UNITED NATIONS

Press Release



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HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
WELCOMES THE FORTHCOMING ADOPTION
OF NEW CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS
OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

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Geneva, 23 August 2006 –. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, today expressed support for the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is being considered by the General Assembly’s Ad Hoc Committee in New York.

“I wish to join my voice to those that welcome the forthcoming adoption of the new International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”, the High Commissioner said. “The existing human rights standards and mechanisms have not been sufficiently effective in offering genuine protection to persons with disabilities – and as a result about ten percent of the world’s population is exposed to the most extreme forms of denial and violation of the full range of human rights”.

The High Commissioner said the adoption of the new treaty will contribute to the establishment of stronger systems of national human rights protection. She added that experience shows that independent, impartial and adequately resourced national human rights institutions will help States to ensure effective implementation of the rights of persons with disabilities.

“I look forward to collaborating with States and civil society to support the new human rights monitoring mechanism, enabling it to provide useful advice to States and to help raise awareness, including of the need to address the stereotypes and prejudices that deny persons with disabilities enjoyment of their human rights”, Ms. Arbour said.

Like the existing human rights expert bodies, she added, the new treaty monitoring mechanism should also work closely with inter-governmental mechanisms – from the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council to the Commission on Social Development – and with UN agencies, programmes and funds. That would help promote the international cooperation needed to facilitate the implementation by States of their obligation to respect and ensure to all persons with disabilities the enjoyment of all their human rights.

The Convention will elaborate the human rights of persons with disabilities, in areas such as equality, non-discrimination and equal recognition before the law; liberty and security of the person; accessibility, personal mobility and independent living; right to health, work and education; and participation in political and cultural life.

The General Assembly’s Ad Hoc Committee is meeting from 14 to 25 August, when the draft text will be considered for adoption. The proposed treaty, under negotiation since 2001, would be the first new human rights treaty of the 21st century and would mark a major shift in the way the world’s 650 million people with disabilities are treated.
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For further information, please contact:
Josť Luis Diaz
Spokesperson
OHCHR
Tel: + 41 22 917 9242
E-mail: jdiaz@ohchr.org