AND APPROVED VERSION OF THE REPORT OF THE 8TH SESSION OF THE AD HOC COMMITTEE
TASKED WITH DEVELPONG A COMPREHENSIVE AND INTEGRAL CONVENTION ON THE PROTECTION
AND PROMOTION OF THE RIGHTS AND DIGNITY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
To report on the proceedings of the eight session of the Ad Hoc Committee tasked with developing a Comprehensive and Integral Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities held from 14 August 2006 to 25 August 2006 in New York at the United Nations Headquarters.
The eight session of the Ad Hoc Committee was a continuation of a process initiated by the General Assembly to develop a Comprehensive and Integral Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities. The base document used during this session was compiled by the Chairman, Ambassador Mackay of New Zealand, based on the outcomes of the discussions of the seventh session. This text narrowed down divergent views and captured the essential conceptual and consensual elements. The purpose of this current session was to find consensus on the controversial issues, also referred to as the bracketed text, as well as the provisions on International Monitoring, the final-clauses and adopt the draft convention as per General Assembly resolution
The meeting was a follow up on the previous seven sessions of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Comprehensive and Integral Convention on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities. The seventh session of the Ad Hoc Committee was held in February 2006 and discussions were based on the Chairman's text compiled on the basis of discussions during the previous sessions.
Ambassador Don Mackay of New Zealand continued to chair the Ad Hoc Committee and facilitate the informal sessions in the plenary, having assumed these duties at the sixth session. His Chairmanship assured continuity in the negotiations of all aspects of the draft most importantly the controversial articles. Ambassador Mackay continued with the proven formula of alternating between formal and informal sessions during the discussions on individual articles thereby providing civil society with an opportunity to present their views on these articles.
This session was differently run because it was punctuated by long informal-informal direct consultation between different delegations outside the framework of the plenary. This was meant to facilitate compromises on different proposals that were made at the session and on language that was not agreed from previous sessions.
4.1. Composition of the Delegation
The South African delegation consisted of the following officials:
Benny Palime OSDP, Presidency
Joanna Doorasamy OSDP, Presidency
Ria Mathivha OSDP, Presidency
Marie Hendricks OSDP, Western Cape Premiers Office
Ghalieb Essop Western Cape Youth Commissioner
Selaelo Makgato OSDP, Limpopo Premiers Office
Anthony Miyeni Dept of Foreign Affairs
Steven Mathate Dept of Foreign Affairs
Fiyola Hoosen SA Mission to the UN
Lakela Kaunda Dept of Social Development
Manthipi Moloamu Dept of Social Development
Sophie Mkhasibe Dept of Social Development
Winston Baatjies Dept of Health
Chris Williams-Wynn Dept of Land Affairs
Shuaib Chalklen Advisor
Antina Hlabela Dept of Defence
Linda Pienaar South African Police Service (SAPS)
Masentle Nkabinde SAPS
Petronella Linders Dept of Communications
Wendy Jacobie Dept of Communications (PA of PL)
Mxolisi Mvimbi Dept of Communications
Zazi Ndebele Dept of Communications (Sign Language interpreter)
4.2. General Observations
The Chairman informed the meeting of a general expectation that the work of the Ad Hoc Committee would conclude its work by the end of the allocated two weeks. In order to meet this expectation, he indicated that he would use the first week to attend to the outstanding matters such as the articles on international monitoring, definitions and the language in square brackets.
However, there was very little progress made on the bracketed language during the first week. The Chairman requested delegations to consult intensively, amongst themselves, on bracketed language, with the view of reaching consensus in order to minimise lengthy debates when these matters came before the formal plenary.
With regard to procedural matters, the Chairman urged the delegates not to 'introduce new substantive elements to the working text because all possible formulations of the text had been negotiated extensively in the past. He also encouraged delegates to desist from opening up discussion on the previously agreed language.
However, he agreed to compile and distribute new proposals on previously agreed language. The Chairman allowed, in plenary, originating delegates to introduce their proposed changes to the plenary and thereafter, he requested opposing state parties to indicate their objection to the proposal by raising their flags.
The proposer and objecting parties were then requested to engage in direct negotiations with the express purpose of achieving consensus. In cases of overwhelming opposition to new proposals, originating states were encouraged to withdraw their proposals. This avoided discussions on new proposals. As a result, the second week of the meeting was characterized by long and extensive informal-informal delegation to delegation consultations.
The Chairman encouraged delegates not to be overly concerned with drafting technicalities because a drafting committee would be appointed to craft the final draft convention before presentation to the General Assembly for adoption. The Chairman further indicated that in order to facilitate the discussions on International Monitoring Mechanism, the delegation of Mexico had been convening inter-sessional open ended informal discussions on the draft text in New York. He indicated that this process would be ongoing throughout the first week and expressed hope that this would facilitate consensus. During the discussion on a definition of disability the Chairman appointed Jordan and South Korea to co-facilitate informal negotiations on the definition of disability.
4.3 Bureau and Africa Group
'The Bureau of the Ad Hoc Committee on Disabilities comprised of the Chairperson from New Zealand, members of the Secretariat and representatives from the different regional groups i.e. Costa Rica on behalf of GRULAC, Czech Republic on behalf of Eastern European Group, South Africa on behalf of the Africa Group and Jordan on behalf of the Asia Group.
The Bureau met daily during the session and discussed the organisation of work, the programme of work, the remaining substantive issues, procedural matters and the adoption of the report as well as all matters related to progress in negotiations. With regard to the substantive issues, the Chairperson indicated the necessity to have informal consultations on the International Monitoring Mechanism and on the Final Clauses. Further to this, there was an indication that there may have to be consultations on the articles pertaining to international co-operation, the family and health.
The Bureau outlined and discussed the procedure that would be followed, pending the successful outcome of the Ad Hoc Committee session. In this regard, it should be noted that there will be a Drafting Committee to finalise the Draft Convention for adoption and thereafter a resumed session of the Ad Hoc Committee to officially adopt the Final Report and its Annexure (Draft Convention). The resumed session would also have to adopt a resolution requesting the 6151 session of the General Assembly to adopt the Draft Convention.
It should be noted that members of the Bureau played an active role in facilitating the informal discussions and negotiations and assisting all delegations in order to ensure a successful outcome of the Session.
The participation of the Africa Group during the Ad Hoc Committee 'meeting was constructive and successful. The Africa Group did not have a common position on the entire text of the draft convention but only on certain articles of the convention. The articles where the Africa Group had a common position were as follows:
· Article 4 on General Obligations facilitated by Senegal on behalf of the Group
· Article 5 on Equality and Non-Discrimination facilitated by Ghana on behalf of the Group
· Article 12 on Equal Recognition as a Person before the Law facilitated by Kenya on behalf of the Group
· Article 9 on Accessibility facilitated by South Africa on behalf of the Group
· Article 32 on International Co-operation facilitated by Tanzania on behalf of the Group
· Article 33 on National Implementation and Monitoring facilitated by Algeria on behalf of the Group
Africa Group was instrumental in inserting the language on Article 32 on
International Co-operation and the position of the Group prevailed during the negotiations
of this article. International Co-operation was a key issue for developing
countries and in this regard the Africa Group played a significant role
ensuring the concerns of developing countries were addressed.
4.3 Overview Report on the Negotiations.
4.3.1. Articles negotiated for the first time
A. International Monitoring Mechanism
The inter-sessional negotiations on the International Monitoring 'Mechanism under the facilitation of Mexico started on 17 April 2006 at the United Nations headquarters in New York. On 14 August 2006, at the start of the eighth session of the Ad Hoc Committee, the facilitator of the International Monitoring Mechanism made a presentation on work that has been done inter-sessionally on the above mentioned mechanism. The facilitator informed the plenary that there had been two readings on the implementation mechanism that resulted in the production of two revised documents. He indicated that he needed more time to hold more consultations on the fringes of the plenary with all interested delegates to develop consensus on the matter.
The Chairman of the plenary, with the consent of the delegates, agreed that parallel negotiations on the International Monitoring Mechanism should take place during lunch breaks and or after the plenary in the evenings. Three evening and one lunch time sessions were held during the first week. These sessions were augmented by additional consultations, which were held at the Korean Mission on 20 August 2006 from 16H0 to 19H00.
Negotiations during the first week were useful because they served to introduce delegates from capitals to the discussion document which was already under discussion in New York and familiarised them with different points of view of various delegations. These discussions also helped to develop points of convergence on the text while isolating controversial language that needed extensive engagement.
During the second week, the breakaway group on the International Monitoring Mechanism held three late night meetings and one lunch-time meeting. The group experienced a few "cliff-hanger moments" during these meetings.
It became clear that two camps had developed divergent positions on various issues which seemed irreconcilable. The two camps consisted of the Like Minded Group (LMG) which included the following countries Egypt, Morocco, Singapore, Sudan, Syria, Qatar, Yemen, 'Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Russia, Vietnam, and Venezuela, led by China. The second camp consisted of ED countries led by Finland.
The most contentious issue was the placement of articles relating to individual communications, enquiry procedures and country visits. The LMG proposed that these articles should be deleted completely from the draft convention. Their un-stated reason for the deletion was that these articles would be used to target them to account for human rights practices in their countries.
The ED supported by countries like South Africa, Costa Rico, Kenya etc. were opposed the deletion of these articles. The LMG proposed that the said articles be negotiated in an optional protocol format. The ED held back its opposition to both deletion and optional protocol route.
The ED needed assurance that the LMG was not going to delete these articles and there after hold back on agreeing on substance beyond the scheduled dates of the eighth session. Liechtenstein engaged in confidence building shuttle diplomacy between the two groups.
It was finally agreed that the substance of the three articles would be discussed under an optional protocol format and that these articles would be deleted from the draft convention when consensus is reached on substance. The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDA W) was used as a base document for negotiating the articles on individual communications, enquiry procedure and country visits.
A separate article on country visits that would have facilitated the possibility of countries to invite the Committee to conduct visits at the interested country's request was deleted because of vehement opposition from the LMG. Costa Rica insisted on the retention of the article in the text of the Protocol but conceded to its deletion after the Chairman's intervention. South Africa's position is that it would not have made much difference because it had on previous occasions issued an open invitation to all UN mandate holders to visit South Africa. Consensus was reached on most of the articles after the Chairman suggested that the two camps consult 'informally.
Article 34 - Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
With regard to the size of the Committee it was agreed that there would be initial 12 members and a subsequent increase of 6 members after additional ratifications by 60 members when the Convention enters into force. A compromise was reached regarding reference to states consulting civil society about nominating candidates to the Committee. It was agreed that reference to Article 4.3 of the current draft convention would sufficiently cater for this situation. It is understood that "emoluments to the Committee members is set at $1 as per relevant General Assembly resolution.
Article 35 - Reporting by State Parties
The attempt by the Chairman to refer to Harmonised Guidelines on reporting under international human rights treaties did not gain the necessary support. It was rejected on the basis that the Harmonised Guidelines were not legally binding and were not universal because the Human Rights Council that adopted them has limited membership. It should be noted that the Harmonised Guidelines were adopted by the Human Rights Council during its first session on 10 May 2006 under document HRC/MCI2006/6).
Article 36 - Consideration of the Reports
This article was not controversial. However, China successfully blocked the requirement for countries to make general comments and recommendations of the Committee widely available to the public. See 'paragraph 4.
Article 37 - Cooperation between State Parties and the Committee
This article solicited very little concern from delegates.
Article 38 - Relationship of the Committee with other bodies
The ED insisted that this article should proscribe a two way relationship including how and what the Committee should do to enhance the relationship. Paragraph 2 was thereafter reinstated.
Article 39 - Report of the Committee
This article did not solicit any concern from delegates.
Article 40 - Conference of state parties
There were some paragraphs on amendments and regularity of meeting of state party conferences, which were deleted because they had been misplaced. It was agreed that they should be placed in the final-clauses.
B. Final Clauses
The delegation of Lichtenstein facilitated the discussions on the final clauses at the request of the Chairman. These clauses are of a technical nature on the implementation process. They cover aspects such as the 'depository of, the accession to, denouncing of, amendments to, entry into force of and UN official languages in which the convention will be issued. These clauses were adopted without any controversy during both informal and formal sessions. A historical provision was made in the end clauses to ensure that the convention is made available to users in all accessible formats .e.g. in Braille for blind people.
C. Definition of Disability
The Chairman appointed Jordan and Korea as co-facilitators on the definition of disability. The purpose was to facilitate consensus 011 the definition of disability. The South African delegation lobbied for support of the Cabinet approved definition. . After a lengthy debate the facilitator produced a compromise that did not define disability or persons with disabilities but rather to have a new pre-ambular paragraph that addresses the evolving nature of disability and that it results from the interaction between persons with impairments and environmental and attitudinal barriers. In addition, Article 1 of the text makes reference to some of the impairments which in combination with various barriers may hinder the full and effective participation, of persons with disabilities, in society on an equal basis with others.
4.3.2. Adoption of Articles.
It became clear that there was a major divergence of views between the ED and the Arab Group on a number of issues that permeated through a number of articles. In order to facilitate consensus the ED and the Arab Group met and reached agreement on a basket of articles that clarified reference to gender, foreign occupation, concepts of family and sexuality as well as the rights of children in the preamble, Articles 6, 7, 11 and 23.
Articles 10 on the Right to life, 14 on Liberty and Security of the Person, and 22 on Respect for Privacy were adopted ad referendum without any amendments.
Articles 3 on General Principles, 9 on Accessibility, 13 on Access to Justice, 18 on Liberty of Movement and Nationality, 19 Living Independently and being Included in the Community, 20 on Personal Mobility, 21 on Freedom of Expression, Opinion and Information, 30 on Participation in Cultural Life, Recreation, Leisure and Sport and 31 on Statistics and Data Collection were adopted at referendum after delegations withdrew their proposals to amend the agreed text from the previous session..
The following new paragraph was inserted in the preamble "Recognising that disability is an evolving concept and that disability results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others". In pre-ambular paragraphs (a) and (f), the words "and worth" were added after the word "dignity". Thus the new phrase read as follows "dignity and worth". The Holly See insisted on the insertion because in their view "worth" represents life.
Paragraph (n) was amended by inserting the word "indigenous" after the word "ethnic" as well as replacement of the word "gender" with the word "sex". In paragraph (0) the phrase "including its gender based manifestations" was deleted. The former change aimed at protecting the rights of indigenous persons with disabilities, while the latter was part of a compromise package between the EU and the Arab Group related to article 23 on Respect for home and family. A new paragraph (v) bis that was part of the same compromise package between the EU and the Arab Group that reads "Convinced that the family and is entitled to protection 'by society and the state, and that persons with disabilities and their family members should receive the necessary protection and assistance to enable families to contribute towards full and equal enjoyment of the rights of persons with disabilities" was also included. Pre ambular paragraph (v) ter reading as follows "Emphasizing the importance of mainstreaming disability issues as an integral part of relevant strategies of sustainable development" was included to ensure access to developmental programmes for all persons with disabilities.
The Arab Group introduced a new paragraph (s) bis in the pre-ambular paragraphs. This paragraph was part of facilitating a compromise agreement between the EU and the Arab Group. The paragraph reads as follows: "Bearing in mind that conditions of peace and security based on full respect of the purposes and principles contained in the Charter and observance of applicable human rights instruments are indispensable for the full protection of persons with disabilities, in particular during armed conflicts and foreign occupation". This was done in order to afford persons with disabilities full protection during situations of foreign occupation such as in Palestine.
This new language was agreed to by the EU because it was agreed language taken from the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict. The US called for a vote on this article during the formal meeting. This paragraph was adopted 102 in support, 5 against and 8 abstention. Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan and the US voted against the resolution. The surprise came from the following African countries that abstained namely: Cameroon (chair of the African Group), Cote d Ivoire, Gabon, Kenya, Niger and Nigeria.
It should be noted that Cameroon had earlier in the week addressed the meeting pledging Africa's support of the proposed Arab Group language that was presented by Sudan. The Africa Group became embroiled in controversy minutes before voting because countries like Kenya and Tanzania questioned the existence of an Africa Group position on this matter.
Cameroon, despite, its earlier pronouncements could not stand firm and confirm that an Africa Group meeting had been held and such a position taken. It was finally agreed that individual counties would vote outside the framework of the Africa Group. All the other pre-ambular paragraphs were adopted ad referendum except paragraph (s) bis.
Article 1 on the Purposes was adopted ad referendum with the inclusion of the following paragraph: "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". This was done as part of the facilitator's compromise proposal after failure to agree on common definition of disabilities.
This language is an acceptable compromise because it does not define a person with disabilities or disability itself but addresses the relationship between environment and physical impairments and the role it plays in causing disabilities. This serves the text well as disabilities is an evolving concept and the existing definitions used in most countries is of a functional nature aimed at serving the administrational purposes.
Article 2 on Definitions was adopted ad referendum with the exclusion of the definition of disability. The acceptance of a new definition for reasonable accommodation that included the words "or undue" being inserted before the word "burden" was agreed to broaden the interpretation of the concept. The reference to "national laws of general application" was also deleted as it was removed from other articles in the text.
Article 4 on General Obligations was adopted ad referendum with the inclusion of "without prejudice to those obligations applicable, without prejudicing international law" at the end of the paragraph. The meeting accepted these amendments on the understanding that it was necessary to 'reiterate that general obligations should and must remain in line with applicable international law.
Article 5 on Equality and Non-discrimination was adopted with the ED's compromised language. The new text for paragraph 1 now reads: "All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law. In this respect, the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status". This broadens the language of the paragraph to ensure equal treatment of all, including persons with disabilities, before the law.
Article 6 on Women with Disabilities was adopted ad referendum with the first paragraph amended to delete the last part of the paragraph after the word "discrimination" and it being replaced with "and in this regard shall take measures to ensure the full and equal enjoyment by them of all human rights and fundamental freedoms". In paragraph 2 the words "and empowerment" were inserted after the word "advancement". This was part of an agreement reached to ensure that gender issues ware mainstreamed in the convention without the explicit use of the term "gender"
Article 7 on Children with Disabilities was adopted with compromised language. The language incorporated proposals from the ED for paragraph 1 that requires States Parties to take all necessary measures to ensure the full enjoyment by children with disabilities of all the human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other children. The Bosnia and Herzegovina proposal on paragraph 3 that provides for the views of children to be given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity 'was also included in the adopted text. With the inclusion of the changes, the language in the article now mirrors that in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Article 8 on Awareness-raising was adopted ad referendum with the following amendments. The word "family" was included in the text of the article. In 1 b the word "gender" was replaced by the word "sex. These changes were as a result of package compromises that were agreed to ensure universal applicability contained in other international instruments such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Article 11 on Situations of Risk and Humanitarian Emergencies was adopted ad referendum after agreement to amend the language contained in the Chairman's text so that it now reads: State Parties shall take, in accordance with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, all necessary measures to ensure protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters.
This was also part of facilitating a package compromise agreement between the ED and the Arab Group. Final compromise was reached on the last day. The reason that all parties accepted the language was because focus was now on situations of humanitarian emergencies and risk and that the focus on armed conflict and foreign occupation was moved to the pre amble.
Article 12 on Equal recognition before the law was adopted ad referendum with the paragraph 2 in the chairs text being re written so that it now reads" States Parties shall recognize that persons with disabilities enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life". Paragraphs 2 bis and 2 ter was adopted as the new paragraphs 3 and 4 and 'the original paragraph 3 became the new paragraph 5. The only contentious issue with this paragraph was the insertion of a foot note in paragraph 2 that indicates that in Chinese, Russian and Arabic the reference to legal capacity refers to legal capacity for rights rather than legal capacity to act.
Article 15 on Freedom from Torture, Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment was adopted with a minor language adjustment aimed at standardisation of the clause so that it is the same as in Article 7 of the ICCPR. To this effect the phrase "on an equal basis with others" was inserted in the text. The language of the article now more accurately reflects the agreed language found in the ICCPR and strongly includes the non discriminatory elements.
Article 16 on Freedom from Exploitation, Violence and Abuse was adopted ad referendum with the replacement of "gender" in paragraph 5 with "woman and child focus". This was also part of facilitating a package compromise agreement between the ED and the Arab Group. The explicit mentioning of women and children also further mainstreams the convention and entrenches its relevance to the two vulnerable groups.
Article 17 on Protecting the Integrity of the Person was adopted ad referendum after the whole article was replaced by one sentence that reads: Every person with a disability has a right to respect for his or her physical and mental disability. It was agreed that the new formulation is the best way of capturing the essence and all elements required in this article without stirring controversy,
Article 23 on Respect for Home and Family was adopted ad referendum with the following amendments. The chapeau of the article now reads:
“States Parties shall take effective and appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against persons with disabilities in all matters relating to marriage, family, parenthood and relationships, on an equal basis with others so as to ensure that". Paragraph (a) in the Chairman's text was deleted. The phrase "are recognized" was inserted after the phrase "family planing education" in paragraph 1 (C) as well as the phrase "are provided" at the end of the same paragraph. These changes allows for universal application of the elements on family contained here-in..
Article 24 on Education was adopted ad referendum and the meeting agreed to replace paragraph 2( d) with a new paragraph (d) that reads as follows "That persons with disabilities receive the support required, within the general education system, to facilitate their effective education" and a new paragraph 2( d) bis that reads "That persons with disabilities receive effective individualized support measures in environments that maximize academic and social development, consistent with the goal of full inclusion. In paragraph 4 the word "fluent" was replaced with the word "qualified". These changes were introduced to ensure that persons with disabilities have a range of educational options available to maximize their education despite the type and complexity of disabilities.
Article 25 on Health was adopted ad referendum with paragraph (a) in the working text being replaced by the following wording "Provide persons with disabilities with the same range, quality and standard of free or affordable health care and programmes as provided to other persons, including in the area of sexual and reproductive health and population based public health programmes". A new paragraph (f) that reads as follows was also added "Prevent discriminatory denial of health care or health services or food and fluids on the basis of disability". This allows for greater equality in accessing health care services and programmes for persons with disabilities.
Article 26 on Habilitation and Rehabilitation was adopted ad referendum with the addition of paragraph 2 bis as suggested by Uganda that oblige State Parties to promote the availability, knowledge and use of assistive devices and technologies designed for persons with disabilities, as they relate to habilitation and rehabilitation. This change was meant to entrench the promotion by state parties of access to assistive devices during the habilitation and rehabilitation processes.
Article 27 on Work and Employment was adopted ad referendum with paragraph (c) being amended to delete "and in accordance with national laws of general application" and the retention of "on an equal basis with others". In paragraph (f) the word "cooperatives" has been inserted. The changes broaden and ensure equitable treatment of persons with disabilities in the open labour market.
Article 28 on Adequate Standard of Living and Social Protection was adopted with compromised language that incorporated the Mexican proposal to make reference to "clean water services, and to" before the reference to "ensure access". By including the changes the text reflects the importance of access to water on broader concept of social protection.
Article 29 on Participation on political and public life was adopted ad referendum with the words "in accordance with national laws of general application" being replaced with "on an equal basis with others" This formulation more accurately reflects the non-discriminatory framework of the draft convention.
Article 32 on International Cooperation was adopted with compromised language in paragraph 2 by stipulating that the provisions of the article are 'without prejudice to the obligations of each State Party to fulfil its obligations under the convention and the withdrawal of a proposal from the Arab Group. This adoption was at the insistence of the EU and other developed states, who were of the view that they would not accept any other formulation because they were of the view that the alternative formulation might allow states parties to abdicate their responsibilities under the convention.
Article 33 on National Implementation and Monitoring was adopted with the acceptance of compromised language for paragraph 1 that inserted "in accordance with their system of organisation" after States Parties and "within Government" after the word "mechanism" in the last sentence of the paragraph. In paragraph 2 the compromise inserted the words "within a States Party a framework, including one or more independent mechanisms, as appropriate" and the deletion of the words "at the national level, an independent mechanism" and "taking into account, where necessary, gender and age specific issues". Paragraph 3 was accepted without any change. These changes were made to accommodate various systems of government.
The provisions for an International Follow up Mechanism contained in Articles 34 on a Committee on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, 35 on Reporting by State Parties, 36 on Consideration of the Reports, 37 on Cooperation between State PaI1ies and the Committee, 38 on the Relationship of the Committee with other bodies, 39 on the Report of the Committee and 40 on the Conference of State Parties was adopted by the on meeting on the basis of the facilitator's text that was developed through intensive negotiations and agreed to by consensus.
The end clauses contained .in the Articles A on the Depository of the Convention, B on the opening to Signature of the convention, C on the Consent to be Bound to the provisions of the convention, D on Regional Integration Organisations, E on Entry into Force, F on Reservations, G on Amendments, H on Denunciations, H bis on the availability of the convention in Accessible Formats and I on Authentic Texts were adopted on the basis of the facilitator's text that was developed through negotiations and agreed to by consensus.
Articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 containing the provisions of an Optional Protocol was also adopted.
The draft text of the convention was adopted by consensus except for pre-ambular paragraph (s) that needed a vote to secure its inclusion. The Chairman indicated that a drafting team would be constituted to finalise the Convention before it is presented to the General Assembly for adoption in preparation for opening it for signature and ratification. Ambassador Jan Eliasson, the President of the General Assembly, thanked all the States Parties for the spirit of cooperation that resulted in the conclusion of the task set before them. He emphasised the fact that a clear message was being sent out that all human beings are equally important. The quality of the text of the draft convention was due to a cooperative effort between State Parties and the Disabled Persons Organisations who participated.
It is recommended that South African start preparing for the signing of the convention to be followed by preparations for the ratification process.