Skip to main content
Normal View

Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 25 Jul 1996

Vol. 468 No. 4

Written Answers. - Equality of Opportunity.

Mary Wallace


55 Miss M. Wallace asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the nature and extent of all Irish participation in United Nations procedures dealing with the implementation of the standard rules for the equalisation of opportunities for people with disabilities. [15928/96]

Ireland supported the adoption of the Standard Rules on the Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (referred to as the Standard Rules), when adopted on 20 December 1993 by the General Assembly of the United Nations as an annex to Resolution 48/96. The purpose of the Standard Rules is to ensure that all persons with disabilities may exercise the same rights and obligations as others. The rules are not a formal legal instrument and there is no formal structure within the UN system which enforces their implementation.

There are three United Nations fora which can oversee the implementation of the Standard Rules. These are the General Assembly, the Commission for Social Development, and the Commission on Human Rights.
Ireland has traditionally supported the resolution on Disability tabled by the Phillippines each year at the General Assembly in New York and which was adopted last year by consensus.
At the 52nd session of the Commission on Human Rights held in Geneva in March/April, 1996 Ireland tabled a resolution entitled "Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities" which was also adopted by consensus. Operative paragraph 5 of this resolution urged all Governments "to implement, with the assistance of organisations, the Standard Rules for the Equalization of Opportunities for people with disabilities;" Operative paragraph 6 invited Governments and the private sector "to contribute to the United Nations Voluntary Fund on Disability, with a view to providing additional support for the implementation of the Standard Rules, within the context of the World Programme of Action concerning disabled persons;".
Operative paragraph 13 requested the Secretary General "to make available to the Commission at its 53rd session, the latest report of the Special Rapporteur on Disability of the Commission for Social Development on his monitoring of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunity for Persons with Disabilities".
Ireland is not currently a member of the Commission for Social Development and has never served on the Commission. Therefore Ireland has not been in a position to take any initiatives on disability in that forum although we are fully supportive of its work. Ireland contributes to the UN Voluntary Fund on Disability.
The implementation of the Standard Rules in Ireland is a matter for other Government Departments with responsibilities in this area.