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Convention on disabilities on way to adoption by UN.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was approved by the Ad Hoc Committee of the UN General Assembly. Later, when approved by the full Assembly, it will be the first human rights treaty of the 21st Century. Those that sign up to the Convention agree to:

* enact laws and other measures to improve disability rights;

* get rid of legislation, customs and practices that discriminate against disabled people;

* combat negative stereotypes and prejudices;

* promote awareness of people's abilities and contributions to society;

* improve access to public spaces and buildings, transportation, information and communication; and

* guarantee that disabled people will have a fight to life on an equal basis with all others.

Currently, only 45 countries have specific legislation that protects disabled people.

The United States delegation said that America will not sign the convention, because, they said, it would dilute the strength of the existing US legislation. But the U.S. fully supports the improvement of international standards for the disabled.

European Union delegates persuaded Arab countries to support the provisions on reproductive health (which include abortion and birth control). In exchange, the EU delegations agreed to include "foreign occupation" in the definition of "situation of risk," a term initially intended to cover war and natural disasters. U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan and Israel objected in a separate vote. Israel noted its reservation at the end of the session. The World Health Organization estimates that about 10% of the world's population has a disability, which is likely to increase as a result of medical advances and rising longevity.
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Title Annotation:HEALTH
Publication:Community Action
Date:Sep 25, 2006
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