AG/RES. 1369 (XXVI-O/96)
PANAMA COMMITMENT TO PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN THE AMERICAN HEMISPHERE
(Resolution adopted at the sixth plenary session, held on June 5, 1996)
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,
That one of the fundamental principles of the states of the Hemisphere is that "social justice and social security are bases of lasting peace," as stated in Article 3.i of the Charter of the Organization of American States; and
That the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man proclaims that all human beings are born free and equal, in dignity and in rights, and that the rights and freedoms of every person must be respected without distinction of any kind;
REAFFIRMING that the true meaning of solidarity and good neighborliness in the Americas can be none other than consolidating in this Hemisphere, within the framework of democratic institutions, a system of individual liberty and social justice based on respect for essential human rights;
BEARING IN MIND that disability can give rise to situations of discrimination, for which reason actions and measures to improve substantially the status of persons with disabilities in the Hemisphere must be promoted;
CONSIDERING that, in the Declaration of Principles of the Summit of the Americas, the heads of state and government meeting in 1994 declared that "it is politically intolerable and morally unacceptable that some segments of our populations are marginalized and do not share fully in the benefits of growth" and set forth as an objective "to better meet the needs of the population, especially the needs of women and the most vulnerable groups, including indigenous people, the disabled, children, the aged, and minorities";
RECALLING that the Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, "Protocol of San Salvador," recognizes the right of any person affected by a physical or mental disability "to receive special attention designed to help him achieve the greatest possible development of his personality";
BEARING IN MIND the Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons [United Nations General Assembly resolution 3447 (XXX), 1975]; the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (United Nations General Assembly resolution 48/96, 1993); the Principles for the Protection of Persons with Mental Illness and for the Improvement of Mental Health Care (United Nations General Assembly resolution 46/119, 1991); the Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons [United Nations General Assembly resolution 2856 (XXVI), 1971]; the Convention concerning Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Disabled Persons, International Labour Organisation (Convention No. 159); the Caracas Declaration of the Pan American Health Organization; and the resolutions on the situation of persons with disabilities in the American Hemisphere [AG/RES. 1249 (XXIII-O/93), AG/RES. 1296 (XXIV-O/94), and AG/RES. 1356 (XXV-O/95)];
TAKING NOTE of the "Agenda for the Future," formulated at the meeting of delegates and 17 first ladies and their representatives from 34 nations of the Hemisphere (1993), which establishes strategies for developing the potential of persons with disabilities; and of the Declaration of Managua, sponsored by the Inter-American Confederation of the International League of Societies for Persons with Mental Handicap (CILPEDIM), the Inter-American Children's Institute (IIN), and the Canadian Association for Community Living, at a meeting attended by delegates from 36 countries of the Americas, including persons with disabilities, children, youths, families, professionals, and government representatives, at the launching of the project "Partnerships in Community Living";
RECALLING the initiative taken by the governments of Costa Rica and Panama in presenting a draft Inter-American Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination by Reason of Disability; and
TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION the document "The Law in a New Inter-American Order," presented by the Secretary General, which refers to the problems of persons with disabilities in the Hemisphere,
1. To declare its commitment to intensify efforts in behalf of persons with disabilities.
2. To express its firm and steadfast commitment to defend and promote the human rights of persons with disabilities, and the need to improve services and develop better opportunities for persons with disabilities in the Hemisphere.
3. To recommend to the member states that, to the extent of their ability, they intensify efforts to provide to persons with disabilities equal access to health care, education, and training, opportunities for employment and an independent life, and, in general, facilities to integrate them fully into society as productive members.
4. To instruct the Permanent Council, through the appropriate Working Group, to prepare a draft Inter-American Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination by Reason of Disability, taking into account other existing instruments, with support from the General Secretariat and on the basis of the draft submitted by the Government of Panama and cosponsored by the Government of Costa Rica, and also bearing in mind the observations of the member states.
5. To instruct the Inter-American Juridical Committee, once it has received the draft convention prepared in accordance with the preceding paragraph, to prepare and submit its observations to the Permanent Council at the earliest possible date.
6. To instruct the Permanent Council, through its appropriate Working Group, once it has received the observations mentioned above, to prepare a new draft convention for review at a special series of meetings of the said Working Group, to be held at the headquarters of the Organization of American States and attended by legal or other experts appointed by the member states.
7. To request the General Secretariat to strive to prevent duplication of effort by continuing to coordinate strategies and programs for persons with disabilities with the Pan American Health Organization and the Inter-American Children's Institute, and also to work with the Inter-American Development Bank to improve programs and services for persons with disabilities in the American states.
8. To urge those member states that have not yet done so to sign, ratify, or accede to the Protocol of San Salvador, as appropriate, so that it may enter into force as soon as possible.
9. To instruct the Permanent Council to report to the General Assembly at its twenty-seventh regular session on progress toward the implementation of this resolution.