DPI Disability Convention Update - DayS 1 - 6 short reports
RI is pleased to share the Daily Summaries - much longer reports
from the first three days of discussions during the Ad Hoc Committee on the
Rights of Persons with Disabilities. These are available on the RI website: http://www.riglobal.org/un/index.html
as well as on the UN website: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7summary.htm
Sites updated daily/regularly so bookmark them.
DPI Disability Convention Update - Day 6
January 23, 2006
7th Session of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities
The Chair opened the morning session marking the start of week 2 of the 7th Session.
Presentation on Monitoring by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
The Chair gave the floor to Jane Connors, from the OHCHR, who presented a report on monitoring. The paper reviews the objectives of monitoring, the principles that should inform any monitoring mechanism and reviews the international monitoring mechanisms currently operating in the field of human rights. The paper highlights lessons learned from those mechanisms, and innovations that have been introduced as a result. It also provides information on relevant improvements and possible innovations to those mechanisms. It also refers to the experience of monitoring mechanisms in other areas, which may be of relevance for the consideration of Ad Hoc Committee. Following the summary provided by Jane Connors, delegations asked a number of questions and made various comments about monitoring.
(This report is available in English at: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc7documents.htm)
Article 23 (Respect for the Home and the Family)
The Chair resumed informal negotiations on Article 23 which started on Friday, with the primary focus relating to the brackets around certain terms and phrases in the article. It went on for the rest of the day!
Delegations focused considerable attention (hours and hours!) on the phrase appearing in brackets in Article 23(a) which references the right of PWD to "experience their sexuality". Many delegations argued for the inclusion of the phrase, including Canada. Others said this phrase must be removed, with one delegation noting it might affect the "susceptibilities" of PWD to certain kinds of conduct! Many delegations underscored the importance of ensuring that the article addresses the myths and stereotypes around the sexuality of PWD and therefore supported very specific language on this topic, which, however, continued to make some delegations uncomfortable.
In Article 23(1)(b), square brackets appear around the term "men and women' in the context of the provision on marriage and founding a family. Some delegations supported the deletion of the term "men and women" and the insertion of the language used in other parts of the convention, "persons with disabilities." The use of the term "men and women" in this provision would serve to qualify both marriage and parenthood to men and women.
Attention was also given to the two references in the Article to "national laws, customs, and traditions," with many delegations supporting the deletion of this phrase on the basis that it could be interpreted as justifying discriminatory practices against PWD.
Delegations seemed to be supportive of language in the text protecting the right of PWD to retain their fertility and some suggested more explicit language that would explicitly prohibit the practice of forced sterilization of PWD.
Some delegations expressed concern over any possible interpretations of this article as broadening marriage to same-sex couples. The Chair did explain that this was for individual countries to address in their domestic laws, and the convention was not purporting to specifically address the issue of same-sex marriage, but to preserve rights on an equal basis with others.
The Chair allowed interventions from NGOs and National Human Rights Institutions and adjourned the meeting. He will provide a summary on discussions for Article 23 on Tuesday morning.
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