Minister Kitt launches UN study on Disability and Human Rights
Mr. Tom Kitt, T.D., the Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Overseas Development Assistance and Human Rights, speaking today at the Irish launch of a major UN study on disability and human rights, said that Ireland was committed to addressing the human rights of persons with disabilities at an international level.
Referring to the study, the Minister said that of the 600 million people worldwide with a disability, over two-thirds live in the developing world and that only 2% of disabled children in the developing world receive any rehabilitation or education. “The link between disability, poverty and social exclusion is clear,” the Minister said.
The Minister said that Ireland had demonstrated its commitment to addressing the human rights of persons with disabilities. In 2002 Ireland contributed over €2.1 million to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and of this amount €150,000 was specifically earmarked to assist the work of the Office on disability issues. Similar amounts were also specifically earmarked in 2000 and 2001 towards work on disability.
The study - entitled “Human Rights and Disability - The Current and Future Potential of the United Nations Human Rights Instruments in the Context of Disability” was carried out by Prof. Gerard Quinn, Dean of the Faculty of Law, NUI Galway and by Prof Theresia Degener, University of Applied Sciences, Rheinland-Westfalen-Lippe. Ireland Aid provided funding to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to commission the study.
The Minister paid tribute to Professors Quinn and Degener “for producing a comprehensive and well researched study which would be a practical and indispensable resource for those concerned with the promotion and protection of the human rights of persons with disabilities, as indeed, for all those interested in human rights.”
Note to editors
The study is about the current use and future potential of United Nations Human Rights Instruments in the specific field of disability. The study has three aims:
(a) To provide a reference work on human rights and disability;
(b) To review the relevance and functioning of the United Nations human rights system in the context of disability. The study analyses the provisions of the six core human rights treaties and how the treaty monitoring bodies have dealt with the issue, and outlines the involvement in the system of national human rights institutions and civil society;
(c) To suggest options for the future, both to improve the use of existing human rights norms and mechanisms in relation to disability, and to explore the possible need for a new international instrument.
The Study will also contribute towards ongoing consideration at the UN of proposals for a comprehensive and integral international convention to promote and protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities.