UN committee drafting treaty to protect persons with disabilities to open session

19 May 2004

A United Nations committee negotiating a treaty to protect the rights of 600 million people worldwide with disabilities is set to open its third session next week in New York.

A United Nations committee negotiating a treaty to protect the rights of 600 million people worldwide with disabilities is set to open its third session next week in New York.

The two-week session of 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 opens on 24 May and will run through 4 June.

The breakthrough treaty would create a legally binding framework for protecting and promoting the rights of persons with disabilities, going beyond the traditional concept of “physical access” to broader issues of equal access, social opportunities, and political, economic and social development. Ratifying Governments would be legally bound to treat persons with disabilities not just as victims or a minority, but as subjects of the law with enforceable rights.

The Committee will work on the basis of a draft text shaped by its Ad Hoc Working Group in January. The policy-makers, disabled persons’ organizations and human rights experts that make up the Group presented a 25-article draft convention which covers such issues as non-discrimination in all areas, including equality before the law and the right to work. It also addresses specific concerns, such as education, accessibility, living independently, the rights of children with disabilities and full participation in society.

A unique feature of the treaty is that the process is open, consultative and accessible to persons with disabilities and their organizations, as they work together with government experts at the United Nations.

 

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