Independent Living Institute


Government Implementation of the Standard Rules
As Seen By Member Organizations of
Rehabilitation International - RI

Download 'RI Reports on the UN Standard Rules' as a PDF file (131 KB)
The Independent Living Institute wishes to express gratitude to Mr. Bengt Lindqvist, UN Special Rapporteur, and Mr. Dimitris Michailakis, for their kind permission to print the previously un-published RI reply to the Implementation of the Standard Rules.

© Dimitris Michailakis 1997
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Implementation of the Standard Rules as seen by:
Governments | DPI | ILSMH | WBU | WFD


Part I - Summary

Part II - NGO Replies

Industrialized countries

Middle East and North Africa
Countries in transition
Latin America and the Caribbean
South, East Asia and the Pacific


This report analyses the replies to the questionnaire sent not only to the governments of the UN Member States, but also to 600 national NGOís within the disability field. The number of responses from the NGOís was not as high as from the governments of Member States. However, it represents a very interesting material. In this report I will separate, among the total of 163 replies from NGOís, the 15 replies from Rehabilitation International (RI).

Part I of this report presents and analyses the results from the NGOís belonging to RI, which have answered the questionnaire. Each table corresponds to a specific question in the questionnaire (the number of the question is marked). For each question, after the presentation of the results, comparisons are made between a) the results from the organization in question and the results from the total of NGOís responding to the questionnaire, and b) the results from the organization in question and the replies from the governments. In this way we can locate issues where convergence, or divergence, of views exists, between the particular NGOís and all the NGOís having responded to the questionnaire, and between the particular NGOís and the governments.

The information in Part II is presented in a rather detailed form, in order to expose the collected data of the responding NGOís.

The decision to send the questionnaire, not only to governments of the Member States, but also to NGOís of these states within the disability field, proved to be worthwhile. The different perspectives and views indicate a more complex picture of the degree of achievement each country as to the implementing of the Standard Rules. When the government and one, or many, NGOís give the same answers there is a guarantee for the reliability of the received data, but when, on the other hand, the answers differ many questions arise. For instance: Who knows what about whom? Does the organization for the blind know the conditions for the mentally disabled? Is there a trend that governments give an idealizing description, while NGOís give a pessimistic one? The comparisons in this report are not aiming at indicating the greatest possible differences, but to find out the greatest possible achievements with the standards, set out by the Rules. Yet, attention has to be paid to cases where the answers from one and the same country are not concordant. For several questions, the difference between the percentages reported by RI organizations and governments, is ten percent or more. What do such differences tell us?

The answers differ, now and then, on specific details on very essential issues, like what kind of services that are available, and what persons with disabilities are entitled to. That the answers differ, on issues such as the role of the co-ordinating committee, is rather evident, since it is a question of assessing, of evaluating a process between two or more parties. But in case of divergent answers about social and economic rights questions arise. Is there an information gap even among the most prominent spokesmen for persons with disabilities? Do organizations have too small resources in order to keep themselves well-informed? Or do the disability organizations work rather separately from each other; concentrating on their own, specific disability group, due to the complexity of the matter, that is ¥disability¥ is it a too big an issue to keep record of?

The divergence is of course in many cases the result of a different perspective due to different roles: The government is the actor implementing policies within a wide range of issues, while NGOís are expert actors in a specific field, who therefore very well know what is happening in a limited area. The answer from the NGO`s can thus sometimes be the verification, or falsification, of the answer from the government. The government answer giving a more optimistic view than the answer from the NGOís could depend on the fact that - being the responsible part for the implementation of policies, conventions and rules such as the Standard Rules - the government wants to demonstrate that it has carried out its obligations.

By elaborating the specific replies of different NGOís, comparing the answers with the NGOís as a whole - a rather common procedure - and with the governments, one trait has emerged, rather unexpectedly: that specific NGOís diverge on one or many issues with the NGOís in general but converge with the answer from the government. In order to explain this, and other interesting findings, further monitoring is needed.

Distribution of NGOs belonging to RI according to regions

South, East Asia and the Pacific426,7
Industrialized countries640,0
Latin America and the Caribbean213,3
The Middle East and North Africa16,7
Sub-Saharan Africa00,0
Countries in transition213,3

The region with most respondents among RI organizations is the one of industrialized countries. No replies were received from RI organisations from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Contents of the RI Report