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Monday, August 30, 2010

Why a DAP MP gave RELA money? Pakatan Rakyat must call for the abolition of RELA.

RELA - The call of the Malaysian Civil Society, including the Malaysian Bar is for the abolition of RELA - and, it saddens me to see a DAP Member of Parliament handing over money to RELA. Does this mean that the DAP (and maybe even the other Pakatan Rakyat parties) now accept the RELA...and is no longer calling for its abolition? It is very disturbing...as I worry that soon after they take over the Federal Government, they may also keep the ISA and other bad laws and still use them.

The call for the abolition of RELA is based on principle and one has to be firm in their stance. You cannot be using them...or paying them money...for 'other reasons' for by doing so, you really are acknowledging them and their very existence.

Teo was invited to the Al-Muhajirin surau, Bukit Mahkota where she also handed RM500 to People Volunteer Corps (Rela) personnel.- - Malaysiakini, 30/8/2010, Teo attends another surau function
Let us be reminded the reason why RELA must be abolished...

The Ikatan Relawan Rakyat or better known as RELA (a People's Volunteer Corps) came into being by virtue of Essential (Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat) Regulations 1966 [P.U. 33/1966], under Emergency (Essential Powers) Act, 1964 (30/64), and continue to be in force by virtue of Section 6 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act 1979.

By virtue of the Essential (Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat) (Amendment) Regulations 2005, which came into operation on 1 February 2005, the powers of the Rela, have been dangerously over-extended giving RELA personnel the right to bear and use firearms, stop, search and demand documents, arrest without a warrant, and enter premises without a warrant. and all these powers can be exercised the RELA personnel has reasonable belief that any person is a terrorist, undesirable person, illegal immigrant or an occupier. Illegal immigrant and occupier (which would be Malaysians usually) was added on by this 2005 amendment.
The Malaysian Bar Resolution explains it best...

MALAYSIAN BAR RESOLUTION FOR THE END OF THE STATE OF EMERGENCY AND AN END TO LAW ENFORCEMENT” BY THE UNTRAINED AND ARMED PEOPLE'S VOLUNTEER CORPS ( RELA)
Whereas:-
1. On 31st August 2007, it will be 50 years since Malaysia achieved its independence and has been for over 30 years been a peaceful democratic nation.
2. It is sad that Malaysia is still in a state of Emergency as there exist today 4 Proclamation of Emergencies issued by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong that is yet to be revoked.
3. Since independence, five states of emergency have been declared under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution. The first was the only one to have been revoked. The remaining four are still in operation. The second state of emergency was proclaimed in September 1964 when the country was faced with a campaign of violence from Indonesia. Although the threat ceased within less than two years, the state of emergency was never revoked.
4. The next state of emergency was declared on 14 September 1966 following the dismissal of the Chief Minister of the state of Sarawak. No violence - or threat of violence - resulted from the crisis. The government nevertheless proclaimed an emergency, confined to Sarawak. And although the crisis was soon resolved, the state of emergency has not been revoked.
5. The fourth proclamation came on 15 May 1969 following large-scale rioting and racial violence in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, during a general election. The violence led to several hundred casualties. As a result, further elections were postponed and parts of the Constitution suspended. Normalcy was restored soon - the legislature was reconvened and normal constitutional government restored in February 1971. However, the state of emergency has yet to be revoked.
6. On 8 November 1977, the fifth Emergency, limited to the state of Kelantan, was declared following a political crisis.
7. By reason of the proclamation of emergency, numerous legislations were enacted and are still in force, including also :-
a) Emergency (Essential Powers) Act, 1964 (30/64), today known as the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act 1979;
b) Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969;
c) Essential (Security Cases) Regulations 1975
8. For example, Section 6 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act 1979, states that “"For so long as the Proclamation of Emergency referred to in the preamble to this Act remains in force, the regulations made under the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act, 1964 (30/64) (except those regulations which the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may by notification in the Gazette declare not to be in force) shall be in force and shall have effect as if they have been made under this Act; and the regulations may be amended, modified or repealed as if they have been made under this Act.". [The proclamation of emergency referred to in this Act was the proclamation issued on 15 May 1969.]
9. The Ikatan Relawan Rakyat or better known as RELA (a People's Volunteer Corps) came into being by virtue of Essential (Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat) Regulations 1966 [P.U. 33/1966], under Emergency (Essential Powers) Act, 1964 (30/64), and continue to be in force by virtue of Section 6 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act 1979.
10. By virtue of the Essential (Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat) (Amendment) Regulations 2005, which came into operation on 1 February 2005, the powers of the Rela, have been dangerously over-extended giving RELA personnel the right to bear and use firearms, stop, search and demand documents, arrest without a warrant, and enter premises without a warrant. and all these powers can be exercised the RELA personnel has reasonable belief that any person is a terrorist, undesirable person, illegal immigrant or an occupier. Illegal immigrant and occupier (which would be Malaysians usually) was added on by this 2005 amendment.
11. These not-professionally trained volunteers has also now been accorded protection by the new amendments whereby it is stated that "…The Public Authorities Protection Act 1948 shall apply to any action, suit, prosecution or proceedings against the Ketua Pengarah Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat, Timbalan Ketua Pengarah Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat or any member of the Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat in respect of any act, neglect or default done or committed by him in good faith or any omission omitted by him in good faith, in such capacity."
12. Noting also that there has been numerous complaints that have surfaced in the media about the RELA not just from migrants but also Malaysians ranging from torture, gangster-like behavior, damage to property, wrongful arrest and detention and even the causing of deaths.
13. Its was reported that RELA arrested a total of 17,700 people believed
to be illegal immigrants and screened 94,010 people up to September
2006, and that means 94,010 people (or 76,310) with proper documentations were subjected to unnecessary harassment and their right to a remedy in law is difficult. Of the people arrested, recent reports in the media indicate that many may even not be “illegal” or “undocumented” migrants at all.
* “…six foreign workers, all with legal travel and work documents, were whisked out of their quarters in a resort in Cherating in the wee hours of the morning on Dec 28 last year when RELA members "literally broke into their chalet and ordered them out." (The Star, January 12, 2007).”
* “…a team of 30 to 40 RELA members (half not in uniforms) turned up to look for foreign workers, assaulted some and allegedly stole cash and valuables during the raid. The companies, who lodged police reports, said that all the workers had legal work permits…..”(The Star, December 4, 2006) ·
* “22 workers of an IT company were beaten and made to do a 50m "duck-walk" at Section 30 in Shah Alam…” (The Star, February 16, 2006)
* Residents of about 10 households in Taman Anggerik, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, complained that RELA personnel crashed into their homes after breaking door locks and smashing gates, and told them that they [RELA] were looking for illegal workers. The residents said the RELA personnel acted like gangsters and showed them no respect. When they asked the RELA personnel to explain why they crashed into their homes, they were told "we are the law." Cash totaling RM3,756 in a drawer was subsequently found missing. (The Star, October 17, 2006)
14. There have also been report of beatings and even deaths caused by RELA volunteers. As an example, in early 2006 it was reported that Ahmad Apik, 35, and Edy Sathurrohman, 26, both Indonesians, lost their lives, and they each left behind a wife and 2 young children. (Star, January 23, 2006).
15. The policy and practice of paying members of the People's Volunteer Corps (RELA) RM80-00 for each undocumented migrant must be stopped (The Star, January 23, 2006). Even MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Michael Chong claimed that the reward offered had made RELA volunteers desperate to nab as many illegals as possible. (The Star January 23, 2006)
15. Malaysia is a developed country and professionally trained enforcement personnel should be used for law enforcement, and the use of volunteers like the RELA must end.
16. Some migrants may be undocumented, but they are still human beings and deserved to be treated humanely and should be accorded equal protection under the law.
17. Malaysia, a party to the April 1999 BANGKOK DECLARATION ON IRREGULAR MIGRATION, which clearly states “Irregular [undocumented] migrants should be granted humanitarian treatment, including appropriate health and other services, while the cases of irregular migration are being handled, according to law. Any unfair treatment toward them should be avoided” must adhere to its commitments.
18. New laws can always be enacted by a parliament in times of peace if needed.

IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED:-
a) That we, the Malaysian Bar, call upon the Yang Di-Pertuan Agung to revoke all existing Proclamations of Emergency in Malaysia;
b) That we, the Malaysian Bar call for the repeal all legislations and Acts that were enacted and continue to be in force by reason of the now existing unrevoked Proclamations of Emergency;
c) That we, the Malaysian Bar reiterate our call for the repeal of Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 and the Essential (Security Cases) Regulations 1975;
d) That we, the Malaysian Bar specifically call for the repeal of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act 1979 and all Regulations and Rules made thereunder, in particular Essential (Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat) Regulations 1966 [P.U. 33/1966], as amended by the Essential (Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat) (Amendment) Regulations 2005;
e) That we, the Malaysian Bar call for the employment and usage of only properly trained professional law enforcement personnel in Malaysia;
f) That we, the Malaysian Bar urge that inquests be conducted for Ahmad Apik, Edy Sathurrohman and for the other persons who have died as result of alleged RELA actions;
g) That we, the Malaysian Bar urge that all persons including undocumented migrants and/or refugees be treated humanely and accorded equal protection of the law;
h) That we, the Malaysian Bar call on the Malaysian government to immediately ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families;
i) That we, the Malaysian Bar call on the Malaysian government to immediately ratify the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Proposers: Charles Hector & Francis Pereira, Motion dated 18th February 2007.The motion was unanimously carried at the 61st Annual General Meeting of the Malaysian Bar held at the Grand Ballroom, Legend Hotel, Kuala Lumpur - 17 March 2007
See earlier post:- Recalling why RELA must be abolished....

Good to visit places of worship and have dialogues with people of other faiths

Can a non-Muslim visit a Mosque and/or Surau in Malaysia? Can a non-Christian visit a Church/Chapel in Malaysia? Can a non-Hindu visit a temple in Malaysia? Can a non-Buddhist visit a temple in Malaysia? More so, if the said person who makes the visit does so on the invitation of the local community of worshipers...

It would have been a non-issue, save for Malaysia, it seems....or should I say, save for UMNO-led Barisan Nasional. Most Malaysians do not have any problems with such visits, talks, etc...and it has never been an issue...

Malaysian major BN parties are race-based parties, and they certainly would want to 'protect' their turf.... and would not be happy with any other party/person visiting...and/or talking to persons of a particular ethnicity/religion from a different party entering their 'turf' - it really is nothing but a narrow form of 'politicking'...

For, me it is absurd for duly elected 'wakil rakyat' (people's representatives) to not visit persons of other faiths, and be concerned about places of worship/burial grounds of persons of other faiths. She/he is duty bound to be concerned for all persons in her/his constituency - and this includes visitation and even having dialogue sessions. Of course, one must be respectful (not just tolerant) of the faith and culture of persons of other faiths...and that is all. 

We are Malaysians, and we do not want a divided Malaysia - where people are divided (and kept separate) according to religion and race....and, I do hope that all other MPs and ADUNs also start to visit places of worship and have dialogue sessions with these different communities of faith to better understand the people they serve...and to better represent them. 

Places of worship are natural gathering places of people - and, others too must use these places to have discussions, education programs, etc... In my church, we invited all those who were running for elections to address the people and they all came, save for the UMNO's parliamentary candidate... and it was good session. 

Likewise,   the Health Department, Consumer Affairs Departments, etc should also look at having sessions at places of worship - maybe just after regular religious service. We already have the hospitals coming in to places of worship for Blood Donation drives...the police coming to have dialogues after that church vandalism episodes...

The Kelantan menteri besar said it did not contravene Islamic law and was the best way to get to know Muslims better.

“There is nothing wrong for a non-Muslim woman to speak in a surau as long as she is decently dressed," he told reporters after presenting Aidifitri aid to orphans at Rumah Puteri Harapan Taman Sabariah in Kota Bahru today.

Nik Aziz was commenting action by Serdang Member of Parliament Teo Nie Ching who delivered a speech from the prayer area of Surau Al-Huda in Kajang Sentral. - Malaysiakini, 28/8/2010,
Nik Aziz defends female DAP MP over speech in surau

Despite condemnation of Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching's visit to a surau (Muslim prayer hall) in her constituency last week to attend a breaking of fast ceremony, she repeated the act yesterday.

teo nie qing attending buka puasa at bangi surauTeo was invited to the Al-Muhajirin surau, Bukit Mahkota where she also handed RM500 to People Volunteer Corps (Rela) personnel.

This time however, she stayed clear of the prayer hall and sported a selendang headscarf. The entire ceremony took place under a tent within the surau compound.

“(The visit) is based on the principle of serving the people regardless of their race and religion,” she said in a statement today.

Teo said that she was received with the same warmth shown during her visit to the Al Huda surau in Kajang, which sparked the controversy.

She said the congregation seemed unperturbed with the criticism against her and the series of articles condemning her, primarily by Malay daily Utusan Malaysia.

“Some even shook my hand and expressed their support,” said Teo.
Acting on principles
Teo said that as long as she acts based on principles, the people will not believe politically motivated attacks against her.


She added that, other than the donation from the state government, she also distributed dates and duit raya to children of single parents.


NONEThe first-term MP drew a firestorm of criticism from Umno politicians, pro-Umno blogs and Malay dailies over her visit to the Al Huda surau on Aug 22.


Her critics claimed that she had committed a grave insult to Muslims for speaking in front of the prayer hall, which is considered sacred and off-limits to non-Muslims.

The Selangor Religious Council has vowed to issue a written reprimand to Teo, while she plans to write to the Selangor Sultan to explain her action. - Malaysiakini, 30/8/2010, Teo attends another surau function

Many suraus and places of worship are small, and there may be no 'outside space' to pitch a tent and have the function. So, does this mean one will only visit places of worship which have a separate meting space?

Another thing that disturbed me was why was she handing over money to the RELA? Does that mean that the DAP (and Pakatan Rakyat) actually are not calling for the abolition of RELA?










Nazri reiterates call for abolition of death penalty...

Nazri called for the abolition of the death penalty in 2006....and again in 2010, he has done so again...Hopefully, this UMNO led BN government under new PM Najib will take the same position and abolish the death penalty.

KUALA LUMPUR: It is time for Malaysia to abolish the death penalty, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz.

“If it is wrong to take someone’s life, then the Government should not do it either. It’s ironic and not correct,” he told Sunday Star.

The de-facto law minister believed there was always the possibility that the accused person was not guilty.
“No criminal justice system is perfect. You take a man’s life and years later, you find out that another person did the crime. What can you do?”

In Malaysia, the death sentence is mandatory for murder and drug trafficking among other crimes. Recently, there have even been calls to classify fatal baby dumping cases as murder.

Nazri pointed out that worldwide, the trend was to abolish the death penalty.

However, he believed a change in the people’s mindset was needed before the law could be amended.
“It has been discussed informally (in the Government) but we don’t have the political will to do it at the moment,” he admitted, adding that the death penalty did not seem to be a deterrent to drug trafficking and murder.

Former High Court and Court of Appeal judge Datuk K.C. Vohrah is also in favour of abolishing the death penalty.

“The law is the law but I wish Parliament would abolish the death sentence because if a mistake is made, it would be irreversible. There are other ways of dealing with heinous crimes,” he said.

Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam said the commission was against capital punishment and had recommended its removal to the Government.

The Bar Council is also all for doing away with the death sentence.

“It is a form of punishment to exact vengeance but society has to learn to be more compassionate,” said council vice-president Lim Chee Wee, adding that resolutions to abolish capital punishment were made during the council’s AGM in 2006 and 2007. - Star, 29/8/2010, Abolish death penalty, it’s incorrect to take someone’s life, says Nazri

Well, he also called for the abolition of the death penalty in 2006, and then later said that it was his personal viewpoint but not the position of the UMNO-led BN Government....

Justice Minister backs abolition of death penalty

For Nazri Aziz "a life is a life. No one has the right to take someone else's life, even if that person is a murderer". From 1970 to the present, 359 people have been condemned to death; 159 are on death row.

Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Malaysian Justice Minister has said he supports abolishing Malaysia's death penalty. "For me, a life is a life. No one has the right to take someone else's life, even if that person has taken another life," Nazri Aziz, minister in charge of law, was quoted as saying to a local newspaper.

The minister's statement comes as the Malaysian Bar Council launched a campaign for abolishment of the death penalty: "I welcome this proposal. This is definitely something which should be looked into."

The Council said the death penalty is "barbaric, inhumane and an insufficient deterrent for crime", and called for an immediate moratorium on all death sentences.

But the minister said this would not be possible: "The death sentence has been part of our laws for a long time. It goes with the fabric of the whole system. After discussions are held, hopefully the attorney general will advise the government."

Malaysia is one of 76 countries which still impose the death penalty. It is mandatory for murder, for trafficking in heroin, cocaine, opium and marijuana, and for offences against the king. In the national penal code, possession of drugs is presumed to be trafficking.

At his discretion, a judge can also hand down the death penalty – administered by hanging – for crimes like kidnapping, associating with people carrying arms or explosives and waging war against the ruler.

Since 1970, Malaysia has hanged 359 people, 40 of them in the last 10 years. Most were convicted of drug trafficking. There are 159 prisoners on death row. - AsiaNews.it, 21/3/2006, Justice Minister backs abolition of death penalty
See also: MALAYSIA:Justice Minister backs abolition of death penalty ,


PENANG, May 8, 2006 (IPS) - While there is a global trend toward abolishing the death penalty, the Malaysian government is set to add more entries to its list of capital offences - like contamination of water and rape.


A new Water Services Industry Bill is one of two water-related bills due for a second reading in parliament this week. The bill seeks to revamp the way water is managed in the country, transferring control of state water authorities and privatised firms to a single federal regulatory body.


But it also provides for capital punishment for serious cases of water contamination that result in loss of life.


Anyone who contaminates the water supply with the intention of endangering lives or causing death could face the death penalty. The death penalty could also apply to those who contaminate the water supply with any substance that would likely endanger lives.


Opponents of the law believe the proposed rules are draconian and unworkable. Moreover, they do not address the real causes of water pollution.


"Most of the time, the real offenders are likely to be companies and you can't hang the companies," said Charles Hector, a human rights lawyer who was one of the coordinators of the campaign network Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET). "So who would face the death penalty then - the chairman of the board? All the directors? The general manager? The administrative officer? It's absurd."


Hector told IPS there was no need to add to the death penalty laws as there are already provisions in the penal code that cover the intention to kill someone. "Besides," he added, "we are against the death penalty as it doesn't address the real issues."


More than half the rivers in Malaysia are polluted by raw or partially treated sewage as well as industrial effluents, agricultural run-offs, waste from animal husbandry and land development, and municipal rubbish.


These can pollute sources of drinking water. After a flood in February, residents around Kuala Lumpur complained of smelly water coming from their taps. A common complaint at other times is of murky water in parts of the country.


The soaring costs of maintaining the rivers prompted the government of the developed state of Selangor to announce in February that it would privatise three key rivers to firms, which would be tasked with ensuring their cleanliness. Critics argue that this is not the solution as the sources of river pollution have to be tackled.


The new water bills are being tabled at a time when the private sector has been eyeing a larger stake in water treatment, supply and distribution.


Top officials at the Energy, Water and Telecommunications Ministry could not be reached for comment about the provision for the death penalty despite several attempts. That leaves Malayasians only speculating why that provision was added.


"I think the death penalty was included because they had terrorists in mind" who might deliberately contaminate water sources, opposition Parliamentarian Teresa Kok told IPS, adding, however, that she was opposed to the death penalty.


Others have a different view. "It seems that the intention of the bill is merely to randomly prosecute harshly some nobodies to give an impression something is being done," was one comment in response to a blog entry on the issue at the popular website, Malaysia Today.


By including the death penalty in the bill before parliament, Malaysia is bucking a global trend against capital punishment. It is one of 74 countries where the death penalty is still allowed, while 123 countries have abolished capital punishment.


In contrast, Malaysia's neighbour, the Philippines, commuted the death sentences of all prisoners last month. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has appealed to the Philippine Congress to abolish the death penalty, while Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban has described the country's death penalty laws as unconstitutional.


In Malaysia, however, the death penalty remains mandatory for drug trafficking (including possession), murder, certain firearms offences and offences against the king.


The majority of the death sentences meted out are for drug trafficking. Out of 52 people sentenced to death from 2004 until July 2005, 36 were convicted for drug offences. Last December, Deputy Internal Security Minister Chia Kwang Chye said that from 1960 through last October, 434 convicts were hanged while 172 cases were pending appeal.


But despite the country's tough stance, the drug menace remains serious. For MADPET, that proves that capital punishment is not the solution. It has never been proven that the death penalty effectively deters crime, the group says.


Parliamentarian Kok, however, is under no illusions that it will be easy to abolish capital punishment. She was a member of a Parliamentary select committee, made up predominantly of ruling coalition members, which traveled the country in 2004 seeking public views on proposed amendments to the penal code and criminal procedure code, which will be brought to Parliament on Thursday.


During the hearings, she said she got the impression that public sentiment was in favour of the death penalty. "The problem is that many among the public still want the death penalty in cases where the victim loses his or her life."


Kok told IPS that among proposed amendments to the codes is the provision for the death penalty for any act of terrorism involving the "release of poisonous substances into the environment". The death penalty would also be handed out to those found guilty of rape resulting in the death of the victim.


Kok pointed out that when the cabinet minister responsible for the law, Nazri Aziz, spoke out against the death penalty in March, he did not receive much support from his ruling coalition colleagues. "For me, a life is a life. No one has the right to take someone else's life, even if that person has taken another life," he had said.


Public opinion may be changing though. Nazri's comments were in response to an unprecedented resolution opposing the death penalty by the Malaysian Bar Council, the governing body for the country's 12,000 lawyers, at its annual general meeting on Mar. 18. The resolution, calling for the death penalty to be abolished and for a moratorium on all executions, was passed by a thumping 105-2 majority, with 21 abstentions.


And, during a recent morning talk show programme aired on state-run television station RTM2, a cell phone text message poll showed that just over 60 percent of those who responded supported the abolition of capital punishment. (END)  - IPS, 8/5/2006, Death to Malaysian Water Contaminators?

And, in September 2006, the same Nazri said that Malaysia would not abolish the death penalty as it served as a ‘good deterrent’? Read this posting to understand why he said this.

I hope that in 2010, the UMNO-led BN government has changed its position and it is the same as what Nazri stated...

To abolish the death penalty would also be in line with 2 United Nations General Assembly Resolutions in 2007 and 2008 which calls for an abolition of the death penalty...and an immediate moratorium on all executions pending abolition.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Recalling why RELA must be abolished....

Immigration Detention Center : "Under the new system, prisons officers will be in charge of security, immigration will be responsible for documentation while Rela will help out with security...." - Star, 6/8/2010, Detention depots proposed for illegal immigrants [See earlier post : - Prisons Officers again in-charge of Immigration Detention Centres]

RELA :- "...Zaidon also said the number of Rela members would increase from 1.3 million to 2.5 million before the year end, as part of its move to have 2.6 million members before 2012...". — Bernama, Star, 9/8/2010, Immigration detention security beefed up

This is very disturbing as Malaysian government still tries to rely on RELA, a volunteer force, rather that recruiting and employing more Prison Officers, Immigration Officers and other public servants. Our call has been for the total abolition of RELA - whereby these volunteers have got just too much power and protection from personal liability for wrong doings. The correct way of doing things is to increases the number of professional security personnel in the civil service, be they police, prison officers, ....not relying on a volunteer corp created during the period of Emergency...We already have a police volunteer force, armed forces volunteers, etc - no need at all for RELA.
Why must RELA be abolished? Let us remind ourselves by looking at the Malaysian Bar Resolution of 2007 that tells us why this must be so...

MALAYSIAN BAR RESOLUTION FOR THE END OF THE STATE OF EMERGENCY AND AN END TO LAW ENFORCEMENT” BY THE UNTRAINED AND ARMED PEOPLE'S VOLUNTEER CORPS ( RELA)
Whereas:-
1. On 31st August 2007, it will be 50 years since Malaysia achieved its independence and has been for over 30 years been a peaceful democratic nation.
2. It is sad that Malaysia is still in a state of Emergency as there exist today 4 Proclamation of Emergencies issued by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong that is yet to be revoked.
3. Since independence, five states of emergency have been declared under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution. The first was the only one to have been revoked. The remaining four are still in operation. The second state of emergency was proclaimed in September 1964 when the country was faced with a campaign of violence from Indonesia. Although the threat ceased within less than two years, the state of emergency was never revoked.
4. The next state of emergency was declared on 14 September 1966 following the dismissal of the Chief Minister of the state of Sarawak. No violence - or threat of violence - resulted from the crisis. The government nevertheless proclaimed an emergency, confined to Sarawak. And although the crisis was soon resolved, the state of emergency has not been revoked.
5. The fourth proclamation came on 15 May 1969 following large-scale rioting and racial violence in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, during a general election. The violence led to several hundred casualties. As a result, further elections were postponed and parts of the Constitution suspended. Normalcy was restored soon - the legislature was reconvened and normal constitutional government restored in February 1971. However, the state of emergency has yet to be revoked.
6. On 8 November 1977, the fifth Emergency, limited to the state of Kelantan, was declared following a political crisis.
7. By reason of the proclamation of emergency, numerous legislations were enacted and are still in force, including also :-
a) Emergency (Essential Powers) Act, 1964 (30/64), today known as the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act 1979;
b) Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969;
c) Essential (Security Cases) Regulations 1975
8. For example, Section 6 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act 1979, states that “"For so long as the Proclamation of Emergency referred to in the preamble to this Act remains in force, the regulations made under the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act, 1964 (30/64) (except those regulations which the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may by notification in the Gazette declare not to be in force) shall be in force and shall have effect as if they have been made under this Act; and the regulations may be amended, modified or repealed as if they have been made under this Act.". [The proclamation of emergency referred to in this Act was the proclamation issued on 15 May 1969.]
9. The Ikatan Relawan Rakyat or better known as RELA (a People's Volunteer Corps) came into being by virtue of Essential (Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat) Regulations 1966 [P.U. 33/1966], under Emergency (Essential Powers) Act, 1964 (30/64), and continue to be in force by virtue of Section 6 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act 1979.
10. By virtue of the Essential (Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat) (Amendment) Regulations 2005, which came into operation on 1 February 2005, the powers of the Rela, have been dangerously over-extended giving RELA personnel the right to bear and use firearms, stop, search and demand documents, arrest without a warrant, and enter premises without a warrant. and all these powers can be exercised the RELA personnel has reasonable belief that any person is a terrorist, undesirable person, illegal immigrant or an occupier. Illegal immigrant and occupier (which would be Malaysians usually) was added on by this 2005 amendment.
11. These not-professionally trained volunteers has also now been accorded protection by the new amendments whereby it is stated that "…The Public Authorities Protection Act 1948 shall apply to any action, suit, prosecution or proceedings against the Ketua Pengarah Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat, Timbalan Ketua Pengarah Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat or any member of the Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat in respect of any act, neglect or default done or committed by him in good faith or any omission omitted by him in good faith, in such capacity."
12. Noting also that there has been numerous complaints that have surfaced in the media about the RELA not just from migrants but also Malaysians ranging from torture, gangster-like behavior, damage to property, wrongful arrest and detention and even the causing of deaths.
13. Its was reported that RELA arrested a total of 17,700 people believed
to be illegal immigrants and screened 94,010 people up to September
2006, and that means 94,010 people (or 76,310) with proper documentations were subjected to unnecessary harassment and their right to a remedy in law is difficult. Of the people arrested, recent reports in the media indicate that many may even not be “illegal” or “undocumented” migrants at all.
* “…six foreign workers, all with legal travel and work documents, were whisked out of their quarters in a resort in Cherating in the wee hours of the morning on Dec 28 last year when RELA members "literally broke into their chalet and ordered them out." (The Star, January 12, 2007).”
* “…a team of 30 to 40 RELA members (half not in uniforms) turned up to look for foreign workers, assaulted some and allegedly stole cash and valuables during the raid. The companies, who lodged police reports, said that all the workers had legal work permits…..”(The Star, December 4, 2006) ·
* “22 workers of an IT company were beaten and made to do a 50m "duck-walk" at Section 30 in Shah Alam…” (The Star, February 16, 2006)
* Residents of about 10 households in Taman Anggerik, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, complained that RELA personnel crashed into their homes after breaking door locks and smashing gates, and told them that they [RELA] were looking for illegal workers. The residents said the RELA personnel acted like gangsters and showed them no respect. When they asked the RELA personnel to explain why they crashed into their homes, they were told "we are the law." Cash totaling RM3,756 in a drawer was subsequently found missing. (The Star, October 17, 2006)
14. There have also been report of beatings and even deaths caused by RELA volunteers. As an example, in early 2006 it was reported that Ahmad Apik, 35, and Edy Sathurrohman, 26, both Indonesians, lost their lives, and they each left behind a wife and 2 young children. (Star, January 23, 2006).
15. The policy and practice of paying members of the People's Volunteer Corps (RELA) RM80-00 for each undocumented migrant must be stopped (The Star, January 23, 2006). Even MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Michael Chong claimed that the reward offered had made RELA volunteers desperate to nab as many illegals as possible. (The Star January 23, 2006)
15. Malaysia is a developed country and professionally trained enforcement personnel should be used for law enforcement, and the use of volunteers like the RELA must end.
16. Some migrants may be undocumented, but they are still human beings and deserved to be treated humanely and should be accorded equal protection under the law.
17. Malaysia, a party to the April 1999 BANGKOK DECLARATION ON IRREGULAR MIGRATION, which clearly states “Irregular [undocumented] migrants should be granted humanitarian treatment, including appropriate health and other services, while the cases of irregular migration are being handled, according to law. Any unfair treatment toward them should be avoided” must adhere to its commitments.
18. New laws can always be enacted by a parliament in times of peace if needed.
IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED:-
a) That we, the Malaysian Bar, call upon the Yang Di-Pertuan Agung to revoke all existing Proclamations of Emergency in Malaysia;
b) That we, the Malaysian Bar call for the repeal all legislations and Acts that were enacted and continue to be in force by reason of the now existing unrevoked Proclamations of Emergency;
c) That we, the Malaysian Bar reiterate our call for the repeal of Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 and the Essential (Security Cases) Regulations 1975;
d) That we, the Malaysian Bar specifically call for the repeal of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act 1979 and all Regulations and Rules made thereunder, in particular Essential (Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat) Regulations 1966 [P.U. 33/1966], as amended by the Essential (Ikatan RELAwan Rakyat) (Amendment) Regulations 2005;
e) That we, the Malaysian Bar call for the employment and usage of only properly trained professional law enforcement personnel in Malaysia;
f) That we, the Malaysian Bar urge that inquests be conducted for Ahmad Apik, Edy Sathurrohman and for the other persons who have died as result of alleged RELA actions;
g) That we, the Malaysian Bar urge that all persons including undocumented migrants and/or refugees be treated humanely and accorded equal protection of the law;
h) That we, the Malaysian Bar call on the Malaysian government to immediately ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families;
i) That we, the Malaysian Bar call on the Malaysian government to immediately ratify the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Proposers: Charles Hector & Francis Pereira, Motion dated 18th February 2007.The motion was unanimously carried at the 61st Annual General Meeting of the Malaysian Bar held at the Grand Ballroom, Legend Hotel, Kuala Lumpur - 17 March 2007


Some more news reports about new systems at Immigration Detention Centres....that seem to bring back the RELA again irrespective of the lesser role that they will play in security...

Detention depots to be jointly managed by Immigration and Prisons depts, and Rela

BY MAZWIN NIK ANIS

PUTRAJAYA: The 13 depots housing illegal immigrants will now be jointly managed by the Immigration and Prisons departments, together with Rela, in an effort to boost and strengthen their administration and management, particularly in the area of security.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Lee Chee Leong said the decision was made after the special committee to enhance the management of the depots, chaired by secretary-general Datuk Seri Mahmood Adam, met Wednesday.

He said joint management of these depots would take effect immediately.

"The meeting has decided that Prisons Department will be in charge of security and prison management of these depots, Immigration will be responsible for documentation and immigration issues while Rela will look at the external security of these facilities," he said in a statement.

The depots involved are Simunjan and Bekenu in Sarawak, Pekan Nenas (Johor), Machap Umboo (Malacca), Lenggeng (Negri Sembilan), KL International Airport (KLIA) and Semenyih (Selangor), Langkap (Perak), Juru (Penang), Belantik (Kedah), Tanah Merah (Kelantan), Ajil (Terengganu) and Kemayan (Pahang).

On Sunday, 20 Afghans, who were being held as victims of human trafficking, fled the detention centre in KLIA around 3am after cutting security grilles to open two gates at the depot.

Twenty Immigration officers in charge of the detention centre were suspended pending investigations.

Both Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein have warned of harsh action if investigations showed it was an inside job or the work of syndicates, including a "change" in the Home Ministry secretary-general and Immigration director-general.

On March 27, 12 Afghans and four Myanmar nationas also escaped from the depot using the same modus operandi. - Star, 4/8/2010, Detention depots to be jointly managed by Immigration and Prisons depts, and Rela

Immigration detention security beefed up

HULU SELANGOR: Twenty Rela members have been stationed at every Immigration detention depot since three days ago to beef up security there.

Rela director-general Datuk Zaidon Asmuni said the move was made following the escape of 20 Afghans from the depot at the KL International Airport in Sepang on Aug 1.

“We have ordered our members to guard the depot round the clock,” he said after welcoming the Rela 1Malaysia Merdeka Motorcycle Expedition convoy at The Woods Resort here yesterday.

Zaidon also said the number of Rela members would increase from 1.3 million to 2.5 million before the year end, as part of its move to have 2.6 million members before 2012.

He said the recruitment drive was being intensified, particularly among youths, in response to a directive by the Home Ministry’s secretary-general.

Zaidon said most youths were not keen to join Rela as the allowance was not attractive and that they were still looking for a job or furthering their studies. — Bernama, Star, 9/8/2010, Immigration detention security beefed up


Thursday, August 26, 2010

FIDH calls for presidential pardon for Yong Vui Kong, Malyasian national, sentenced to death by hanging

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

PRESS RELEASE

SINGAPORE: FIDH calls for presidential pardon for Yong Vui Kong, Malyasian national, sentenced to death by hanging

 
Paris - Kuala Lumpur, 25 August 2010 - The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), representing 164 organisations across the world, calls on the Singaporean authorities to uphold the right to life, as enshrined in international law, and urges HE S. R. Nathan, President of Singapore, to exercise his constitutional power to grant a pardon to Mr. Yong Vui Kong, a 22-year-old Malaysian national, who has been sentenced to death by hanging.

Mr Yong, from Sabah, Malaysia, was 19 years old when he was arrested on 13 June 2007 in Singapore for drug possession and was later charged with trafficking 47.27g of diamorphine under Section 5(1)(a) of the Misuse of Drugs Act. He was convicted by the Singapore High Court in 7 January 2009 and sentenced to death by hanging (1). In December 2009, Mr Yong appealed against his sentence but not his conviction, admitting his action was wrong and in violation of the law. In a trial marred by public comments by executive officials, undermining the independence of the judicial proceedings, his appeal was dismissed on 14 May 2010 by Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong. At this final stage in the proceedings, Mr. Yong's only escape from the gallows is a presidential pardon commuting his sentence from execution to life imprisonment, on the advice of the Cabinet, pursuant to Article 22(P) of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore.

Several mitigating factors point towards the appropriate use of a presidential pardon in this case. Mr. Yong was born into a disadvantaged and vulnerable family situation. After his family moved to the estate of another family member, where Mr. Yong and his mother were repeatedly abused, Mr. Yong moved on his own as a youth to Kuala Lumpur. In addition, Mr Yong is repentant for his crime and has openly recognised his wrong-doing. He has consequently embraced Buddhism while incarcerated and has been educating his fellow inmates as well as the wider public on the destructive nature of drugs, hoping to use  his remaining days to provide positive guidance to young people like himself.

FIDH opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as a cruel, inhuman punishment that violates one of the most fundamental human rights: the right to life. In addition, our Organisation wishes to underline that execution of drug traffickers both in Singapore as well as in other parts of the world has had no apparent or proven deterrent effect on drug trafficking. Despite Law Minister Shanmugam's words to the contrary, there is no empirical data supporting the deterrence effect of the death penalty for drug crimes, especially among indigent and vulnerable sectors of society. In this particular case, FIDH invites the Singaporean authorities, in particular President Nathan, to consider Mr Yong’s repentance, background, and the positive message his rehabilitation and reform can send to young people around world in commuting Mr. Yong's sentence to life in prison. To this end, FIDH strongly urges a presidential pardon be granted to Mr Yong and calls the Singaporean government to take concrete steps towards abolishing the death penalty.

(1) Death sentence for drug related offences is mandatory in Singapore. For more information, see the statement of  Philip Alston, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions of the United Nations, in November 2005, calling on the Government of Singapore not to proceed with the planned execution of Nguyen Tuong Van sentenced to death for attempting to drug trafficking. Pror. Alston, a law professor at New York University, said that the execution of Mr Nguyen would violate international legal standards relating to the imposition of the death penalty. The principal problem, according to the UN Special Rapporteur, is the mandatory nature of the death penalty. (http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=5432&LangID=E)

--
Emmanouil Athanasiou
Responsable du Bureau Asie - Head of Asia Desk
FIDH - International Federation for Human Rights
Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l'Homme
17, Passage de la Main d'Or
75011 Paris, France

Tél.: 0033 1 43 55 25 18
Fax.: 0033 1 43 55 18 80

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Malaysia: Migrant workers protest ends in victory - the JCY case

Malaysia: Migrant workers protest ends in victory


More than 5,000 migrant workers of JCY Co. Ltd., an electronics factory in the Tebrau Industrial area of Johor Baru, protested near the workers' quarters over the negligence of their employer when a fellow worker died of high fever while at work. This happened on 16th August when the employer did not allow him to be taken to hospital in time. It is also reported that another Nepalese worker also died on 4th August due to lack of timely treatment.

Migrant workers protest ends in victory

The migrant workers' protest (previously reported on http://libcom.org) which took place at an electronics factory has ended in a resounding victory for the workers.

More than 5,000 migrant workers of JCY Co. Ltd., an electronics factory in the Tebrau Industrial area of Johor Baru, protested near the workers' quarters over the negligence of their employer when a fellow worker died of high fever while at work. This happened on 16th August when the employer did not allow him to be taken to hospital in time. It is also reported that another Nepalese worker also died on 4th August due to lack of timely treatment.

Migrant workers from Nepal, Myanmar, Vietnam, Bangladesh and India had united to register their strong protest over the death of their colleague in that factory. The workers had also highlighted the mistreatment by management, including low wages and no provision of healthcare facilities in the factory, which employs around 8,000 workers. About 200 Police and Federal Reserve Unit personnel were called by management to control the enraged workers. The determined workers put forward a four-point programme of demands, including a salary hike, in order to pressurise management into negotiating, as well as demanding that the Nepalese embassy intervene.

The three days protest ended in a victory for the workers. Management agreed to pay compensation of 10,000 Ringgit to the dead worker's family; increase the minimum monthly salary from 428 to 546 Ringgit; provide an ambulance service for emergency cases and on time treatment at a clinic on the factory premises.
The struggle revealed that when workers are united they can win their demands, even though the employers attempt to use differences in race, country and religion to ‘divide and conquer' workers. Recently, more and more migrant workers in Malaysia have bravely entered into struggle to fight for their rights.

This case of exploitation of migrant workers is only the tip of the iceberg in Malaysia. Most of the more than 3 million migrant workers (almost 10% of the Malaysian population) earn very low wages, work long hours and live and work in appalling conditions. According to the Nepalese embassy, during 2009 a total of 183 Nepalese workers in Malaysia lost their lives, and another 81 workers in the first six months of this year, mainly through illness and suicides. There are also many cases of deaths due to industrial accidents involving migrant workers.

In the meantime, the employers are using low wage migrant workers as a ‘threat' to discourage local workers from demanding high wages. The weak trade unions, with a right-wing reactionary and bureaucratic leadership, are not capable of playing a role in leading common struggles between local and migrant workers. At the same time, almost 90 percent of workers are not unionized, and the government's pro-employer labour and trade union law further undermines the rights of workers.

Although local workers are given a slightly better deal in wages, when compared to the high inflation rate their salary is not sufficient to manage their living expenses. Many are doing two jobs to meet their needs, and many even end up in the hands of loan sharks when they see no other way out. Even a recent government survey of about 1.3 million workers has shown that almost 34 per cent of them earned less than 700 Ringgit a month - below the poverty line of 720 Ringgit per month.

The multinationals, as well as the national capitalists, have been establishing their companies and factories in Malaysia to enlarge their profits. They do not care whether they employ local or foreign workers, as long as they can suck out the labour of workers to maximize their profits. Only workers can lend support to other workers for a common class struggle to liberate themselves from the viciousness of capitalism. An effort to build fighting trade unions, as well as a mass workers' party, is crucial towards achieving a society based on needs and genuine democracy without exploitation that is a socialist society.

http://libcom.org/news/malaysia-migrant-workers-protest-ends-victory-23082010

Monday, August 23, 2010

Amendments we need to better protect worker rights in Malaysia(1)

Amendments are being proposed to Labour Laws in Malaysia, but most of them seem to be pro-employer pro-business and anti-worker. I have perused the law, and decided to highlight some of the the changes in law that we desperately need to better protect workers...and to deter 'bad' employers from blatantly and repeatedly exploiting worker. One at a time, that will be the way that I will do this...

The UMNO-led BN have become pro-employer pro-businesses -- and one wonders whether Pakatan Rakyat (and the other Opposition Parties) are pro-worker, or also pro-employers? 


No Penalty – Just Pay Now What You Should Have Paid But Did Not

At present when an employer violates a worker’s legal rights with regard to wages, overtime payments, rest days, paid public holidays, paid annual leave, paid sick leave or hospitalization leave, maternity leave, etc, at the end of the of the day, if the employer is found to be guilty, he is required to pay the worker only what he should have paid at the very first instance. There is no additional penalty imposed in law, for the breaking of the law by the employer, and hence there is no deterrence.

In fact, many bad employers will just continue to deprive workers their legally recognized worker rights, knowing that even if their workers do complaint to the authorities, at the end of the day all they are required to pay is just what they should have paid in the very first place. 

There really must be an additional penalty imposed, say maybe, a sum of not less than ten thousand and not more than fifty thousand for each violation, and this would certainly be deterrence to employers violating worker rights. Maybe, all or part of this additional penalty should be paid to the affected worker.






Thursday, August 19, 2010

Malaysia ratified UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Malaysia: Disability Rights Treaty Ratification an ‘Important Step’
Concerns Remain on Government’s Willingness to Enforce Convention Fully
 
(New York, August 17, 2010) – Malaysia’s ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities can help bring real improvement in the lives of people with disabilities in Malaysia, Human Rights Watch said today. But Malaysia should withdraw its formal reservations to the treaty that will undermine its efforts to protect and promote those rights, Human Rights Watch said.
 
The Disability Rights Convention affirms broad protections for people with disabilities, including the rights to life, freedom from discrimination, equal recognition before the law, and access to justice, education, employment, and health. The treaty will go into effect in Malaysia on August 18, 2010.
 
“Malaysia has taken an important step to protect the rights of people with disabilities,” said Shantha Rau Barriga, disability rights researcher and advocate at Human Rights Watch. “But the convention should be seen as a springboard for changing Malaysian laws, policies, and practices that violate the rights of people with disabilities.”
 
While the Malaysian government has indicated plans to improve acceptance of people with disabilities into the mainstream, there are still problems with putting the plans into practice, Human Rights Watch said. Compliance with the 1984 law that mandates that public buildings be designed for accessibility is sporadic. In addition, a non-binding plan announced in 2009 to ensure that one percent of the government work force is reserved for persons with disabilities has not matched expectations.
 
The dropout rate for children with disabilities is a major concern, Human Rights Watch said. In part, this results from a lack of access to schools for children who use wheelchairs, for example, and in part from a lack of facilities, programs, and trained personnel to assist children with learning disabilities. The country’s education regulations even exclude the “non-educable” from schools.
 
Malaysia entered formal reservations to the Disability Rights Convention concerning the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment (article 15) and the right to liberty of movement and nationality (article 18). It also made a declaration limiting the government’s legal application of the principles of non-discrimination and equality.
 
Human Rights Watch urged Malaysia to withdraw these reservations immediately and to ensure that anyone with disabilities in Malaysia has the full protection of all rights set out in the convention. Countries that have ratified the Disability Rights Convention should make formal objections to Malaysia’s reservations and declaration, Human Rights Watch said.
 
Malaysia’s reservations are especially problematic, Human Rights Watch said, because the government has yet to ratify other major human rights treaties that incorporate these rights, specifically the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The prohibition against torture is one of the most basic under international law, permitting no exceptions. Malaysia has recently withdrawn a number of its reservations to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, but should remove all the remaining reservations, Human Rights Watch said.
 
“Malaysia’s reservations are troubling and send a terrible message to people with disabilities,” Barriga said. “What possible justification could Malaysia have for objecting to protecting persons with disabilities from torture or allowing them to move around the country?”
 
Human Rights Watch also urged Malaysia to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Disability Rights Convention, which allows individuals to send complaints of human rights violations to an international monitoring body. At present, Malaysia’s Persons with Disabilities Act provides no mechanisms for redress, and expressly prohibits legal actions against the government for violating the rights of persons with disabilities.
 
“By ratifying the Disability Rights Convention, Malaysia made progress toward fulfilling one of its pledges as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council to adopt more international human rights instruments,” Barriga said. “However, its reservations to the convention fall far short of honoring that pledge.”
 

 

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Preamble

The States Parties to the present Convention,
  1. Recalling the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations which recognize the inherent dignity and worth and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
  2. Recognizing that the United Nations, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenants on Human Rights, has proclaimed and agreed that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any kind,
  3. Reaffirming the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and the need for persons with disabilities to be guaranteed their full enjoyment without discrimination,
  4. Recalling the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families,
  5. Recognizing that disability is an evolving concept and that disability results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others,
  6. Recognizing the importance of the principles and policy guidelines contained in the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons and in the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities in influencing the promotion, formulation and evaluation of the policies, plans, programmes and actions at the national, regional and international levels to further equalize opportunities for persons with disabilities,
  7. Emphasizing the importance of mainstreaming disability issues as an integral part of relevant strategies of sustainable development,
  8. Recognizing also that discrimination against any person on the basis of disability is a violation of the inherent dignity and worth of the human person,
  9. Recognizing further the diversity of persons with disabilities,
  10. Recognizing the need to promote and protect the human rights of all persons with disabilities, including those who require more intensive support,
  11. Concerned that, despite these various instruments and undertakings, persons with disabilities continue to face barriers in their participation as equal members of society and violations of their human rights in all parts of the world,
  12. Recognizing the importance of international cooperation for improving the living conditions of persons with disabilities in every country, particularly in developing countries,
  13. Recognizing the valued existing and potential contributions made by persons with disabilities to the overall well-being and diversity of their communities, and that the promotion of the full enjoyment by persons with disabilities of their human rights and fundamental freedoms and of full participation by persons with disabilities will result in their enhanced sense of belonging and in significant advances in the human, social and economic development of society and the eradication of poverty,
  14. Recognizing the importance for persons with disabilities of their individual autonomy and independence, including the freedom to make their own choices,
  15. Considering that persons with disabilities should have the opportunity to be actively involved in decision-making processes about policies and programmes, including those directly concerning them,
  16. Concerned about the difficult conditions faced by persons with disabilities who are subject to multiple or aggravated forms of discrimination on the basis of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic, indigenous or social origin, property, birth, age or other status,
  17. Recognizing that women and girls with disabilities are often at greater risk, both within and outside the home of violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation,
  18. Recognizing that children with disabilities should have full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other children, and recalling obligations to that end undertaken by States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child,
  19. Emphasizing the need to incorporate a gender perspective in all efforts to promote the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by persons with disabilities,
  20. Highlighting the fact that the majority of persons with disabilities live in conditions of poverty, and in this regard recognizing the critical need to address the negative impact of poverty on persons with disabilities,
  21. Bearing in mind that conditions of peace and security based on full respect for the purposes and principles contained in the Charter of the United Nations and observance of applicable human rights instruments are indispensable for the full protection of persons with disabilities, in particular during armed conflicts and foreign occupation,
  22. Recognizing the importance of accessibility to the physical, social, economic and cultural environment, to health and education and to information and communication, in enabling persons with disabilities to fully enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms,
  23. Realizing that the individual, having duties to other individuals and to the community to which he or she belongs, is under a responsibility to strive for the promotion and observance of the rights recognized in the International Bill of Human Rights,
  24. Convinced that the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State, and that persons with disabilities and their family members should receive the necessary protection and assistance to enable families to contribute towards the full and equal enjoyment of the rights of persons with disabilities,
  25. Convinced that a comprehensive and integral international convention to promote and protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities will make a significant contribution to redressing the profound social disadvantage of persons with disabilities and promote their participation in the civil, political, economic, social and cultural spheres with equal opportunities, in both developing and developed countries,
Have agreed as follows:

Article 1 - Purpose

The purpose of the present Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.

Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

Article 2 - Definitions

For the purposes of the present Convention:
  • "Communication" includes languages, display of text, Braille, tactile communication, large print, accessible multimedia as well as written, audio, plain-language, human-reader and augmentative and alternative modes, means and formats of communication, including accessible information and communication technology;
  • "Language" includes spoken and signed languages and other forms of non spoken languages;
  • "Discrimination on the basis of disability" means any distinction, exclusion or restriction on the basis of disability which has the purpose or effect of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal basis with others, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field. It includes all forms of discrimination, including denial of reasonable accommodation;
  • "Reasonable accommodation" means necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments not imposing a disproportionate or undue burden, where needed in a particular case, to ensure to persons with disabilities the enjoyment or exercise on an equal basis with others of all human rights and fundamental freedoms;
  • "Universal design" means the design of products, environments, programmes and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. “Universal design” shall not exclude assistive devices for particular groups of persons with disabilities where this is needed.

Article 3 - General principles

The principles of the present Convention shall be:
  1. Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons;
  2. Non-discrimination;
  3. Full and effective participation and inclusion in society;
  4. Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity;
  5. Equality of opportunity;
  6. Accessibility;
  7. Equality between men and women;
  8. Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities.

Article 4 - General obligations

1. States Parties undertake to ensure and promote the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities without discrimination of any kind on the basis of disability. To this end, States Parties undertake:
  1. To adopt all appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the present Convention;
  2. To take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to modify or abolish existing laws, regulations, customs and practices that constitute discrimination against persons with disabilities;
  3. To take into account the protection and promotion of the human rights of persons with disabilities in all policies and programmes;
  4. To refrain from engaging in any act or practice that is inconsistent with the present Convention and to ensure that public authorities and institutions act in conformity with the present Convention;
  5. To take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability by any person, organization or private enterprise;
  6. To undertake or promote research and development of universally designed goods, services, equipment and facilities, as defined in article 2 of the present Convention, which should require the minimum possible adaptation and the least cost to meet the specific needs of a person with disabilities, to promote their availability and use, and to promote universal design in the development of standards and guidelines;
  7. To undertake or promote research and development of, and to promote the availability and use of new technologies, including information and communications technologies, mobility aids, devices and assistive technologies, suitable for persons with disabilities, giving priority to technologies at an affordable cost;
  8. To provide accessible information to persons with disabilities about mobility aids, devices and assistive technologies, including new technologies, as well as other forms of assistance, support services and facilities;
  9. To promote the training of professionals and staff working with persons with disabilities in the rights recognized in this Convention so as to better provide the assistance and services guaranteed by those rights.
2. With regard to economic, social and cultural rights, each State Party undertakes to take measures to the maximum of its available resources and, where needed, within the framework of international cooperation, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of these rights, without prejudice to those obligations contained in the present Convention that are immediately applicable according to international law.

3. In the development and implementation of legislation and policies to implement the present Convention, and in other decision-making processes concerning issues relating to persons with disabilities, States Parties shall closely consult with and actively involve persons with disabilities, including children with disabilities, through their representative organizations.

4. Nothing in the present Convention shall affect any provisions which are more conducive to the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities and which may be contained in the law of a State Party or international law in force for that State. There shall be no restriction upon or derogation from any of the human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized or existing in any State Party to the present Convention pursuant to law, conventions, regulation or custom on the pretext that the present Convention does not recognize such rights or freedoms or that it recognizes them to a lesser extent.

5. The provisions of the present Convention shall extend to all parts of federal states without any limitations or exceptions.

Article 5 - Equality and non-discrimination

1. States Parties recognize that all persons are equal before and under the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law.

2. States Parties shall prohibit all discrimination on the basis of disability and guarantee to persons with disabilities equal and effective legal protection against discrimination on all grounds.

3. In order to promote equality and eliminate discrimination, States Parties shall take all appropriate steps to ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided.

4. Specific measures which are necessary to accelerate or achieve de facto equality of persons with disabilities shall not be considered discrimination under the terms of the present Convention.

Article 6 - Women with disabilities

1. States Parties recognize that women and girls with disabilities are subject to multiple discrimination, and in this regard shall take measures to ensure the full and equal enjoyment by them of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure the full development, advancement and empowerment of women, for the purpose of guaranteeing them the exercise and enjoyment of the human rights and fundamental freedoms set out in the present Convention.

Article 7 - Children with disabilities

1. States Parties shall take all necessary measures to ensure the full enjoyment by children with disabilities of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other children.

2. In all actions concerning children with disabilities, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.

3. States Parties shall ensure that children with disabilities have the right to express their views freely on all matters affecting them, their views being given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity, on an equal basis with other children, and to be provided with disability and age-appropriate assistance to realize that right.

Article 8 - Awareness-raising

1. States Parties undertake to adopt immediate, effective and appropriate measures:
  1. To raise awareness throughout society, including at the family level, regarding persons with disabilities, and to foster respect for the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities;
  2. To combat stereotypes, prejudices and harmful practices relating to persons with disabilities, including those based on sex and age, in all areas of life;
  3. To promote awareness of the capabilities and contributions of persons with disabilities.
Measures to this end include:
  1. Initiating and maintaining effective public awareness campaigns designed:
    1. To nurture receptiveness to the rights of persons with disabilities;
    2. To promote positive perceptions and greater social awareness towards persons with disabilities;
    3. To promote recognition of the skills, merits and abilities of persons with disabilities, and of their contributions to the workplace and the labour market;
  2. Fostering at all levels of the education system, including in all children from an early age, an attitude of respect for the rights of persons with disabilities;
  3. Encouraging all organs of the media to portray persons with disabilities in a manner consistent with the purpose of the present Convention;
  4. Promoting awareness-training programmes regarding persons with disabilities and the rights of persons with disabilities.

Article 9 - Accessibility

1. To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. These measures, which shall include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility, shall apply to, inter alia:
  1. Buildings, roads, transportation and other indoor and outdoor facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces;
  2. Information, communications and other services, including electronic services and emergency services.
2. States Parties shall also take appropriate measures to:
  1. Develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public;
  2. Ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which are open or provided to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility for persons with disabilities;
  3. Provide training for stakeholders on accessibility issues facing persons with disabilities;
  4. Provide in buildings and other facilities open to the public signage in Braille and in easy to read and understand forms;
  5. Provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including guides, readers and professional sign language interpreters, to facilitate accessibility to buildings and other facilities open to the public;
  6. Promote other appropriate forms of assistance and support to persons with disabilities to ensure their access to information;
  7. Promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet;
  8. Promote the design, development, production and distribution of accessible information and communications technologies and systems at an early stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost.

Article 10 - Right to life

States Parties reaffirm that every human being has the inherent right to life and shall take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.

Article 11 - Situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies

States Parties shall take, in accordance with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters.

Article 12 - Equal recognition before the law

1. States Parties reaffirm that persons with disabilities have the right to recognition everywhere as persons before the law.

2. States Parties shall recognize that persons with disabilities enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life.

3. States Parties shall take appropriate measures to provide access by persons with disabilities to the support they may require in exercising their legal capacity.

4. States Parties shall ensure that all measures that relate to the exercise of legal capacity provide for appropriate and effective safeguards to prevent abuse in accordance with international human rights law. Such safeguards shall ensure that measures relating to the exercise of legal capacity respect the rights, will and preferences of the person, are free of conflict of interest and undue influence, are proportional and tailored to the person’s circumstances, apply for the shortest time possible and are subject to regular review by a competent, independent and impartial authority or judicial body. The safeguards shall be proportional to the degree to which such measures affect the person’s rights and interests.

5. Subject to the provisions of this article, States Parties shall take all appropriate and effective measures to ensure the equal right of persons with disabilities to own or inherit property, to control their own financial affairs and to have equal access to bank loans, mortgages and other forms of financial credit, and shall ensure that persons with disabilities are not arbitrarily deprived of their property.

Article 13 - Access to justice

1. States Parties shall ensure effective access to justice for persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others, including through the provision of procedural and age-appropriate accommodations, in order to facilitate their effective role as direct and indirect participants, including as witnesses, in all legal proceedings, including at investigative and other preliminary stages.

2. In order to help to ensure effective access to justice for persons with disabilities, States Parties shall promote appropriate training for those working in the field of administration of justice, including police and prison staff.

Article 14 - Liberty and security of the person

1. States Parties shall ensure that persons with disabilities, on an equal basis with others:
  1. Enjoy the right to liberty and security of person;
  2. Are not deprived of their liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily, and that any deprivation of liberty is in conformity with the law, and that the existence of a disability shall in no case justify a deprivation of liberty.
2. States Parties shall ensure that if persons with disabilities are deprived of their liberty through any process, they are, on an equal basis with others, entitled to guarantees in accordance with international human rights law and shall be treated in compliance with the objectives and principles of this Convention, including by provision of reasonable accommodation.

Article 15 - Freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

1. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected without his or her free consent to medical or scientific experimentation.

2. States Parties shall take all effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent persons with disabilities, on an equal basis with others, from being subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 16 - Freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse

1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social, educational and other measures to protect persons with disabilities, both within and outside the home, from all forms of exploitation, violence and abuse, including their gender-based aspects.

2. States Parties shall also take all appropriate measures to prevent all forms of exploitation, violence and abuse by ensuring, inter alia, appropriate forms of gender- and age-sensitive assistance and support for persons with disabilities and their families and caregivers, including through the provision of information and education on how to avoid, recognize and report instances of exploitation, violence and abuse. States Parties shall ensure that protection services are age-, gender- and disability-sensitive.

3. In order to prevent the occurrence of all forms of exploitation, violence and abuse, States Parties shall ensure that all facilities and programmes designed to serve persons with disabilities are effectively monitored by independent authorities.

4. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote the physical, cognitive and psychological recovery, rehabilitation and social reintegration of persons with disabilities who become victims of any form of exploitation, violence or abuse, including through the provision of protection services. Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment that fosters the health, welfare, self-respect, dignity and autonomy of the person and takes into account gender- and age-specific needs.

5. States Parties shall put in place effective legislation and policies, including women- and child-focused legislation and policies, to ensure that instances of exploitation, violence and abuse against persons with disabilities are identified, investigated and, where appropriate, prosecuted.

Article 17 - Protecting the integrity of the person

Every person with disabilities has a right to respect for his or her physical and mental integrity on an equal basis with others.

Article 18 - Liberty of movement and nationality

1. States Parties shall recognize the rights of persons with disabilities to liberty of movement, to freedom to choose their residence and to a nationality, on an equal basis with others, including by ensuring that persons with disabilities:
  1. Have the right to acquire and change a nationality and are not deprived of their nationality arbitrarily or on the basis of disability;
  2. Are not deprived, on the basis of disability, of their ability to obtain, possess and utilize documentation of their nationality or other documentation of identification, or to utilize relevant processes such as immigration proceedings, that may be needed to facilitate exercise of the right to liberty of movement;
  3. Are free to leave any country, including their own;
  4. Are not deprived, arbitrarily or on the basis of disability, of the right to enter their own country.
2. Children with disabilities shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by their parents.

Article 19 - Living independently and being included in the community

States Parties to this Convention recognize the equal right of all persons with disabilities to live in the community, with choices equal to others, and shall take effective and appropriate measures to facilitate full enjoyment by persons with disabilities of this right and their full inclusion and participation in the community, including by ensuring that:
  1. Persons with disabilities have the opportunity to choose their place of residence and where and with whom they live on an equal basis with others and are not obliged to live in a particular living arrangement;
  2. Persons with disabilities have access to a range of in-home, residential and other community support services, including personal assistance necessary to support living and inclusion in the community, and to prevent isolation or segregation from the community;
  3. Community services and facilities for the general population are available on an equal basis to persons with disabilities and are responsive to their needs.

Article 20 - Personal mobility

States Parties shall take effective measures to ensure personal mobility with the greatest possible independence for persons with disabilities, including by:
  1. Facilitating the personal mobility of persons with disabilities in the manner and at the time of their choice, and at affordable cost;
  2. Facilitating access by persons with disabilities to quality mobility aids, devices, assistive technologies and forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including by making them available at affordable cost;
  3. Providing training in mobility skills to persons with disabilities and to specialist staff working with persons with disabilities;
  4. Encouraging entities that produce mobility aids, devices and assistive technologies to take into account all aspects of mobility for persons with disabilities.

Article 21 - Freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities can exercise the right to freedom of expression and opinion, including the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas on an equal basis with others and through all forms of communication of their choice, as defined in article 2 of the present Convention, including by:
  1. Providing information intended for the general public to persons with disabilities in accessible formats and technologies appropriate to different kinds of disabilities in a timely manner and without additional cost;
  2. Accepting and facilitating the use of sign languages, Braille, augmentative and alternative communication, and all other accessible means, modes and formats of communication of their choice by persons with disabilities in official interactions;
  3. Urging private entities that provide services to the general public, including through the Internet, to provide information and services in accessible and usable formats for persons with disabilities;
  4. Encouraging the mass media, including providers of information through the Internet, to make their services accessible to persons with disabilities;
  5. Recognizing and promoting the use of sign languages.

Article 22 - Respect for privacy

1. No person with disabilities, regardless of place of residence or living arrangements, shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence or other types of communication or to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation. Persons with disabilities have the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

2. States Parties shall protect the privacy of personal, health and rehabilitation information of persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.

Article 23 - Respect for home and the family

1. States Parties shall take effective and appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against persons with disabilities in all matters relating to marriage, family, parenthood and relationships, on an equal basis with others, so as to ensure that:
  1. The right of all persons with disabilities who are of marriageable age to marry and to found a family on the basis of free and full consent of the intending spouses is recognized;
  2. The rights of persons with disabilities to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and to have access to age-appropriate information, reproductive and family planning education are recognized, and the means necessary to enable them to exercise these rights are provided;
  3. Persons with disabilities, including children, retain their fertility on an equal basis with others.
2. States Parties shall ensure the rights and responsibilities of persons with disabilities, with regard to guardianship, wardship, trusteeship, adoption of children or similar institutions, where these concepts exist in national legislation; in all cases the best interests of the child shall be paramount. States Parties shall render appropriate assistance to persons with disabilities in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities.

3. States Parties shall ensure that children with disabilities have equal rights with respect to family life. With a view to realizing these rights, and to prevent concealment, abandonment, neglect and segregation of children with disabilities, States Parties shall undertake to provide early and comprehensive information, services and support to children with disabilities and their families.

4. States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child. In no case shall a child be separated from parents on the basis of a disability of either the child or one or both of the parents.

5. States Parties shall, where the immediate family is unable to care for a child with disabilities, undertake every effort to provide alternative care within the wider family, and failing that, within the community in a family setting.

Article 24 - Education

1. States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to education. With a view to realizing this right without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity, States Parties shall ensure an inclusive education system at all levels and life long learning directed to:
  1. The full development of human potential and sense of dignity and self-worth, and the strengthening of respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and human diversity;
  2. The development by persons with disabilities of their personality, talents and creativity, as well as their mental and physical abilities, to their fullest potential;
  3. Enabling persons with disabilities to participate effectively in a free society.
2. In realizing this right, States Parties shall ensure that:
  1. Persons with disabilities are not excluded from the general education system on the basis of disability, and that children with disabilities are not excluded from free and compulsory primary education, or from secondary education, on the basis of disability;
  2. Persons with disabilities can access an inclusive, quality and free primary education and secondary education on an equal basis with others in the communities in which they live;
  3. Reasonable accommodation of the individual’s requirements is provided;
  4. Persons with disabilities receive the support required, within the general education system, to facilitate their effective education;
  5. Effective individualized support measures are provided in environments that maximize academic and social development, consistent with the goal of full inclusion.
3. States Parties shall enable persons with disabilities to learn life and social development skills to facilitate their full and equal participation in education and as members of the community. To this end, States Parties shall take appropriate measures, including:
  1. Facilitating the learning of Braille, alternative script, augmentative and alternative modes, means and formats of communication and orientation and mobility skills, and facilitating peer support and mentoring;
  2. Facilitating the learning of sign language and the promotion of the linguistic identity of the deaf community;
  3. Ensuring that the education of persons, and in particular children, who are blind, deaf or deafblind, is delivered in the most appropriate languages and modes and means of communication for the individual, and in environments which maximize academic and social development.
4. In order to help ensure the realization of this right, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to employ teachers, including teachers with disabilities, who are qualified in sign language and/or Braille, and to train professionals and staff who work at all levels of education. Such training shall incorporate disability awareness and the use of appropriate augmentative and alternative modes, means and formats of communication, educational techniques and materials to support persons with disabilities.

5. States Parties shall ensure that persons with disabilities are able to access general tertiary education, vocational training, adult education and lifelong learning without discrimination and on an equal basis with others. To this end, States Parties shall ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided to persons with disabilities.

Article 25 - Health

States Parties recognize that persons with disabilities have the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health without discrimination on the basis of disability. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure access for persons with disabilities to health services that are gender-sensitive, including health-related rehabilitation. In particular, States Parties shall:
  1. Provide persons with disabilities with the same range, quality and standard of free or affordable health care and programmes as provided to other persons, including in the area of sexual and reproductive health and population-based public health programmes;
  2. Provide those health services needed by persons with disabilities specifically because of their disabilities, including early identification and intervention as appropriate, and services designed to minimize and prevent further disabilities, including among children and older persons;
  3. Provide these health services as close as possible to people’s own communities, including in rural areas;
  4. Require health professionals to provide care of the same quality to persons with disabilities as to others, including on the basis of free and informed consent by, inter alia, raising awareness of the human rights, dignity, autonomy and needs of persons with disabilities through training and the promulgation of ethical standards for public and private health care;
  5. Prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities in the provision of health insurance, and life insurance where such insurance is permitted by national law, which shall be provided in a fair and reasonable manner;
  6. Prevent discriminatory denial of health care or health services or food and fluids on the basis of disability.

Article 26 - Habilitation and rehabilitation

1. States Parties shall take effective and appropriate measures, including through peer support, to enable persons with disabilities to attain and maintain maximum independence, full physical, mental, social and vocational ability, and full inclusion and participation in all aspects of life. To that end, States Parties shall organize, strengthen and extend comprehensive habilitation and rehabilitation services and programmes, particularly in the areas of health, employment, education and social services, in such a way that these services and programmes:
  1. Begin at the earliest possible stage, and are based on the multidisciplinary assessment of individual needs and strengths;
  2. Support participation and inclusion in the community and all aspects of society, are voluntary, and are available to persons with disabilities as close as possible to their own communities, including in rural areas.
2. States Parties shall promote the development of initial and continuing training for professionals and staff working in habilitation and rehabilitation services.

3. States Parties shall promote the availability, knowledge and use of assistive devices and technologies, designed for persons with disabilities, as they relate to habilitation and rehabilitation.

Article 27 - Work and employment

1. States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to work, on an equal basis with others; this includes the right to the opportunity to gain a living by work freely chosen or accepted in a labour market and work environment that is open, inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities. States Parties shall safeguard and promote the realization of the right to work, including for those who acquire a disability during the course of employment, by taking appropriate steps, including through legislation, to, inter alia:
  1. Prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability with regard to all matters concerning all forms of employment, including conditions of recruitment, hiring and employment, continuance of employment, career advancement and safe and healthy working conditions;
  2. Protect the rights of persons with disabilities, on an equal basis with others, to just and favourable conditions of work, including equal opportunities and equal remuneration for work of equal value, safe and healthy working conditions, including protection from harassment, and the redress of grievances;
  3. Ensure that persons with disabilities are able to exercise their labour and trade union rights on an equal basis with others;
  4. Enable persons with disabilities to have effective access to general technical and vocational guidance programmes, placement services and vocational and continuing training;
  5. Promote employment opportunities and career advancement for persons with disabilities in the labour market, as well as assistance in finding, obtaining, maintaining and returning to employment;
  6. Promote opportunities for self-employment, entrepreneurship, the development of cooperatives and starting one’s own business;
  7. Employ persons with disabilities in the public sector;
  8. Promote the employment of persons with disabilities in the private sector through appropriate policies and measures, which may include affirmative action programmes, incentives and other measures;
  9. Ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided to persons with disabilities in the workplace;
  10. Promote the acquisition by persons with disabilities of work experience in the open labour market;
  11. Promote vocational and professional rehabilitation, job retention and return-to-work programmes for persons with disabilities.
2. States Parties shall ensure that persons with disabilities are not held in slavery or in servitude, and are protected, on an equal basis with others, from forced or compulsory labour.

Article 28 - Adequate standard of living and social protection

1. States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions, and shall take appropriate steps to safeguard and promote the realization of this right without discrimination on the basis of disability.

2. States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to social protection and to the enjoyment of that right without discrimination on the basis of disability, and shall take appropriate steps to safeguard and promote the realization of this right, including measures:
  1. To ensure equal access by persons with disabilities to clean water services, and to ensure access to appropriate and affordable services, devices and other assistance for disability-related needs;
  2. To ensure access by persons with disabilities, in particular women and girls with disabilities and older persons with disabilities, to social protection programmes and poverty reduction programmes;
  3. To ensure access by persons with disabilities and their families living in situations of poverty to assistance from the State with disability-related expenses, including adequate training, counselling, financial assistance and respite care;
  4. To ensure access by persons with disabilities to public housing programmes;
  5. To ensure equal access by persons with disabilities to retirement benefits and programmes.

Article 29 - Participation in political and public life

States Parties shall guarantee to persons with disabilities political rights and the opportunity to enjoy them on an equal basis with others, and shall undertake to:
  1. Ensure that persons with disabilities can effectively and fully participate in political and public life on an equal basis with others, directly or through freely chosen representatives, including the right and opportunity for persons with disabilities to vote and be elected, inter alia, by:
    1. Ensuring that voting procedures, facilities and materials are appropriate, accessible and easy to understand and use;
    2. Protecting the right of persons with disabilities to vote by secret ballot in elections and public referendums without intimidation, and to stand for elections, to effectively hold office and perform all public functions at all levels of government, facilitating the use of assistive and new technologies where appropriate;
    3. Guaranteeing the free expression of the will of persons with disabilities as electors and to this end, where necessary, at their request, allowing assistance in voting by a person of their own choice;
  2. Promote actively an environment in which persons with disabilities can effectively and fully participate in the conduct of public affairs, without discrimination and on an equal basis with others, and encourage their participation in public affairs, including:
    1. Participation in non-governmental organizations and associations concerned with the public and political life of the country, and in the activities and administration of political parties;
    2. Forming and joining organizations of persons with disabilities to represent persons with disabilities at international, national, regional and local levels.

Article 30 - Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport

1. States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to take part on an equal basis with others in cultural life, and shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities:
  1. Enjoy access to cultural materials in accessible formats;
  2. Enjoy access to television programmes, films, theatre and other cultural activities, in accessible formats;
  3. Enjoy access to places for cultural performances or services, such as theatres, museums, cinemas, libraries and tourism services, and, as far as possible, enjoy access to monuments and sites of national cultural importance.
2. States Parties shall take appropriate measures to enable persons with disabilities to have the opportunity to develop and utilize their creative, artistic and intellectual potential, not only for their own benefit, but also for the enrichment of society.

3. States Parties shall take all appropriate steps, in accordance with international law, to ensure that laws protecting intellectual property rights do not constitute an unreasonable or discriminatory barrier to access by persons with disabilities to cultural materials.

4. Persons with disabilities shall be entitled, on an equal basis with others, to recognition and support of their specific cultural and linguistic identity, including sign languages and deaf culture.

5. With a view to enabling persons with disabilities to participate on an equal basis with others in recreational, leisure and sporting activities, States Parties shall take appropriate measures:
  1. To encourage and promote the participation, to the fullest extent possible, of persons with disabilities in mainstream sporting activities at all levels;
  2. To ensure that persons with disabilities have an opportunity to organize, develop and participate in disability-specific sporting and recreational activities and, to this end, encourage the provision, on an equal basis with others, of appropriate instruction, training and resources;
  3. To ensure that persons with disabilities have access to sporting, recreational and tourism venues;
  4. To ensure that children with disabilities have equal access with other children to participation in play, recreation and leisure and sporting activities, including those activities in the school system;
  5. To ensure that persons with disabilities have access to services from those involved in the organization of recreational, tourism, leisure and sporting activities.

Article 31 - Statistics and data collection

1. States Parties undertake to collect appropriate information, including statistical and research data, to enable them to formulate and implement policies to give effect to the present Convention. The process of collecting and maintaining this information shall:
  1. Comply with legally established safeguards, including legislation on data protection, to ensure confidentiality and respect for the privacy of persons with disabilities;
  2. Comply with internationally accepted norms to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms and ethical principles in the collection and use of statistics.
2. The information collected in accordance with this article shall be disaggregated, as appropriate, and used to help assess the implementation of States Parties’ obligations under the present Convention and to identify and address the barriers faced by persons with disabilities in exercising their rights.

3. States Parties shall assume responsibility for the dissemination of these statistics and ensure their accessibility to persons with disabilities and others.

Article 32 - International cooperation

1. States Parties recognize the importance of international cooperation and its promotion, in support of national efforts for the realization of the purpose and objectives of the present Convention, and will undertake appropriate and effective measures in this regard, between and among States and, as appropriate, in partnership with relevant international and regional organizations and civil society, in particular organizations of persons with disabilities. Such measures could include, inter alia:
  1. Ensuring that international cooperation, including international development programmes, is inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities;
  2. Facilitating and supporting capacity-building, including through the exchange and sharing of information, experiences, training programmes and best practices;
  3. Facilitating cooperation in research and access to scientific and technical knowledge;
  4. Providing, as appropriate, technical and economic assistance, including by facilitating access to and sharing of accessible and assistive technologies, and through the transfer of technologies.
2. The provisions of this article are without prejudice to the obligations of each State Party to fulfil its obligations under the present Convention.

Article 33 - National implementation and monitoring

1. States Parties, in accordance with their system of organization, shall designate one or more focal points within government for matters relating to the implementation of the present Convention, and shall give due consideration to the establishment or designation of a coordination mechanism within government to facilitate related action in different sectors and at different levels.

2. States Parties shall, in accordance with their legal and administrative systems, maintain, strengthen, designate or establish within the State Party, a framework, including one or more independent mechanisms, as appropriate, to promote, protect and monitor implementation of the present Convention. When designating or establishing such a mechanism, States Parties shall take into account the principles relating to the status and functioning of national institutions for protection and promotion of human rights.

3. Civil society, in particular persons with disabilities and their representative organizations, shall be involved and participate fully in the monitoring process.

Article 34 - Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

1. There shall be established a Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (hereafter referred to as “the Committee”), which shall carry out the functions hereinafter provided.

2. The Committee shall consist, at the time of entry into force of the present Convention, of twelve experts. After an additional sixty ratifications or accessions to the Convention, the membership of the Committee shall increase by six members, attaining a maximum number of eighteen members.

3. The members of the Committee shall serve in their personal capacity and shall be of high moral standing and recognized competence and experience in the field covered by the present Convention. When nominating their candidates, States Parties are invited to give due consideration to the provision set out in article 4.3 of the present Convention.

4. The members of the Committee shall be elected by States Parties, consideration being given to equitable geographical distribution, representation of the different forms of civilization and of the principal legal systems, balanced gender representation and participation of experts with disabilities.

5. The members of the Committee shall be elected by secret ballot from a list of persons nominated by the States Parties from among their nationals at meetings of the Conference of States Parties. At those meetings, for which two thirds of States Parties shall constitute a quorum, the persons elected to the Committee shall be those who obtain the largest number of votes and an absolute majority of the votes of the representatives of States Parties present and voting.

6. The initial election shall be held no later than six months after the date of entry into force of the present Convention. At least four months before the date of each election, the Secretary-General of the United Nations shall address a letter to the States Parties inviting them to submit the nominations within two months. The Secretary-General shall subsequently prepare a list in alphabetical order of all persons thus nominated, indicating the State Parties which have nominated them, and shall submit it to the States Parties to the present Convention.

7. The members of the Committee shall be elected for a term of four years. They shall be eligible for re-election once. However, the term of six of the members elected at the first election shall expire at the end of two years; immediately after the first election, the names of these six members shall be chosen by lot by the chairperson of the meeting referred to in paragraph 5 of this article.

8. The election of the six additional members of the Committee shall be held on the occasion of regular elections, in accordance with the relevant provisions of this article.

9. If a member of the Committee dies or resigns or declares that for any other cause she or he can no longer perform her or his duties, the State Party which nominated the member shall appoint another expert possessing the qualifications and meeting the requirements set out in the relevant provisions of this article, to serve for the remainder of the term.

10. The Committee shall establish its own rules of procedure.

11. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall provide the necessary staff and facilities for the effective performance of the functions of the Committee under the present Convention, and shall convene its initial meeting.

12. With the approval of the General Assembly, the members of the Committee established under the present Convention shall receive emoluments from United Nations resources on such terms and conditions as the Assembly may decide, having regard to the importance of the Committee’s responsibilities.

13. The members of the Committee shall be entitled to the facilities, privileges and immunities of experts on mission for the United Nations as laid down in the relevant sections of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations.

Article 35 - Reports by States Parties

1. Each State Party shall submit to the Committee, through the Secretary-General of the United Nations, a comprehensive report on measures taken to give effect to its obligations under the present Convention and on the progress made in that regard, within two years after the entry into force of the present Convention for the State Party concerned.

2. Thereafter, States Parties shall submit subsequent reports at least every four years and further whenever the Committee so requests.

3. The Committee shall decide any guidelines applicable to the content of the reports.

4. A State Party which has submitted a comprehensive initial report to the Committee need not, in its subsequent reports, repeat information previously provided. When preparing reports to the Committee, States Parties are invited to consider doing so in an open and transparent process and to give due consideration to the provision set out in article 4.3 of the present Convention.

5. Reports may indicate factors and difficulties affecting the degree of fulfilment of obligations under the present Convention.

Article 36 - Consideration of reports

1. Each report shall be considered by the Committee, which shall make such suggestions and general recommendations on the report as it may consider appropriate and shall forward these to the State Party concerned. The State Party may respond with any information it chooses to the Committee. The Committee may request further information from States Parties relevant to the implementation of the present Convention.

2. If a State Party is significantly overdue in the submission of a report, the Committee may notify the State Party concerned of the need to examine the implementation of the present Convention in that State Party, on the basis of reliable information available to the Committee, if the relevant report is not submitted within three months following the notification. The Committee shall invite the State Party concerned to participate in such examination. Should the State Party respond by submitting the relevant report, the provisions of paragraph 1 of this article will apply.

3. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall make available the reports to all States Parties.

4. States Parties shall make their reports widely available to the public in their own countries and facilitate access to the suggestions and general recommendations relating to these reports.

5. The Committee shall transmit, as it may consider appropriate, to the specialized agencies, funds and programmes of the United Nations, and other competent bodies, reports from States Parties in order to address a request or indication of a need for technical advice or assistance contained therein, along with the Committee’s observations and recommendations, if any, on these requests or indications.

Article 37 - Cooperation between States Parties and the Committee

1. Each State Party shall cooperate with the Committee and assist its members in the fulfilment of their mandate.

2. In its relationship with States Parties, the Committee shall give due consideration to ways and means of enhancing national capacities for the implementation of the present Convention, including through international cooperation.

Article 38 - Relationship of the Committee with other bodies

In order to foster the effective implementation of the present Convention and to encourage international cooperation in the field covered by the present Convention:
  1. The specialized agencies and other United Nations organs shall be entitled to be represented at the consideration of the implementation of such provisions of the present Convention as fall within the scope of their mandate. The Committee may invite the specialized agencies and other competent bodies as it may consider appropriate to provide expert advice on the implementation of the Convention in areas falling within the scope of their respective mandates. The Committee may invite specialized agencies and other United Nations organs to submit reports on the implementation of the Convention in areas falling within the scope of their activities;
  2. The Committee, as it discharges its mandate, shall consult, as appropriate, other relevant bodies instituted by international human rights treaties, with a view to ensuring the consistency of their respective reporting guidelines, suggestions and general recommendations, and avoiding duplication and overlap in the performance of their functions.

Article 39 - Report of the Committee

The Committee shall report every two years to the General Assembly and to the Economic and Social Council on its activities, and may make suggestions and general recommendations based on the examination of reports and information received from the States Parties. Such suggestions and general recommendations shall be included in the report of the Committee together with comments, if any, from States Parties.

Article 40 - Conference of States Parties

1. The States Parties shall meet regularly in a Conference of States Parties in order to consider any matter with regard to the implementation of the present Convention.

2. No later than six months after the entry into force of the present Convention, the Conference of the States Parties shall be convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The subsequent meetings shall be convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations biennially or upon the decision of the Conference of States Parties.

Article 41 - Depositary

The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall be the depositary of the present Convention.

Article 42 - Signature

The present Convention shall be open for signature by all States and by regional integration organizations at United Nations Headquarters in New York as of 30 March 2007.

Article 43 - Consent to be bound

The present Convention shall be subject to ratification by signatory States and to formal confirmation by signatory regional integration organizations. It shall be open for accession by any State or regional integration organization which has not signed the Convention.

Article 44 - Regional integration organizations

1. “Regional integration organization” shall mean an organization constituted by sovereign States of a given region, to which its member States have transferred competence in respect of matters governed by this Convention. Such organizations shall declare, in their instruments of formal confirmation or accession, the extent of their competence with respect to matters governed by this Convention. Subsequently, they shall inform the depositary of any substantial modification in the extent of their competence.

2. References to “States Parties” in the present Convention shall apply to such organizations within the limits of their competence.

3. For the purposes of article 45, paragraph 1, and article 47, paragraphs 2 and 3, any instrument deposited by a regional integration organization shall not be counted.

4. Regional integration organizations, in matters within their competence, may exercise their right to vote in the Conference of States Parties, with a number of votes equal to the number of their member States that are Parties to this Convention. Such an organization shall not exercise its right to vote if any of its member States exercises its right, and vice versa.

Article 45 - Entry into force

1. The present Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the deposit of the twentieth instrument of ratification or accession.

2. For each State or regional integration organization ratifying, formally confirming or acceding to the Convention after the deposit of the twentieth such instrument, the Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the deposit of its own such instrument.

Article 46 - Reservations

1. Reservations incompatible with the object and purpose of the present Convention shall not be permitted.

2. Reservations may be withdrawn at any time.

Article 47 - Amendments

1. Any State Party may propose an amendment to the present Convention and submit it to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Secretary-General shall communicate any proposed amendments to States Parties, with a request to be notified whether they favour a conference of States Parties for the purpose of considering and deciding upon the proposals. In the event that, within four months from the date of such communication, at least one third of the States Parties favour such a conference, the Secretary-General shall convene the conference under the auspices of the United Nations. Any amendment adopted by a majority of two thirds of the States Parties present and voting shall be submitted by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly for approval and thereafter to all States Parties for acceptance.

2. An amendment adopted and approved in accordance with paragraph 1 of this article shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the number of instruments of acceptance deposited reaches two thirds of the number of States Parties at the date of adoption of the amendment. Thereafter, the amendment shall enter into force for any State Party on the thirtieth day following the deposit of its own instrument of acceptance. An amendment shall be binding only on those States Parties which have accepted it.

3. If so decided by the Conference of States Parties by consensus, an amendment adopted and approved in accordance with paragraph 1 of this article which relates exclusively to articles 34, 38, 39 and 40 shall enter into force for all States Parties on the thirtieth day after the number of instruments of acceptance deposited reaches two thirds of the number of States Parties at the date of adoption of the amendment.

Article 48 - Denunciation

A State Party may denounce the present Convention by written notification to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The denunciation shall become effective one year after the date of receipt of the notification by the Secretary-General.

Article 49 - Accessible format

The text of the present Convention shall be made available in accessible formats.

Article 50 - Authentic texts

The Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts of the present Convention shall be equally authentic.

In witness thereof the undersigned plenipotentiaries, being duly authorized thereto by their respective Governments, have signed the present Convention.

Source: Annex 1, Final report of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities [A/61/611 - PDF, 117KB]