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DGCArticle9.doc - CRPD/C/11/3 United Nations Convention on...

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Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Eleventh session 30 March –11 April 2014 Item 10 of the provisional agenda General comments and days of general discussion General comment on Article 9: Accessibility Draft prepared by the Committee The draft general comment on Article 9 on accessibility was prepared by the Committee pursuant to Rule 47, paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Committee’s Rules of Procedure (CRPD/C/4/2) and paragraph 54 of the Committee’s Working Methods (CRPD/C/5/4). GE.13-49134 United Nations CRPD /C/11/3 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Distr.: General 25 November 2013 Original: English
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CRPD/C/11/3 I. Introduction 1. Accessibility is a precondition for persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully and equally in society. Without access to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communication, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, persons with disabilities would not have equal opportunities for participation in their respective societies. It is no coincidence that accessibility is one of the principles on which the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is based (art. 3 (f)). Historically, the persons with disabilities movement has argued that access to the physical environment and public transport for persons with disabilities is a precondition for freedom of movement, as guaranteed under article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Similarly, access to information and communication is seen as a precondition for freedom of opinion and expression, as guaranteed under article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 19, paragraph 2, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 2. Article 25 (c) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights enshrines the right of every citizen to have access, on general terms of equality, to public service in his or her country. The provisions of this article could serve as a basis to incorporate the right of access into the core human rights treaties. 3. The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination guarantees everyone the right of access to any place or service intended for use by the general public, such as transport hotels, restaurants, cafes, theatres and parks (art. 5 (f)). Thus, a precedent has been established in the international human rights legal framework for viewing the right to access as a right per se. Admittedly, for members of different racial or ethnic groups, the barriers to free access to places and services open to the public were the result of prejudicial attitudes and a readiness to use force in preventing access to spaces that were physically accessible. However, persons with disabilities face technical barriers such as staircases at the entrances of buildings, the absence of lifts in multi-floor buildings and a lack of information in accessible formats. Such barriers are
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