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UN disability rights treaty talks frustrated by disagreement, US opposition

[JURIST] A UN committee charged with creating worldwide standards to protect persons with disabilities has been swamped with 150 proposed amendments to the draft convention [text] currently under discussion. The Eighth Session [UN materials] of the committee on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities [official website; JURIST report] has made progress in several key areas, according to conference chair Don MacKay of New Zealand, in settling on a definition of disabilities [DOC text], and on deciding to emphasize the right of the disabled to make their own decisions if they choose, rather than requiring a guardian to make decisions for the intellectually disabled.

The committee is scheduled to wrap up talks by Friday, but participants worry that the large volume of proposed amendments may prevent a speedy agreement on the final text. The main disagreements involve issues of sexual and reproductive freedoms. In addition, the US has remained opposed to the convention in general, arguing that such an agreement could have a confusing or negative impact on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) [DOJ materials; text]. AP has more. The UN News Centre has additional coverage.

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