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LSN Plays Key Role in United Nations Meeting for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
NEW YORK, NY—Landmine Survivors Network (LSN) participated in the Seventh Ad Hoc Committee Meeting for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which took place from January 17 until February 3, 2006 at the United Nations in New York City. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and come to a consensus on the draft text, or content, of the treaty. The meeting concluded with substantial agreement on much of the treaty’s text. This new treaty will affirm the rights of persons with disabilities explicitly and spell out the action needed to implement those rights.

Historically, treaties have been negotiated by governments. In the early stages of negotiations for this treaty, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), particularly disabled persons’ organizations representing citizens most impacted by the treaty, fought for active participation in this Convention’s negotiating process. The NGOs are coordinating their activities through the International Disability Caucus (IDC). The IDC is managed by a steering committee which includes LSN and other NGOs. The IDC works collectively to promote a single message about what persons with disabilities want from this treaty.

LSN’s Bosnia- Herzegovina (BiH) Network Director, Plamenko Priganica, is the official Bosnian government delegate to the negotiations process for this Convention. He is responsible for incorporating language into the treaty that highlights the importance of peer support in a person’s rehabilitation. Article 26, Habilitation and Rehabilitation reads: “States Parties shall take effective and appropriate measure, including through peer support, to enable persons with disabilities to attain and maintain their maximum independence, full physical, mental, social and vocational ability, and full inclusion and participation in all aspects of life…”

Inclusion of Article 20, Personal Mobility, is attributed to Adnan Al Aboudi, LSN’s Jordan Director and representative to IDC’s steering committee. He identified the need to include a provision for individual mobility. Adnan’s argument for inclusion of this provision in the treaty text was simple: “…what good is a ramp if I don’t have a wheelchair…”

The discussion on how Convention implementation will be monitored continued to be a divisive issue. Within the IDC, LSN is taking the lead on drafting language which supports the creation of an international monitoring body that will oversee treaty implementation. Such a mechanism would ensure that standards created by this treaty are strictly adhered to.

Ambassador Don MacKay, Chair of the Committee, concluded the January meeting by stating that “colleagues are really at the stage of having to determine what they can live with, rather than what they would ideally like to have.” At the next session, to take place in August, the eighth, and it is hoped, final Ad Hoc Committee meeting, MacKay proposed that participants focus on the substantive issues that remain and avoid another detailed reading of the revised draft articles. It is anticipated that negotiations will be concluded and the text finalized by the end of 2006.

Plamenko Priganica, Director of LSN-Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), Nerina Cevra, LSN-DC, and Zeljko Volas, BiH Outreach Worker at the U.N.
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