Written Answers. - Rights of People with Disabilities.


139 Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to the call made by a person (details supplied) for the Government to urgently ratify UN rules on the equalisation of opportunities for people with disabilities; the plans the Government has to ratify these rules; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27675/01]

The UN standard rules on the equalisation of opportunities for persons with disabilities were adopted without a vote on 20 December 1993, at the 85th plenary meeting, of the 48th session of the United Nations General Assembly. The rules are in the form of a General Assembly resolution. As with other such resolutions, there is no mechanism whereby a State can accede to, or ratify it. As a result, the question of ratification by Ireland of the rules does not arise.

The rules, which number 22 in all, are to a large extent reflected in the 402 recommendations contained in the report of the Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities. This report was published in 1996 and significant progress has been and continues to be made in implementing the report's recommendations. In this connection, I would draw the Deputy's attention to the policy of mainstreaming that was implemented last year, the establishment of the National Disability Authority and Comhairle and the significant legislative and infrastructural framework that has been established to underpin equality, including the Employment Equality Act, the Equal Status Act, the Equality Authority and the Director of Equality Investigations.

The Government is committed to radical change to ensure that the needs and aspirations of people with disabilities, their families and carers are more fully addressed. In this regard much has been achieved in the disability area since this Government took office and I am committed to continuing the momentum that has been generated and to making further progress in this area.