Monitoring of the implementation of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities : note / by the Secretary-General
|UN Document Symbol||E/CN.5/2006/4|
|Convention||Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities|
|Document Type||Note by the Secretary-General|
|Subjects||Persons with Disabilities, Equal Opportunity|
Economic and Social Council
18 November 2005
Commission for Social Development
8-17 February 2006
Item 3 (b) of the provisional agenda*
Follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development:
review of relevant United Nations plans and programmes
of action pertaining to the situation of social groups
Monitoring of the implementation of the Standard
Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for
Persons with Disabilities
Note by the Secretary-General
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 1993.1 These 22 Rules provide a
framework to further implement the goals of equality and full participation of
disabled persons in social life and development as set forth in the World Programme
of Action concerning Disabled Persons, adopted by the General Assembly in its
resolution 37/52 of 3 December 1982.2 In section IV, paragraph 2, of the Standard
Rules, it was stipulated that the Rules should be monitored within the framework of
the sessions of the Commission for Social Development. The appointment of a
Special Rapporteur to monitor their implementation was also envisaged in that
paragraph. In March 1994, the Secretary-General appointed Bengt Lindqvist
(Sweden) Special Rapporteur on Disability of the Commission for Social
Development. Mr. Lindqvist prepared three reports for the consideration of the
Commission during his mandate,3 which was renewed in 1997 and in 2000.4 In
June 2003, the Secretary-General appointed Sheikha Hessa Al-Thani (Qatar) Special
Rapporteur for the period 2003-2005. The Special Rapporteur submitted an oral
report to the Commission for Social Development at its forty-second session.5 At its
forty-third session, in February 2005, the Commission considered the report of the
Special Rapporteur on the monitoring of the implementation of the Standard Rules
during the 20 months since her appointment.6 By its resolution 2005/9 of 21 July
2005, the Economic and Social Council welcomed the work of the Special
Rapporteur, decided to renew her mandate through 31 December 2008, and
05-61151 (E) 091205
requested the Special Rapporteur to submit to the Commission for Social
Development an annual report on the monitoring of the implementation of the
Standard Rules. The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the
Commission the annual report of the Special Rapporteur.
1 Available at www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/dissre00.htm.
2 A/37/351/Add.1 and Add.1/Corr.1, sect. VIII; available at www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/
3 A/52/56, available at www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/dismsre0.htm; E/CN.5/2000/3, annex, at
www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/disecn003e0.htm; and E/CN.5/2002/4, at www.un.org/esa/
4 Economic and Social Council resolutions 1997/19 (www.un.org/documents/ecosoc/res/1997/
eres1997-19.htm) and 2000/10 (www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/ecosoc2000-10.htm).
5 Available at www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/srcsocd42.htm.
6 E/CN.5/2005/5, available at www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/srreportdec04.htm.
Report of the Special Rapporteur on Disability of the
Commission for Social Development on monitoring of the
implementation of the Standard Rules on the Equalization
of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities
I. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1â9 4
II. Global survey on Government actions for the implementation of the Standard
Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities . . . . . . . . 10â120 5
III. Activities and achievements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121â140 19
IV. The Panel of Experts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141â144 21
V. Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145â149 21
1. This is my third report to the Commission for Social Development on the
progress of Member States in the implementation of the Standard Rules on the
Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities. As on previous
occasions, I am awed by the responsibility that you have entrusted to me, and I hope
to be able to carry it out.
A. Guiding principles
2. Throughout my work and regardless of the nature of the activities, there have
been two main principles that guided my work. The first is the approach taken in
carrying out the tasks and activities, and the second is the overarching goal towards
which all activities are aimed.
3. During the past year, I have striven to adopt a constructive and affirmative
approach, preferring to highlight the positive and celebrate the successes, while at
the same time emphasizing the need for greater achievement and more concerted
The overall goal
4. While continuing to monitor, assess, evaluate and advocate for more
meaningful and deeper implementation of the Standard Rules, I have not lost sight
of the fact that the ultimate goal of all the work being done is the equalization of
opportunities for persons with disabilities.
5. Equalization of opportunities is a universal concept measured against universal
norms, which should apply to all cultures and countries equally. The challenge is
that we live in an increasingly diverse world where levels of development, cultural
values, attitudes, norms, needs and services differ from one region to another, from
one country to another, and even within the same country.
6. While some countries are trying to perfect the conditions of equalization of
opportunities for their disabled populations, there are other countries in which most
have not been able to achieve basic human rights. This makes the job of monitoring
the implementation of the Standard Rules extremely challenging.
7. Added to this are the complexity and diversity within the disability movement
itself and among the different types of disabilities. In many cases accessibility takes
on a different meaning for people with different disabilities living in different
geographical areas. This recognition of diversity has given rise to a richer culture
within the disability movement, but it also requires that we monitor the equalization
of opportunities in different ways by applying a variety of methods and looking at it
from different angles and dimensions.
Scope of the report
8. The present report builds on those of previous years. It is based on the vision
of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with
Disabilities, and encompasses the duties of the Special Rapporteur relating to the
monitoring of Governmentsâ implementation of the Rules, as detailed in section IV
of the Rules.
9. The present report is in two parts. The first deals with the results of the global
survey on Government actions for the implementation of the Standard Rules. The
purpose is to present a preliminary picture of the results. This is the first
comprehensive survey to assess Governmentsâ moral and political commitment to
the implementation of the Standard Rules since their unanimous adoption by the
international community. By targeting all Member States and two disabled personsâ
organizations in each country, the survey differs from its predecessors. It also differs
from previous surveys by addressing each of the Standard Rules separately. The
second part of the report deals with the activities and achievements of the past year.
II. Global survey on Government actions for the
implementation of the Standard Rules on the Equalization
of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities
10. The idea of conducting a comprehensive survey was conceived at the start of
the Special Rapporteurâs mandate in 2003. However, it was not possible to do it at
the time owing to practical, financial and logistical constraints.1
11. Work on the survey began with the design of the questionnaire in June 2004.
At the same time, a number of measures and steps were taken to guarantee the best
A. Purpose and goals
12. The purpose and goals of the survey are as follows:
(a) Determine the level and degree to which the Standard Rules have been
(b) Increase Governmentsâ awareness of the Standard Rules and draw their
attention to their moral and political obligation to implement them;
(c) Present to Governments possible steps to implement the Standard Rules
by listing them among the responses to each question;
(d) Identify the demographic, economic, social and political characteristics
of those countries that have succeeded in implementing the Rules;
(e) Chart the progress made by each country in the implementation of the
Standard Rules and areas requiring further work;
(f) Identify the challenges to implementing the Standard Rules;
(g) Lay the foundations for a comprehensive database relating to
Government actions on the implementation of the Standard Rules and use it in
future monitoring activities;
(h) Identify the strengths and weaknesses in the implementation of the
Standard Rules worldwide;
(i) Seek the participation of disabled personsâ organizations and solicit their
opinions with regard to Government programmes and efforts to implement the
(j) Use the survey as a tool to encourage dialogue at the national and
regional levels between disabled personsâ organizations and Governments around
the issues of equalization of opportunities. The survey may also serve as a guide to
B. Target population
13. Consistent with its unanimous adoption and its reflection upon the moral and
political commitment of Governments around the world, the survey covered all 191
14. In recognition of the role that disabled personsâ organizations play as
motivators, advocates and participants in the implementation of the Standard Rules,
and in keeping with the vision of the Standard Rules that requires the participation
of such organizations and the equalization of opportunities, two disabled personsâ
organizations from each country were included in the survey.
C. Survey instrument
15. The survey is a comprehensive, detailed document, inclusive of every
procedure Governments have agreed to implement in fulfilment of their
commitment to the equalization of opportunities. Each question included a checklist
relating to the procedure, and respondents were requested to tick applicable
D. Administering the survey
16. A period of three months was given to fill out the questionnaire and return it to
the office of the Special Rapporteur. Distribution began in November 2004 and the
deadline was set for 31 January 2005.
17. To include the widest number of disabled personsâ organizations, the help of
such organizations as the World Blind Union, the World Federation of the Deaf,
Inclusion International and the Center for International Rehabilitation was enlisted.
18. The deadline was extended until the end of February after the office of the
Special Rapporteur received only a limited number of responses. Respondents were
asked to include the legislation adopted and to elaborate on any other measures not
included in the checklist provided.
19. No specific questions were cited for Rules 14 and 15. Instead, âpoliciesâ and
âlegislationâ were included as alternatives for the other rules.
20. To ensure space for free expression, a section was included to allow
respondents to state their opinions and impressions on all of the issues raised, as
well as the survey itself.
E. Preliminary results of the survey
21. All told, 191 questionnaires were sent to Governments and 382 to disabled
22. A preliminary audit of the returns resulted in the rejection of 16 questionnaires
owing to incomplete responses or missing pages. Some 73 Governments and
41 disabled personsâ organizations responded to the questionnaire, providing
detailed information about 114 countries, or 60 per cent of all Member States.4 No
responses were received from 77 countries, or 40 per cent of Member States.5
23. Some countries with a federal system of Government felt unable to respond, as
each province or state had its own legislation, plans and programmes.6
24. What is most notable is the high response rate from the Arab region. At
86 per cent, this is the highest rate of response from that region in the history of
25. Respondents were asked about the measures taken to raise awareness in
society about persons with disabilities, their rights, their needs, their potential and
26. Some 64.0 per cent of respondents stated that their countries had adopted
national awareness-raising policies, while 58.8 per cent responded that they had
27. Concerning the adoption of programmes and the drafting of media guidelines
for raising public awareness, 61.4 per cent and 30.7 per cent, respectively,
responded that they had done so. Additionally, 52.6 per cent of the responding
countries said they had trained personnel in raising public awareness; 58.8 per cent
had disseminated printed materials; 37.7 per cent had integrated awareness-raising
into the school curriculum; and 53.5 per cent had worked on educating the public
about the rights, needs and potential of persons with disabilities. The survey also
revealed that 75.4 per cent of countries that responded routinely consult and
collaborate with organizations of persons with disabilities.
28. Many countries also provided examples of the measures taken to raise public
awareness, such as designating a national day and celebrating the International Day
of Disabled Persons (3 December).
29. In response to the question about the nature and scope of the awareness-raising
materials, 67.5 per cent stated that they covered all types of disabilities, including
developmental and psychosocial disabilities; 70.2 per cent indicated that materials
were inclusive of the social, political and development rights of persons with
disabilities; and 69.3 per cent responded that the materials included the right to
services, full participation and equal opportunities.
30. On the issue of the potential of persons with disabilities, 64.9 per cent
responded that their materials raised awareness of the issue; 66.7 per cent indicated
that their materials included contributions of persons with disabilities to social,
cultural, scientific and economic spheres; and 67.5 per cent responded that their
media content described persons with disabilities in positive terms, considered the
rights of persons with disabilities, and gave ample weight to issues of rights,
diversity, dignity and equality.
31. In 15.8 per cent of responding countries, the media promote attitudes of pity
and compassion or negative stereotypes, in addition to discounting the role, needs
and even the existence of persons with disabilities.
32. Respondents were asked whether Governments provided effective medical
care to persons with disabilities.
33. Of the countries that responded to the survey, 60.5 per cent indicated they had
adopted policies to ensure access to effective medical care for persons with
disabilities; 44.7 per cent had passed legislation; 56.1 per cent had introduced
programmes; 64.9 per cent had allocated funds for medical care; and 56.1 per cent
had trained medical personnel to deliver appropriate medical programmes.
34. Additionally, 64.9 per cent indicated that they had made medical care
accessible to persons with disabilities. The proportion of countries that consulted
with disabled personsâ organizations was 60.5 per cent, and 56.1 per cent of
responding countries stated that they provided persons with disabilities with
accessible information on medical services.
35. Many countries also indicated other measures, such as setting up occupational
36. In response to the question about measures relating to the health of persons
with disabilities, 71.1 per cent stated that they had taken steps to raise awareness
about the causes of disability; 78.1 per cent had worked on improving pre- and postnatal
care; 65.8 per cent had implemented early detection; and 64.9 per cent had
implemented early intervention measures.
37. Respondents were asked whether Governments ensured the provision of
rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities, to reach and sustain their
optimum level of independence and function.
38. The survey revealed that 56.1 per cent of countries have adopted national
policies on rehabilitation; 49.1 per cent have passed legislation; 59.6 per cent have
introduced programmes; 64.0 per cent have allocated financial resources; 65.8 per
cent have trained personnel in rehabilitation and 71.9 per cent have adopted
measures to ensure access to rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities.
The proportion of countries that consult disabled personsâ organizations is
71.1 per cent.
39. With respect to the inclusiveness of rehabilitation services, 59.9 per cent
responded that they offered such services to people with all types of disabilities;
77.2 per cent to children with disabilities; 69.3 per cent to women with disabilities;
67.5 per cent to persons with disabilities on low and limited incomes; 57.9 per cent
to all geographical areas and segments of societies; and 62.3 per cent regardless of
race and ethnicity.
40. Of those countries that responded, 59.6 per cent and 57.9 per cent,
respectively, indicated that they provided rehabilitation services to organizations of
persons with disabilities and to the families of persons with disabilities; while 46.5
per cent and 47.4 per cent, respectively, offered community-based services and
covered the needs of all types of disabilities. Fourteen per cent offered no
41. On the planning, design, delivery and evaluation of rehabilitation services,
70.2 per cent said that they were done with the help of medical personnel and
50.0 per cent with the participation of families of persons with disabilities; 60.5 per
cent said that rehabilitation programmes extended to schools, educational
institutions and teachers; and 40.4 per cent acknowledged the involvement of the
communities where persons with disabilities live. With regard to the participation
and consultation of disabled personsâ organizations in planning, designing and
executing rehabilitation programmes, 55.3 per cent responded positively while
17.5 per cent stated that no consultation and collaboration mechanisms existed.
42. Respondents were asked whether Governments provided support services,
including assistive devices, to help persons with disabilities to increase their level of
independence in their daily living and to exercise their rights.
43. The survey revealed that 50.9 per cent have adopted policies relating to
support services; 50.0 per cent have passed legislation; 46.5 per cent have allocated
financial resources; 69.3 per cent supply persons with disabilities with the necessary
devices and equipment; and 63.2 per cent do so in consultation with disabled
44. As for services provided by Governments in response to needs in the areas of
technology, personal assistance, interpretation services and others, 61.4 per cent
responded that they provided such services to children; 55.3 per cent to women; and
56.1 per cent to low-income and working-class persons with disabilities.
45. Additionally, 43.9, 47.4, 46.5, 47.4 and 53.5 per cent, respectively, responded
that services were provided to all geographical areas, to all socio-economic
segments, to all races and ethnicities, to all religious denominations, and for all
types of disabilities. By comparison, 24.6 per cent responded that there were no
support or assistive services, or technological devices of any kind, in their countries.
46. Respondents were asked whether Governments recognized the importance of
accessibility in the process of the equalization of opportunities in all spheres of
society, through programmes to make the physical environment accessible and
measures to provide access to information and communication.
47. The survey revealed that 56.1 per cent of the responding countries have
adopted policies, 52.6 per cent have passed legislation, 43.0 per cent have
introduced programmes and 42.1 per cent have allocated financial resources to make
the physical environment accessible.
48. In addition, 36.0 per cent have civil engineers and architects who are trained in
access issues; 54.4 per cent have worked to increase access awareness; 41.2 per cent
have implemented accessibility programmes; and 62.3 per cent have involved
organizations of persons with disabilities in the planning and implementing of
access measures. Some 17.5 per cent of countries have no measures relating to
49. On the question of access to public buildings and institutions, 56.1 per cent
said that provisions were made for access to schools and hospitals, community,
medical and rehabilitation centres, clinics, public libraries, theatres and recreational
centres; 57.0 per cent indicated that accessibility measures included all public
buildings and government offices; 45.6 per cent stated that accessibility extended to
the outdoor physical environment such as sidewalks, car parks and pedestrian
streets; 36.8 per cent said that transportation facilities (land, rail, air and sea) were
accessible; and 31.6 per cent indicated that no provisions for access were available
in their countries.
50. Concerning information, the survey revealed that it is available in an
accessible form to persons with disabilities in 36.0 per cent of the responding
countries; to their families in 35.1 per cent; to disabled personsâ organizations in
44.7 per cent; and to society at large in 50.0 per cent. Some 30.7 per cent of
respondents said that accessible information was not available to any segment or in
51. Concerning the measures taken by Governments to ensure the accessibility of
information to persons with disabilities, the results showed that 45.6 per cent have
adopted policies; 35.1 per cent have passed legislation; 46.5 per cent have
introduced programmes; and 46.5 per cent have allocated financial resources.
52. Moreover, 36.0 per cent have trained interpreters; 47.4 per cent have increased
awareness of accessibility with regard to information; 37.7 per cent carry out
accessibility programmes; and 54.4 per cent consult disabled personsâ organizations.
Some 21.1 per cent of respondents have not adopted any of the measures indicated
53. In terms of the inclusiveness of accessibility measures, 60.5 per cent indicated
that information was accessible to blind and visually impaired persons; 48.2 per cent
to deaf/blind persons; and 54.4 per cent to deaf and hearing impaired persons.
Accessible information is available to persons with developmental disabilities in
40.4 per cent and to persons with psychosocial disabilities in 33.3 per cent of
54. On the question of the nature and format of accessible information, the survey
revealed that 69.3 per cent provide reading materials in Braille; 62.3 per cent
provide reading materials in audio format; 29.8 per cent provide news magazines in
both Braille and audio format; 64.0 per cent have information available in sign
language; and 21.1 per cent have reading material available for persons with
developmental disabilities. By comparison, 18.4 per cent of respondents indicated
that there were no accessible materials in any form in their countries.
55. Respondents were asked whether Governments recognized the principle of
equal primary, secondary and tertiary educational opportunities in integrated
settings and took measures to ensure that equal opportunity was an integral part of
the educational system.
56. With respect to the measures taken by Governments to achieve the inclusion of
persons with disabilities in mainstream education, the survey revealed that 65.8 per
cent have adopted policies; 55.3 per cent have passed legislation; 69.3 per cent have
adopted inclusion programmes; and 68.4 per cent have allocated financial resources.
Furthermore, 61.4 per cent of responding countries have taken measures to
rehabilitate the school environment to meet the needs of children with disabilities;
73.7 per cent have trained teachers and school administrators to deal with the needs
of children with disabilities; and 60.5 per cent have provided schools with
educational materials, equipment and facilities for the use of children with
57. Disabled personsâ organizations are involved in the planning and execution of
inclusion measures in 58.8 per cent of the countries. In 7.9 per cent of responding
countries, none of the inclusion measures mentioned above have been taken.
58. Concerning the provision of education to persons with disabilities, 87.7 per
cent of the responding countries provide education to children with disabilities; 67.5
per cent to women with disabilities; 67.5 per cent to low-income and working-class
persons with disabilities; 65.8 per cent to persons with disabilities from all races and
ethnicities; 68.4 per cent to people of all religious denominations; 58.8 per cent to
all communities (urban, rural, agricultural, tribal, indigenous, migrant, refugee and
illegal aliens); and 60.5 per cent to people with all types of disabilities.
59. In terms of the methods, means and techniques used to deliver education to
persons with disabilities, 69.3 per cent of the countries employ sign language
interpreters; 79.8 per cent use educational materials in Braille; 59.6 per cent use
audio format; 67.5 per cent use appropriate materials for persons with intellectual
disabilities; and 63.0 per cent use educational programmes specific to children who
are unable to be integrated into the mainstream educational system.
60. Eleven per cent of the countries surveyed indicated that they had no specific
programmes or plans for the inclusion of children with disabilities into education,
and did not use any of the methods, means and techniques mentioned above.
61. The survey asked about Government recognition of the principle that persons
with disabilities must be empowered to exercise their human rights, particularly in
the field of employment, and must have equal opportunities for productive and
gainful employment in the labour market.
62. The responses revealed that 59.6 per cent of countries have adopted policies,
61.4 per cent have passed legislation, 57.0 per cent have adopted programmes and
55.3 per cent have allocated financial resources for this purpose; 66.7 per cent have
trained persons with disabilities to help them find employment; and 39.5 per cent
rehabilitate and restructure the physical, administrative, social and work
environment to accommodate persons with disabilities in the workplace.
63. Responses also showed that 56.1 per cent raise awareness among relevant
administrations and managers about issues affecting persons with disabilities in the
workplace, 27.2 per cent provide accessible transportation to and from work and
48.0 per cent consult disabled personsâ organizations about issues of disability and
the workplace, while 14.9 per cent have no measures relating to the employment of
persons with disabilities.
64. Regarding equal opportunities for employment, in 44.7 per cent of the
countries persons with disabilities have equal prospects of being hired; in 50.0 per
cent they have equal prospects for promotion; in 56.1 per cent they have equal
access to work benefits; in 54.4 per cent they have equal prospects for raises and
pay increases; and in 55.3 per cent they have equal access to training programmes.
Income maintenance and social security
65. Respondents were asked whether Governments fulfilled their responsibility to
provide social security and income maintenance for persons with disabilities.
66. Of those countries that responded to the survey, 49.1 per cent have adopted
policies, 50 per cent have passed legislation and 54.4 per cent have allocated
financial resources for that purpose, 45.6 per cent provide persons with disabilities
with information regarding social security and income maintenance and 46.5 per
cent consult with disabled personsâ organizations, while 27.2 per cent have no such
67. The survey revealed that those who suffer income cuts due to temporary
disability receive income support in 50.9 per cent of the countries, while those
whose disability is due to on-the-job injuries or accidents enjoy income support in
29.8 per cent.
68. Income support is provided to individuals with physical disabilities, sensory
disabilities, intellectual disabilities and psychosocial disabilities by 58.8, 51.8, 56.1,
and 44.7 per cent, respectively, of the countries that responded. Women with
disabilities receive income support in 55.3 per cent of responding countries, and the
parents of children with disabilities in 43 per cent.
69. In 37.7 per cent of countries, income support is provided to the caretakers of
persons with disabilities. It is provided to all persons with disabilities regardless of
their social, economic, religious, ethnic or racial background in 46.5 per cent of
countries. There is no income support for any of the above-mentioned segments of
the population in 21.1 per cent of responding countries.
Family life and personal integrity
70. Respondents were asked whether Governments promoted the right of persons
with disabilities to personal integrity and ensured that laws did not discriminate
against them with respect to family life, sexual relationships, marriage and
71. Results revealed that 39.5 per cent of countries have adopted policies, and 40.4
per cent have passed legislation, 36.0 per cent have allocated financial resources and
43.0 per cent have raised public awareness with regard to the right to family life
including parental rights for persons with disabilities, and 41.2 per cent have raised
awareness among persons with disabilities themselves.
72. Monitoring and follow-up mechanisms to identify infringements of the rights
of persons with disabilities have been set up in 31.6 per cent of the countries that
responded, and 51.8 per cent consult disabled personsâ organizations.
73. With respect to the full enjoyment of those rights, 75.4 per cent reported
participation in family life, 74.4 per cent reported enjoyment of sexual rights, 81.6
per cent reported enjoyment of marital rights, 79.8 per cent reported enjoyment of
parental rights, 74.6 per cent reported enjoyment of the right to privacy and 66.7 per
cent reported access to guidance and counselling for persons with disabilities. No
such rights exist for persons with disabilities in 12.3 per cent of responding
74. Respondents were asked whether Governments ensured that persons with
disabilities were integrated into cultural activities and could participate on an equal
75. The results showed that 41.2 per cent have adopted policies to ensure the full
inclusion of persons with disabilities in cultural life, 33.3 per cent have passed
legislation, 41.2 per cent have adopted programmes and 45.6 per cent have allocated
76. Of the countries that responded, 48.2 per cent have raised public awareness of
the cultural rights of persons with disabilities, while 50.0 per cent have raised
awareness of those rights among persons with disabilities themselves. Some 49.1
per cent of responding countries provide persons with disabilities with accessible
spaces to enable them to participate in cultural life, while 36.0 per cent provide
them with accessible information about cultural activities.
77. Moreover, 38.6 per cent of countries have made cultural activities accessible to
persons with disabilities and 60.5 per cent have consulted disabled persons
organizations regarding measures and procedures to be taken to make cultural
activities fully accessible to persons with disabilities.
78. The percentage of countries that have not taken steps to ensure participation in
and access to cultural life by persons with disabilities stands at 26.3 per cent.
Recreation and sports
79. Respondents were asked about measures taken by the State to ensure that
persons with disabilities have equal opportunities to participate in recreation and
80. Country responses ranged as follows: 50.9 per cent have adopted policies to
ensure the right of persons with disabilities to participate in sports and recreational
activities; 36.8 per cent have passed legislation; 60.5 per cent have allocated
financial resources; 55.3 per cent have raised public awareness; and 53.5 per cent
have raised awareness of those rights among persons with disabilities themselves.
81. Accessible venues and spaces to practise and participate in sports, accessible
information regarding sports and recreational activities and accessible sporting
activities were reported by 52.5, 49.6 and 64.6 per cent of the countries,
respectively. In 14.2 per cent of the countries, no measures have been taken to
ensure the participation of persons with disabilities in sports and recreational
82. In terms of the level of participation of persons with disabilities, 59.3 per cent
of countries reported participation at the community level, 70.8 per cent reported
participation at the national level and 68.1 per cent reported participation at the
83. Among those countries that responded, 47.8 per cent reported persons with
disabilities participating as amateur athletes while 24.8 per cent reported them
participating as professional athletes. Some 19.5 per cent reported that no
opportunities for persons with disabilities to participate in athletics and recreational
sports were available at any of the levels mentioned above.
84. Asked about the accessibility of sports, recreational and athletic venues, 54.9
per cent of the respondents said that they were accessible.
85. Respondents were asked about the measures taken by Governments to
encourage equal participation of persons with disabilities in the religious life of
86. The survey revealed that 30.1 per cent have adopted policies, 23.9 per cent
have passed legislation, 23.0 per cent have adopted programmes and 23.0 per cent
have allocated financial resources for that purpose; 32.7 per cent have raised public
awareness of the religious rights of persons with disabilities; and 28.3 per cent have
raised awareness of those rights among persons with disabilities themselves.
87. With respect to the accessibility of places of worship and religious events, 29.2
per cent of the countries stated that they were accessible; 35.4 per cent provided
accessible information regarding religious services and events; and 35.4 per cent
ensured that religious services and events were accessible to persons with
88. On the question of accessibility to religious services for all persons with
disabilities, 54.9 per cent responded positively.
Information and research
89. Respondents were asked whether Governments collected and disseminated
information on the living conditions of persons with disabilities and promoted
comprehensive research on all aspects, including obstacles that affect the lives of
persons with disabilities.
90. Results indicate that 42.5 per cent of countries have adopted policies on this
matter, 27.4 per cent have passed legislation, 41.6 per cent have adopted
programmes and 42.5 per cent have allocated financial resources.
91. In addition, 44.2 per cent of Governments have programmes to raise awareness
of the need for statistics and information; 69.0 per cent collect data and information;
60.2 per cent collaborate with disabled personsâ organizations; 46.0 per cent
disseminate statistics and information to users and researchers; and 45.1 per cent
update their statistics periodically. Only 17.7 per cent of countries have no
programmes for collecting and disseminating statistics and conducting research into
92. Asked about the existence of systems for collecting, processing, analysing and
publishing data about disability, 55.8 per cent responded positively while 44.2 per
cent said that they had no such system.
93. On the areas covered by disability statistics, 58.4 per cent have statistics
dealing with the prevalence and incidence of disability; 72.6 per cent have statistics
on the types of disabilities; and 55.8 per cent have statistics broken down by gender,
age, background, social and economic situation and geographical location. In 47.8
per cent of countries, statistics cover the needs of persons with disabilities; in 53.1
per cent they deal with the programmes and services provided to persons with
disabilities; and in 42.5 per cent they include the availability, scope and coverage of
94. Standard of living statistics for persons with disabilities are available in 52.2
per cent of the countries. In 58.4 per cent of the countries, statistics cover the
educational levels of persons with disabilities; in 29.2 per cent they cover
employment; and in 24.1 per cent there are statistics on the expense incurred by
having a disability.
95. Some 20.4 per cent of countries have statistics about the effect of social
policies on persons with disabilities; 16.8 per cent monitor the type of research
being undertaken and the parties conducting it; and 41.6 per cent collect data on
disabled personsâ organizations, their programmes, services and coverage.
96. Respondents were asked what economic policies Governments have adopted to
create equal opportunities for persons with disabilities.
97. Of the countries that responded, 43.4 per cent have adopted economic policies
specific to persons with disabilities; 40.7 per cent have passed legislation; 62.8 per
cent offer financial support to projects relevant to persons with disabilities; and 49.9
per cent have created a fund to support grass-roots projects and programmes for
persons with disabilities. Additionally, 43.4 per cent have involved disabled
personsâ organizations in financial planning while 18.6 per cent have not taken any
Coordination of work
98. Respondents were asked what actions Governments had taken to establish and
strengthen national coordinating bodies on disability.
99. The survey found that 61.9 per cent of countries have established permanent
coordination committees; 49.6 per cent have bestowed a legal status on those
committees; 45.1 per cent have allocated budgets to them; 66.4 per cent have
included organizations of persons with disabilities in the committees; and 46.0 per
cent require gender balance and representation of all types of disabilities in the
committees. By comparison, 16.8 per cent of responding countries have not taken
steps to implement Rule 17.
100. With respect to the effect that these measures have had on the actual situation,
69.0 per cent said that their committees had representation by persons with
disabilities; 60.2 per cent said that their committees had legal status; 51.3 per cent
said that all types of disabilities were represented on their committees; and 34.5 per
cent said that their committeesâ membership was gender-balanced. Finally, 32.7 per
cent said that their committees received adequate funding.
Organizations of persons with disabilities
101. Respondents were asked what actions Governments had taken to ensure and
encourage the formation and participation of organizations to represent persons with
disabilities at the local, regional and national level.
102. Initial analysis of responses shows that 45.1 per cent of countries have adopted
policies to encourage the formation and participation of disabled personsâ
organizations; 45.1 per cent have passed legislation; and 46.0 per cent have
launched programmes to empower and support disabled personsâ organizations. In
addition, 35.4 per cent have set administrative guidelines; 55.8 per cent have
allocated financial resources; and 44.2 per cent have granted consultative status with
the Government to disabled personsâ organizations.
103. Of the countries that responded, 61.9 per cent collaborate with disabled
personsâ organizations on all matters relating to persons with disabilities and 55.8
per cent have given them legal and representational status, while 11.5 per cent of
countries have yet to adopt any measures.
104. Regarding the role that disabled personsâ organizations play, the survey
revealed that in 67.3 per cent of countries they offer advice and guidance on
policies; in 77.0 per cent they identify priorities; in 62.8 per cent they collaborate in
planning; in 54.0 per cent they collaborate in monitoring and evaluation; and in 77.0
per cent they are actively involved in all awareness-raising efforts. Disabled
personsâ organizations play no significant role in a small number of countries,
6.2 per cent.
105. Respondents were asked to what extent Governments ensure adequate training
of personnel involved in the planning and provision of programmes and services
concerning persons with disabilities.
106. The survey found that 39.8 per cent of countries have adopted policies on
personnel training; 24.8 per cent have passed legislation; 54.9 per cent have adopted
training programmes; 39.8 per cent have set professional standards for personnel;
46.9 per cent have allocated financial resources for the training of personnel; 46.0
per cent have engaged in capacity-building of personnel; and 46.0 per cent involve
disabled personsâ organizations in their training; while 22.1 per cent have not taken
any measures with respect to training.
National monitoring and evaluation of disability programmes in the
implementation of the Rules
107. In relation to the continuous monitoring and evaluation of the implementation
of national programmes and services concerning the equalization of opportunities
for persons with disabilities, the survey had the following results.
108. Of the countries that responded, 46.9 per cent have adopted an official
definition of disability; 39.9 per cent have established a national monitoring body;
and 47.8 per cent have worked on collecting data on disability. In addition, 47.8 per
cent have conducted a national census; 23.9 per cent have established a national
registry; 47.8 per cent have used data collected by public institutions and service
providers; and 47.8 per cent have used data collected by disabled personsâ
organizations. By comparison, 18.6 per cent have not taken any of the above
measures to monitor equalization of opportunities.
109. As for the scope of the monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, 43.4 per cent
of responding countries said that they covered the size and prevalence of disability;
54.9 per cent that they covered types of disabilities; 48.7 per cent that they covered
age distribution; 46.0 per cent that they covered disability according to gender; and
44.2 per cent that they covered disability according to geographical location.
Additionally, 38.1 per cent reported that their monitoring activities included
disabled personsâ organizations; 38.1 per cent included service provision
organizations; 33.6 per cent included service providers; and 24.8 per cent included
110. With regard to the use of information from monitoring activities, 55.8 per cent
reported using it to formulate policy; 51.3 per cent to amend and improve services;
and 49.6 per cent to review and restructure programmes. Information is published
and disseminated in 36.3 per cent of countries, while in 47.8 per cent it is used in
awareness-raising and education. Furthermore, 47.8 per cent use information from
monitoring activities in annual and periodical reports at the national level; 37.2 per
cent in research; and 4.4 per cent for other purposes.
Technical and economic cooperation
111. When asked about measures to improve living conditions of persons with
disabilities in developing countries through technical and economic cooperation,
68.1 per cent of the responding countries said that they were signatories to
international agreements and treaties; 51.3 per cent that they were party to bilateral
and multilateral cooperation agreements; and 61.9 per cent that they were either
donors or recipients of financial aid.
112. Furthermore, 67.3 per cent referred to cooperation in the context of
exchanging information, best practices and the transfer of knowledge; 51.3 per cent
referred to technological exchanges; 56.6 per cent reported participating in
international development programmes; and 67.3 per cent reported taking part in
regional and international initiatives. The proportion of countries that did not take
any measures in this area was 13.3 per cent.
Minorities, refugees and other marginalized groups
113. The survey incorporated specific questions concerning minorities, refugees
and other marginalized segments of society.
114. Of the countries that responded, 33.9 per cent include these groups in their
measures, policies, programmes and services; 21.4 per cent have adopted
programmes specific to the needs of persons with disabilities from these groups; and
25.9 per cent assist the families of persons with disabilities from these groups.
115. With respect to services, 39.3 per cent reported taking measures to ensure that
services are accessible to these groups and 25.0 per cent said that persons with
disabilities belonging to these groups, and their families, were represented in
disabled personsâ organizations.
116. Additionally, 41.1 per cent of respondents said they took measures to ensure
that members of these groups had access to education; 24.1 per cent said that they
provided access to employment; and 27.7 per cent that they provided appropriate
117. Protection for women and children is provided in 23.2 per cent of countries,
and 23.2 per cent allocate financial resources to the issues and concerns of
marginalized groups. No measures have been taken in 37.8 per cent of countries.
F. Conclusions regarding the survey
118. The results of this survey represent a wealth of information that requires a
great deal of further analysis and explication. I wanted to share these preliminary
results. I will be working, along with the team that supports me, the members of the
Panel of Experts and interested stakeholders, on analysing and explicating these
results to build on and enrich existing data.
119. During the coming months, countries that have not responded will be urged to
do so. Priorities for the next phase of work will be set in accordance with the
information gleaned from the survey.
120. Efforts will be renewed to involve United Nations agencies dealing with
health, education, employment, empowerment of women, population, social
development, child rights and human rights.
III. Activities and achievements
121. In addition to the survey, the past year included activities at all levels to
monitor and further the implementation of the Standard Rules for the Equalization
of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.
122. A parliamentary process was launched to raise awareness and build capacity
among parliamentarians and legislators in the Arab region. The current year saw the
convening of two of the 14 symposiums to be held over the next three years. The
first symposium was held in Amman in March 2005;8 the second will be held in
Beirut in December.
123. A child-to-child awareness-raising programme was developed for use with
schoolchildren, and educational authorities were encouraged to implement it.
124. In my capacity as Special Rapporteur, I participated actively in conferences,
symposiums, workshops, meetings and international and regional initiatives relating
to the rights and equal opportunities of persons with disabilities.9
125. Reinforced by objective monitoring, advocacy can be a most effective tool to
encourage Governments, policymakers and decision makers to adopt the vision of
equalizing opportunities for persons with disabilities.
126. Advocacy is the main purpose for regional consultations and country visits, in
which the Special Rapporteur meets with Government officials at the highest levels
and with representatives of international development organizations and disabled
personsâ organizations. Efforts in this domain in 2005 were as follows.
127. The Special Rapporteur held a meeting with the President of the General
Assembly to discuss the inclusion of disability issues in the final document of the
2005 World Summit held in September. The General Assembly included disability
in paragraphs 129 and 142 of the document (resolution 60/1). This result could not
have been achieved without the cooperation of the permanent representatives, heads
of regional delegations and disabled personsâ organizations who supported the
128. A statement presented to the Commission on Human Rights in April called on
the Commission to give disability issues a higher priority and to allow more time for
discussing them during its meetings. The statement also called on United Nations
monitoring bodies to include disability in their monitoring activities, paying
particular attention to the issues of women and children in their review of country
129. In a meeting with the Government of Tunisia, the Special Rapporteur
suggested that accessibility issues be taken into consideration during the
refurbishment and restoration of vacation spots in coastal regions, and that those
regions be marketed as destinations for persons with disabilities.
130. In a meeting with the Ministry of Finance in Guinea, the Special Rapporteur
suggested that the Government could translate its political commitment to persons
with disabilities into reality by allocating appropriate funds.
131. In a meeting with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland, it was suggested
that Finland, along with other Nordic countries and in cooperation with the World
Federation of the Deaf, could lend financial, technical and technological support to
assist other regions in the formulation and development of policies, programmes and
services for deaf persons. A concept paper and proposal are being prepared for this
132. The work of the United Nations development agencies and funds has been a
concern for the Special Rapporteur since the beginning of her mandate. Measures
are being taken, through dialogue and inclusion in activities and programmes, to
place disability among the priority areas of organizations dealing with womenâs
issues, childrenâs rights, population, health, education and nutrition.
133. A questionnaire was designed and sent to the regional representatives of each
organization asking them about their mandate, programmes, projects and activities
as they relate to persons with disabilities, and the percentage of budgetary allocation
that goes towards issues of disability. A few responded, but most declined, stating
that those issues were not part of their mandate.
134. During the year, meetings were held with the regional directors and executive
secretaries of the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization, the United Nations Childrenâs Fund and the
United Nations Development Fund for Women, and a number of officials from the
United Nations Development Programme.
C. Country visits and regional consultations
135. In many developing countries the Government is the major, if not the sole,
actor when it comes to setting policies, enacting legislation and delivering
programmes. Owing to the weakness of advocacy efforts by civil society in some
countries and the lack of sufficient resources, issues relating to disabilities have
often been pushed to the bottom of the list of Government priorities.
136. In the last 12 months, I conducted several country visits. Some were in
response to invitations from Governments or disabled personsâ organizations, while
others were initiated on the basis of information and research or were based on the
need to speed up, support or push forward certain initiatives or programmes.
137. The aim of country visits and regional consultations has always been to open
the channels of communication with Governments regarding the implementation of
the Standard Rules, and to encourage dialogue between disabled personsâ
organizations and their Governments. Other activities include conducting,
monitoring and assessing activities and witnessing first-hand the effect of such
implementation or lack thereof.
138. Country visits for 2005 included Northern and Western Africa (Morocco,
Tunisia, Guinea), Northern Europe (Sweden and Finland) and Southern and Eastern
Africa (United Republic of Tanzania and South Africa).
139. During these visits, meetings were held with (a) Government representatives
including ministers, deputy ministers and parliamentarians; (b) disabled personsâ
organizations and federations; (c) development organizations; (d) rehabilitation
centres, schools for children with disabilities and health institutions and centres;
(e) programmes of particular significance (e.g. Finnish school for severely disabled
children preparing to join mainstream education); and (f) media representatives.
140. The focus of the visits was (a) to assess the implementation of the Standard
Rules and monitoring of the areas of strength and weakness; (b) to listen to issues
raised by disabled personsâ organizations and discuss those concerns with relevant
Government officials; (c) to observe country experiences and characteristics in
dealing with issues of disability; and (d) to share successful experiences and good
practices wherever possible.
IV. The Panel of Experts
141. As the Special Rapporteur on Disability, I would not be able to fulfil the
responsibilities entrusted to me by the Commission on Social Development without
the help, cooperation, advice and counsel of organizations of persons with
disabilities and the Panel of Experts representing those organizations.
142. Two meetings of the Panel of Experts were held in 2005. The first was
convened in Amman in March 2005 in conjunction with the Arab Parliamentary
Symposium on Legislating Disability Issues in the Arab World, where members of
the Panel shared their country experiences with legislating on disability. The second
was held in New York in August 2005 in conjunction with the sixth session of the
Ad Hoc Committee on the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities.
143. Panel members made suggestions on the draft of my statement to the
Commission on Human Rights and encouraged their country ambassadors to support
the inclusion of disability in the 2005 World Summit Outcome.
144. The support of the Panel, and the regular communication between its members
and me have been instrumental to the successes of the past year.
145. My previous report included a number of challenges and
recommendations to Governments and disabled personsâ organizations. During
the past year, most of the activities concentrated on trying to meet these
challenges and to urge Governments, relevant organizations and other
stakeholders to respond to the recommendations.
146. The task is not an easy one and the challenges are many. Only through a
collaborative effort can we hope to create a world that will accept each of us
with our diverse abilities, our weaknesses and strengths, and to exercise that
diversity in creating such a world.
147. All of the achievements to date in this domain constitute only a small dent
in the huge task that needs to be accomplished. Making true progress towards
an enabling world requires the combined efforts of all at every level â
international, regional, national, communal and familial.
148. Finally, I would like to say that despite the commitment shown by
Member States to the promotion and protection of the rights and dignity of
persons with disabilities and to the equalization of opportunities for full
participation, most have not matched their political commitment with a
149. I invite and encourage all Member States to make contributions to the
United Nations Voluntary Fund for Disability in order to continue the valuable
work of promoting and advancing the equalization of opportunities for persons
1 At the practical level, it was necessary to review previous surveys and studies to identify their
issues, scope, design, management and the results obtained in order to build on their successes
and to learn from the problems they faced. It was also necessary to identify the content of the
questions and construct an instrument that validates and assesses the relevance of the responses.
At the logistical level, it was necessary to identify the target groups, their locations and the
means by which to communicate with them, and the time frame in which to do so.
2 Identifying addresses and locations of target groups; translating the questionnaire into several
languages along with the guideline for filling out and returning the questionnaire; obtaining
postage-paid envelopes for the questionnaires sent to disabled personsâ organizations;
encouraging Governments to hold seminars with their local organization to discuss the content
of the questionnaire and cooperate in filling it out; and finding and allocating the financial
resources needed to conduct such a survey. The questionnaire was translated into French,
Spanish and Arabic to remove any language barriers and allow for a smoother interaction with
the content of the questionnaire.
3 There was a total of 408 procedures and conditions which, taken together, would constitute the
ideal level of adherence to the spirit, letter and philosophy of the equalization of opportunities
and the Standard Rules. The questions were clearly worded and followed the order of the
Standard Rules themselves, beginning with questions relating to the preconditions, then the
target areas, and finally the implementation measures. Each question pertained to a Rule, and
beneath each Rule was a checklist pertaining to the implementation measures.
4 Two responses were obtained from Hong Kong and Palestine.
5 This could be due to the length of the questionnaire (23 pages), or the number (47) and diversity
of the questions. Another United Nations body had sent out its questionnaire on disability just
prior to the Special Rapporteurâs, which may have caused some confusion.
6 Responses were received from each region as follows:
â¢ Africa: 23 countries, or 53 per cent of the countries in the region
â¢ Asia: 21 countries, or 43 per cent of the countries in the region
â¢ Europe: 30 countries, or 65 per cent of the countries in the region
â¢ Latin America: 21 countries, or 64 per cent of the countries in the region
â¢ Arab States: 19 countries, or 86 per cent of the countries in the region.
7 A contributing factor could be the growing awareness in the region of disability issues,
generated by the adoption of an Arab Decade for Persons with Disabilities in May 2004 and the
establishment of a Parliamentary Committee on Disability within the Union of Arab Parliaments
together with the accompanying awareness-raising efforts. It is possible to speculate that
translating the questionnaire into Arabic and having a Special Rapporteur from the region may
also have contributed.
8 Participants included parliamentarians from the Council of Europe and the German and South
African parliaments, as well as representatives of international disability federations. The
symposium was instrumental in launching an inter- and intraregional, as well as intercultural
dialogue on the equalization of opportunities, together with a dialogue between persons with
disabilities and members of Arab parliaments. A number of parliamentary entities in other
regions have expressed interest in having the same process and I am hoping that this process
will expand to include parliaments in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
9 Activities this year included:
(a) Inclusion International conference on poverty and intellectual disability in Europe,
October 2005; contributed a paper on the same theme;
(b) Rehabilitation International conference on disability rights in a changing world, Manama,
November 2005; presented a paper entitled âDisability rights as human rights: Focus on
Women with Disabilitiesâ;
(c) Regional workshop on empowering women with disabilities, Manama, November 2005;
participated in designing and planning the workshop;
(d) Gladnet regional workshop on people with disabilities in the labour market, Manama,
November 2005; presented a paper entitled âThe right to work for persons with
(e) International conference of the World Federation of the Deaf, âOur Rights-Our Futureâ,
Helsinki, September 2005; presented a paper entitled âDisability rights in the context of
human rights instrumentsâ;
(f) Meeting with the Swedish consortium of disabled personsâ organizations in the context of
a country visit to Sweden initiated by that group, September 2005;
(g) International conference of the Global Forum for Health Research, âForum 9: Poverty,
Equity and Health Researchâ, Mumbai, India, September 2005. My office contributed a
presentation entitled âThe right to health: lessons from the disability movementâ;
(h) International conference on sports for persons with intellectual disabilities, Damascus,
(i) UNESCO flagship meeting on indicators for inclusion in education, Paris, June 2005. My
office contributed a presentation entitled âEnsuring inclusion in education for persons
(j) UNESCO meeting on education for all in the Arab States, Beirut, June 2005;
(k) United Nations regional consultative meeting on the international convention, Morocco,
(l) Meeting with Tunisian disabled personsâ organizations in the context of a country visit to
Tunisia, July 2005;
(m) Meeting with Guinean disabled personsâ organizations in the context of a country visit to
Guinea, July 2005;
(n) International conference on urban youth and children in the Middle East and North Africa;
participated in the World Bank-sponsored parallel sessions on children and youth with
disabilities, Dubai, May 2005;
(o) Regional conference on diagnosing, measuring and responding to autism, Dubai, March 2005.