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United Nations Treaty Writers Focus On Inclusion During Sixth Meeting
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 29, 2005

UNITED NATIONS--Earlier this month, the United Nations panel working on an international treaty regarding the rights of the world's 600 million people with disabilities held its sixth session and approved a number of key articles.

According to a UN press release, the Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities negotiated from August 1 to August 12 on such issues as education, accessibility, employment, health and rehabilitation, and social security. Guarantees to adequate standards of living, as well as participation in political, public and cultural life, recreation, leisure and sports were also discussed.

The Chairman of the Committee, Don MacKay of New Zealand, said the convention also sought a "paradigm shift" away from segregation and towards social inclusion.

"People with disabilities actually perform, live and contribute much better if they are included in the community," he explained, "be it by way of inclusive education, inclusive health, participation in political life, or measures to improve accessibility."

People representing about 400 civic groups had registered for the meeting, making it the largest number ever, MacKay said.

"This was not one of the United Nations meetings where people are sitting there reading prepared statements at each other."

The Bush administration announced in June of 2003 that the U.S. government would not sign any international treaty protecting people with disabilities from discrimination. U.S. officials said such rights should be covered by national measures, such as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. While the U.S. would support the work of the panel, the administration said it would not sign any document that could be legally binding.

"U.N. tackles challenge of how to apply rights" by Helen Henderson (Toronto Star)
Ad Hoc Committee On International Convention (United Nations)

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