard of living was not necessarily helpful, and could
thus be deleted. Other delegations, however, supported such a list, and in particular
supported the reference to access to clean water.
130. The paragraph, now paragraph 1, currently reads:
1. States Parties recognize the right of all persons with disabilities to an
adequate standard of living for themselves and their families, [including
adequate food, clothing, housing [and access to clean water]], and to the
continuous improvement of living conditions, and shall take appropriate steps
to safeguard and promote the realization of this right [without discrimination
on the basis of disability]. [States Parties shall ensure that persons with
disabilities have access to clean water on an equal basis with others].
Draft article 24
131. There was unanimous support for this article, and many valuable proposals to
strengthen it need to be reflected on further.
132. There was general support to deal with the issues of participation in leisure,
sport and recreation, and participation in cultural life separately, but both in the
133. There was general support to include a number of proposals to broaden the
scope of the article. These included tourism and the right of children with
disabilities to play.
134. There was a proposal to include a provision on participation in religious life in
draft article 24 or elsewhere in the text. The general feeling, however, was not to
include such a provision in this article.
Paragraph 1 chapeau
135. There was general support to include the phrase on an equal basis with
others in the chapeau of paragraph 1, so that it now reads:
1. States Parties recognize the right of all persons with disabilities to take
part on an equal basis with others in cultural life, and shall take all appropriate
measures to ensure that persons with disabilities:
136. There was general support to replace the word community with society in
the subparagraph. There was general agreement that this subparagraph is about
enjoyment of a right, rather than being a measure to implement a right. There was
general agreement, therefore, to a proposal to make the subparagraph 1 bis rather
than 1 (a).
137. It now reads:
1 bis. States Parties shall also take appropriate measures to enable persons
with disabilities to have the opportunity to develop and utilize their creative,
artistic and intellectual potential, not only for their benefit, but also for the
enrichment of society.
Subparagraphs (b), (c) and (d)
138. There was general support to shorten these subparagraphs and to include text
related to tourism. They now read:
(b) enjoy access to cultural materials in all accessible formats;
(c) enjoy access to television programmes, films, theatre, and other
cultural activities, in all accessible formats;
(d) enjoy access to places for cultural performances or services, such as
theatres, museums, cinemas, libraries and the tourism services, and, as far as
possible, enjoy access to monuments and sites of national cultural
139. A proposal to replace intellectual property rights with copyright received
strong support, but there was no general agreement.
140. The text now reads:
2. States Parties shall take all appropriate steps to ensure that laws
protecting [intellectual property rights] [copyright] do not constitute an
unreasonable or discriminatory barrier to access by persons with disabilities to
cultural materials, while respecting the provisions of international law.
141. There was no agreement on this paragraph, with some delegations proposing to
delete it and others to retain it.
142. A compromise formula was proposed that gained support from those who
supported retention of the paragraph. That proposal reads:
3. Persons with disabilities shall be entitled, on an equal basis with others,
to recognition and support of their specific cultural and linguistic identity,
including sign languages and deaf culture.
Paragraph 4 chapeau
143. There was general support to amend the chapeau to make it clear that the
paragraph does not refer to an existing right to participate in sport and leisure
activities. It now reads:
4. With a view to enabling persons with disabilities to participate on an
equal basis as others in recreational, leisure and sporting activities, States
Parties shall take appropriate measures to:
Subparagraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d)
144. Some delegations proposed to remove the word mainstream from
subparagraph (a) so that disability-specific activities would not be ruled out. Others
thought, however, that because an overall aim of the convention is the inclusion of
persons with disabilities in the mainstream, the deletion would not be appropriate.
An alternative approach was suggested to include a reference to these disabilityspecific
activities in subparagraph (b).
145. There was general support for inclusion of the concept of participation at local
or municipal levels.
146. The subparagraphs currently read:
(a) encourage and promote the participation, to the fullest extent
possible, of persons with disabilities in mainstream sporting activities at all
(b) ensure that persons with disabilities have an opportunity to
organize, develop and participate in disability-specific sporting and
recreational activities and encourage the provision of appropriate instruction,
training and resources in support that is available to other participants;
(c) ensure that persons with disabilities have access to sporting and
recreational and tourism venues, and that persons with disabilities have equal
access to participating in sporting activities within the education system;
(c) bis children with disabilities have equal access to participation in
play, recreation, and leisure and sporting activities, including those in the
(d) ensure that persons with disabilities have access to services from
those involved in the organization of recreational, tourism, leisure and sporting
147. The draft article was referred to the facilitator (Monthian Buntan, Thailand)
for further discussion.
Draft article 24 bis
148. The facilitator for draft article 24 bis (Mariana Olivera West, Mexico)
introduced a revised draft designed to take into account the different proposals and
views that had been expressed during the third session of the Ad Hoc Committee.
149. There was general agreement that international cooperation was a vital factor
in the convention and would play an important part in assisting developing States.
150. There were different views expressed, however, on whether international
cooperation should be dealt with in a separate article, and to what extent
international cooperation should be detailed in the text of the draft convention.
151. Some delegations expressed concern that States Parties may be able to use a
provision on international cooperation as a justification for non-implementation of
the convention. The Committee noted, however, that it could be made clear in the
final report of the conference adopting this convention that the international
cooperation obligation did not detract from the obligation of States to implement the
152. The Committee noted that article 4 of the Convention on the Rights of the
Child provided one model. In addition, international cooperation was mainstreamed
throughout the text of that Convention.
153. The Chair noted that it was likely that this convention would be accompanied
by a detailed action plan, so a framework for international cooperation should be set
out in the convention. Rule 22 of the United Nations Standard Rules on the
Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities provided detailed
guidance that could be considered in the formulation of an action plan.
154. The proposal was referred to the facilitator, who was requested to conduct
Draft article 25
155. There was general agreement that the convention needed to include an article
on both national and international monitoring.
156. There was general agreement that monitoring mechanisms needed to be
effective. This was particularly important because of the lack of effective
implementation of the existing rights for persons with disabilities.
157. Secondly, there was agreement that the monitoring provisions of this
convention should be at least as good, and preferably better, than those of other
treaties. Being the most recent human rights convention, its monitoring provisions
will be the most up to date and will have the potential to serve as an example for the
158. The Committee noted the work being done to reform the existing treaty bodies,
and the report being prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human
Rights for the seventh session of the Ad Hoc Committee. While there was
agreement that these would usefully inform the Committees discussion on
monitoring provisions, many delegations also noted that the Committee should not
be held hostage by time frames imposed by the reforms (this work had been going
on for many years and might go on for some time yet). The Committee might have
to decide on the monitoring provisions of this convention while still waiting for the
outcomes of the reform work. It will be important, therefore, to ensure that the
provisions are flexible enough to take account of later reforms and to come up with
language that preserves that approach.
159. Thirdly, there was general support for the involvement and full participation of
civil society, of both persons with disabilities and their representative organizations,
in all levels of the monitoring process.
160. Most delegations were only able to express a preliminary view, and they look
forward to further discussions at the next session, when they will have had an
opportunity to consider the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for
Human Rights to the Committee, and other proposals.