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United Nations Working Group Drafts International Treaty On Disability Rights
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 26, 2004

UNITED NATIONS-- A United Nations Working Group on a Disability Convention has completed its draft of the international treaty designed to protect the rights of people with disabilities around the world.

The Working Group met to draft the treaty over a two-week period that ended on January 16.

Representatives from 27 countries worked on the wording of the treaty, which covers equal rights, education, accessibility, independent living, employment, the rights of children with disabilities, and full participation of people with disabilities in society, according to a committee statement.

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 established the Working Group last year to examine hundred of pages of recommendations submitted by governments, expert meetings, UN bodies, regional commissions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The Ad Hoc Committee is expected to negotiate the details this coming June.

Last June, the Bush administration announced that the United States would not sign any international treaty protecting people with disabilities from discrimination.

Ralph Boyd, U.S. assistant attorney general for civil rights, told the Ad Hoc Committee, that the U.S. would support the panel in its work, but would not sign the final document. Boyd said President George Bush believed such rights should be covered by national measures, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, rather than through international treaty.

The UN reported last month that 600 million people around the world have disabilities and that 25 percent of the global population is affected by disability in one way or another.

Related resource:
UN Enable - The United Nations Focal Point on Persons with Disabilities


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