13 January 2006

Background Release

Committee Negotiating Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities to Meet at United Nations, 16 January - 3 February

NEW YORK, 12 January (UN Headquarters) -- The United Nations Ad Hoc Committee drafting the first-ever convention on the rights of persons with disabilities will meet from 16 January to 3 February at United Nations Headquarters (Conference Room 4) to start a second full reading of the draft treaty.

Meeting for its seventh session, the General Assembly Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities will review the entire draft, based on the 34-article text proposed by the Chair (document A/AC.265/2006/1, available at ).

"At the meeting, I will be asking colleagues whether there is anything in the text that they absolutely cannot accept", said the Chair of the Committee, Ambassador Don MacKay of New Zealand.  "Any suggestions for improvement or change that do not quickly draw a consensus will have to be forgone, or we will find ourselves engaged in a protracted process that has no end."

During the first weeks, participants will discuss issues such as equality and non-discrimination, raising awareness regarding disability, accessibility, right to life, equal recognition before the law, access to justice, liberty and security of the person, liberty of movement, personal mobility, and living independently and being included in the community.

Disability non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions from around the world will continue to be major players in shaping the convention.  Some 500 representatives of disability organizations are expected to attend the session.

Governments, leading disability organizations and international organizations will hold lunchtime side events on issues such as legal rights, accessibility, education and implementation of the convention.  For a list of side events, see .

Welcoming the progress achieved so far, the General Assembly on 23 December (resolution 60/232) invited Member States and observers to conclude negotiations as a matter of priority and submit the draft for adoption, preferably at the Assembly's next session.  The General Assembly stressed the importance of the participation of non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions in the drafting of the treaty.

For information, please visit or contact Edoardo Bellando, United Nations Department of Public Information, tel.:  (212) 963-8275, e-mail: .

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