UN working group drafts text of international disability convention

19 January 2004

Taking a step forward on the path to full equality for disabled persons, a United Nations working group has drafted the text of an international treaty protecting their rights.

In a two-week meeting that wrapped up on Friday, representatives from 27 countries hammered out the text, which covers non-discrimination in all areas, including equality before the law and the right to work.

The draft, which will form the basis of negotiations later this year, also addresses specific concerns, such as education, accessibility, standards of living, living independently, the rights of children with disabilities and full participation in society.

The General Assembly's Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities will convene for a negotiating session from 24 May to 4 June.

The UN said last month that some 600 million people globally suffer disabilities and the day-to-day life of 25 per cent of the world's population is touched in some way by the condition.

The Working Group, established last year by the Ad Hoc Committee, comprised policy-makers, disabled persons' organizations and human rights experts. They examined hundreds of pages of recommendations submitted by governments, expert meetings, UN bodies, regional commissions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

 

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