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Disabilities: UN Committee to examine NZ's performance

Disabilities: UN Committee examines NZ's performance next week

Peace Movement Aotearoa

11 September 2014

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will hold its twelfth session from 15 September to 3 October at the Palais Wilson in Geneva, to review the reports of New Zealand, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Belgium, Ecuador and Denmark on how these States parties implement the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Committee will open the session at 10 a.m. on Monday, 15 September by adopting its agenda and programme of work, discussing the submission of reports, and considering other organizational matters. It will also hear the report of the Chairperson on inter-sessional activities and discuss cooperation with United Nations bodies, specialized agencies and other competent bodies.

In addition to its review of country reports, the Committee will discuss its methods of work, General Comments, and communications under its Optional Protocol, in closed meetings.

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Adopted on 13 December 2006 by the General Assembly, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Protocol entered into force on 3 May 2008.

The purpose of the Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

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States parties undertake to ensure and promote the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities without discrimination of any kind on the basis of disability. States Parties recognize that all persons are equal before and under the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law. Specific measures which are necessary to accelerate or achieve de facto equality of persons with disabilities shall not be considered discrimination under the terms of the present Convention.

States parties reaffirm that every human being has the inherent right to life and have committed themselves to take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others. States Parties reaffirm that persons with disabilities have the right to recognition everywhere as persons before the law. States Parties recognize that persons with disabilities enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life.

Each State party is obliged to submit to the Committee, through the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, a comprehensive report on measures taken to give effect to its obligations under the present Convention and on the progress made in that regard, within two years after the entry into force of the present Convention for the State Party concerned. Thereafter, States parties shall submit subsequent reports at least every four years and further whenever the Committee so requests.

States Parties to the Convention

The Convention has been signed by 158 States. At present there are 147 States and 1 regional organization which have ratified this instrument. They are: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, European Union, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, State of Palestine, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the first human rights convention to provide for ratification by regional integration organizations, such as the European Union. The European Union ratified the Convention in December 2010.

Committee Membership

The members of the Committee are elected for a term of four years and shall be eligible for re-election once. The 18 independent experts are:

Mr. Mohammed Al-Tarawneh (Jordan), Mr. Monthian Buntan (Thailand), Ms. Maria Soledad Cisteras Reyes (Chile), Ms. Theresia DEGENER (Germany), Mr. Hyung Shik Kim (Republic of Korea), Mr. Lofti Ben Lallahom (Tunisia), Mr. Stig Langvad (Denmark), Mr. László Gábor Lovaszy (Hungary), Ms. Edah Wangechi Maina (Kenya), Mr. Ronald McCallum (Australia), Ms. Diane Mulligan (United Kingdom), Mr. Martin Babu Mwesigwa (Uganda), Ms. Safak Pavey (Turkey), Ms. Ana Pelaez Narvaez (Spain), Ms. Silvia Judith Quan-Chang (Guatemala), Mr. Carlos Rios Espinosa (Mexico), Mr. Damjan Tatic (Serbia), and Mr. Germán Xavier Torres Correa (Ecuador).

Ms. Cisternas Reyes is Chairperson. The Vice Chairpersons are Ms. Degener, Mr. McCallum and Mr. Rios Espinosa. Mr. Mwesigwa is the Rapporteur.


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