© Independent Living Institute
Independent Living Institute,
Storforsplan 36, 10 tr
123 47 Farsta
Tel. 08-506 22 179
UN Standard Rules - Update Number 20
from Disability Awareness in Action
Read the Standard Rules
Implementation of the Standard Rules as seen by:"... approaches for funding in the disability field, are often fragmented and badly co-ordinated"
Governments | ILSMH | RI | WBU | WFD
Strategies for the future
As we reported last month, the UN Special Rapporteur, in his final report of his second period of monitoring, made several suggestions for future actions to promote implementation of the Standard Rules and human rights. Below are excerpts from Bengt Lindqvist's strategy paper on future UN involvement in promoting disability policy and human rights.
"The question now is what should happen next? How do we keep the momentum created during the '90s? One obvious conclusion is that we, from now on, must ensure that active work will be done in the areas of both social development and human rights. In this context it is a unique coincidence that the two UN Commissions, responsible for the development in the social field and in human rights, have put disability on their agendas for meetings in February and March/April this year. This is an opportunity which must be used optimally. It is important that the organised movement in the disability field can agree on an action plan and it is necessary to gain support for such measures from a number of governments, who are in a position to act in the two UN Commissions."
Measures to be considered in the area of social development
Monitoring the Rules
Lindqvist recommends two alternatives: continuing the present form of monitoring or to integrate the work into the UN Secretariat. We note with pleasure that the Commission on Social Development passed a resolution that the Rapporteur should continue his work.
"A fundamental condition, emphasised in my report, is that the continued monitoring exercise (whatever alternative is chosen) will have sufficient financial backing. To explore the will of governments to contribute to a future monitoring system, and their preferences among the different options, is an extremely important task for all involved in international development in the disability field"
Review of the Standard Rules
The Rapporteur recommends extending the Rules to promote the rights of disabled children, disabled women and people with developmental and psychiatric impairments.
"A more general revision of the document should be avoided, as this might lead to a backlash in clarity and concrete commitments. ..... It would be reasonable to create a working group, where the Commission itself and representatives of the Panel organisations participate. Again it is extremely important that sufficient funding can be made available."
Improvement of information-exchange and co-ordination within the UN system
"The informal consultative meeting between UN agencies, held in June 1999, also strongly recommended a mechanism for co-ordination and information exchange. Of particular interest was that representatives of the World Bank and UNDP state that approaches for funding in the disability field are often fragmented and badly co-ordinated."
Measures to be considered in the area of human rights
Special dialogue on disability
"This could be a way to develop the disability human rights dimension and to create a better understanding and more interest for the issue among Commission members. Naturally, it would also be a way to keep disability on the agenda of the Commission."
"For more than two years the idea has been discussed to organise a seminar, where human rights experts and disability rights advocates could meet and exchange knowledge and experience. Such a seminar could elaborate guide-lines for strengthening the monitoring competence within the UN."
"One way of improving standards could be to elaborate an additional protocol to the existing Covenants and Conventions. Maybe there are other technical forms for elaborating guiding documents for this purpose."
A special working group
"The main purpose, however, should be to elaborate guide-lines for the more effective monitoring of different human rights dimensions in relation to persons with disabilities."
Special Rapporteur on human rights and disability
"...the mandate and terms of reference for such a post is a very important issue. There seem to be two main alternatives, which, on the other hand, perhaps could be combined. One way would be to mainly emphasise the development of guidelines and improved standards for monitoring in this area. The other alternative would be to actually work with the protection of the human rights of persons with disabilities."
Convention on the Rights of Disabled People
As you are aware from our report on Page 1, the disability NGOs are calling for a convention. Lindqvist does feel that it would still be difficult to gather a sufficient number of governments in support.
"However, the preparations for a future Convention should continue. It is important to make a closer analysis of the situation and to continue the discussion on what should be the contents of a Convention and how it would relate (if at all) to the UN Standard Rules. Judging from the resolution 98/31 by the UN Commission on Human Rights, it seems possible to create such a link and to form a Convention on broad principal terms and refer the ways of implementation to the guide-lines of the UN Standard Rules. Such a Convention, based on some basic principles, would probably be easier to make attractive for both industrialised and developing countries."
Contact details for the Special Rapporteur
S-l03 26 Stockholm
Telephone: Bengt Lindqvist + 46-8 453 4022
Telephone: Secretary + 46-8 453 4021
Fax: + 46-8 248 847