at Guatemala City, Guatemala at the twenty-ninth regular session of the
General Assembly of the OAS, held on June 7, 1999)
THE STATES PARTIES TO THIS CONVENTION,
REAFFIRMING that persons with disabilities have the same human
rights and fundamental freedoms as other persons; and that these rights,
which include freedom from discrimination based on disability, flow from
the inherent dignity and equality of each person;
CONSIDERING that the Charter of the Organization of American
States, in Article 3.j, establishes the principle that "social
justice and social security are bases of lasting peace";
CONCERNED by the discrimination to which people are subject based
on their disability;
BEARING IN MIND the agreement of the International Labour
Organisation on the vocational rehabilitation and employment of disabled
persons (Convention 159); the Declaration of the Rights of Mentally
Retarded Persons (UN General Assembly resolution 2856 (XXVI) of December
20, 1971); the Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons (UN General
Assembly resolution 3447 (XXX) of December 9, 1975); the World Programme
of Action concerning Disabled Persons (UN General Assembly resolution
37/52 of December 3, 1982); the Additional Protocol to the American
Convention on Human Rights in the area of Economic, Social, and Cultural
Rights, "Protocol of San Salvador" (1988); the Principles for
the Protection of Persons with Mental Illness and for the Improvement of
Mental Health Care (UN General Assembly resolution 46/119 of December 17,
1991); the Declaration of Caracas of the Pan American Health Organization;
resolution AG/RES. 1249 (XXIII-O/93), "Situation of Persons with
Disabilities in the American Hemisphere"; the Standard Rules on the
Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (UN General
Assembly resolution 48/96 of December 20, 1993); the Declaration of
Managua (December 1993); the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action,
adopted by the UN World Conference on Human Rights (157/93); resolution
AG/RES. 1356 (XXV-O/95), "Situation of Persons with Disabilities in
the American Hemisphere"; and AG/RES. 1369 (XXVI-O/96), "Panama
Commitment to Persons with Disabilities in the American Hemisphere";
COMMITTED to eliminating discrimination, in all its forms and
manifestations, against persons with disabilities,
HAVE AGREED as follows:
For the purposes of this Convention, the following terms are
The term "disability" means a physical, mental, or
sensory impairment, whether permanent or temporary, that limits the
capacity to perform one or more essential activities of daily life, and
which can be caused or aggravated by the economic and social environment.
Discrimination against persons with disabilities
The term "discrimination
against persons with disabilities" means any distinction, exclusion,
or restriction based on a disability, record of disability, condition
resulting from a previous disability, or perception of disability, whether
present or past, which has the effect or objective of impairing or
nullifying the recognition, enjoyment, or exercise by a person with a
disability of his or her human rights and fundamental freedoms.
A distinction or preference
adopted by a state party to promote the social integration or personal
development of persons with disabilities does not constitute
discrimination provided that the distinction or preference does not in
itself limit the right of persons with disabilities to equality and that
individuals with disabilities are not forced to accept such distinction or
preference. If, under a state's internal law, a person can be declared
legally incompetent, when necessary and appropriate for his or her
well-being, such declaration does not constitute discrimination.
The objectives of this Convention are to prevent and eliminate all
forms of discrimination against persons with disabilities and to promote
their full integration into society.
To achieve the objectives of this Convention, the states parties
1. To adopt the
legislative, social, educational, labor-related, or any other measures
needed to eliminate discrimination against persons with disabilities and
to promote their full integration into society, including, but not limited
Measures to eliminate discrimination gradually and to promote
integration by government authorities and/or private entities in providing
or making available goods, services, facilities, programs, and activities
such as employment, transportation,
communications, housing, recreation, education, sports, law
enforcement and administration of justice, and political and
Measures to ensure that new buildings, vehicles, and facilities
constructed or manufactured within their respective territories facilitate
transportation, communications, and access by persons with disabilities;
Measures to eliminate, to the extent possible, architectural,
transportation, and communication obstacles to facilitate access and use
by persons with disabilities; and
Measures to ensure that persons responsible for applying this
Convention and domestic law in this area are trained to do so.
2. To work on a
priority basis in the following areas:
Prevention of all forms of preventable disabilities;
Early detection and intervention, treatment, rehabilitation,
education, job training, and the provision of comprehensive services to
ensure the optimal level of independence and quality of life for persons
with disabilities; and
Increasing of public awareness through educational campaigns aimed
at eliminating prejudices, stereotypes, and other attitudes that
jeopardize the right of persons to live as equals, thus promoting respect
for and coexistence with persons with disabilities;
To achieve the objectives of this Convention, the states parties
1. Cooperate with
one another in helping to prevent and eliminate discrimination against
persons with disabilities;
Scientific and technological research related to the prevention of
disabilities and to the treatment, rehabilitation, and integration into
society of persons with disabilities; and
The development of means and resources designed to facilitate or
promote the independence, self-sufficiency, and total integration into
society of persons with disabilities, under conditions of equality.
1. To the extent
that it is consistent with their respective internal laws, the states
parties shall promote participation by representatives of organizations of
persons with disabilities, nongovernmental organizations working in this
area, or, if such organizations do not exist, persons with disabilities,
in the development, execution, and evaluation of measures and policies to
implement this Convention.
2. The states
parties shall create effective communication channels to disseminate among
the public and private organizations working with persons with
disabilities the normative and juridical advances that may be achieved in
order to eliminate discrimination against persons with disabilities.
To follow up on the commitments undertaken in this Convention, a
Committee for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against
Persons with Disabilities, composed of one representative appointed by
each state party, shall be established.
The committee shall hold its first meeting within the 90 days
following the deposit of the 11th instrument of ratification. Said meeting
shall be convened by the General Secretariat of the Organization of
American States and shall be held at the Organizationís headquarters,
unless a state party offers to host it.
At the first meeting, the states parties undertake to submit a
report to the Secretary General of the Organization for transmission to
the Committee so that it may be examined and reviewed. Thereafter, reports
shall be submitted every four years.
The reports prepared under the previous paragraph shall include
information on measures adopted by the member states pursuant to this
Convention and on any progress made by the states parties in eliminating
all forms of discrimination against persons with disabilities. The reports
shall indicate any circumstances or difficulties affecting the degree of
fulfillment of the obligations arising from this Convention.
The Committee shall be the forum for assessment of progress made in
the application of the Convention and for the exchange of experience among
the states parties. The reports prepared by the committee shall reflect
the deliberations; shall include information on any measures adopted by
the states parties pursuant to this Convention, on any progress they have
made in eliminating all forms of discrimination against persons with
disabilities, and on any circumstances or difficulties they have
encountered in the implementation of the Convention; and shall include the
committee's conclusions, its observations, and its general suggestions for
the gradual fulfillment of the Convention.
The committee shall draft its rules of procedure and adopt them by
a simple majority.
The Secretary General shall provide the Committee with the support it
requires in order to perform its functions.
No provision of this Convention shall be interpreted as
restricting, or permitting the restriction by states parties of the
enjoyment of the rights of persons with disabilities recognized by
customary international law or the international instruments by which a
particular state party is bound.
This Convention shall be open for signature by all member states in
Guatemala City, Guatemala, on June 8, 1999, and, thereafter, shall remain
open for signature by all states at the headquarters of the Organization
of American States, until its entry into force.
This Convention is subject to ratification.
This Convention shall enter into force for the ratifying states on
the 30th day following the date of deposit of the sixth instrument of
ratification by a member state of the Organization of American States.
After its entry into force, this Convention shall be open for
accession by all states that have not signed it.
1. The instruments
of ratification and accession shall be deposited with the General
Secretariat of the Organization of American States.
2. For each state
that ratifies or accedes to the Convention after the sixth instrument of
ratification has been deposited, the Convention shall enter into force on
the 30th day following deposit by that state of its instrument of
ratification or accession.
1. Any state party
may make proposals for amendment of this Convention. Said proposals shall
be submitted to the General Secretariat of the OAS for dissemination to
the states parties.
shall enter into force for the states ratifying them on the date of
deposit of the respective instruments of ratification by two thirds of the
member states. For the remaining states parties, they shall enter into
force on the date of deposit of their respective instruments of
The states may enter reservations to this Convention when ratifying
or acceding to it, provided that such reservations are not incompatible
with the aim and purpose of the Convention and relate to one or more
specific provisions thereof.
This Convention shall remain in force indefinitely, but any state
party may denounce it. The instrument of denunciation shall be deposited
with the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States. The
Convention shall cease to have force and effect for the denouncing state
one year after the date of deposit of the instrument of denunciation, and
shall remain in force for the other states parties. Such denunciation
shall not exempt the state party from the obligations imposed upon it
under this Convention in respect of any action or omission prior to the
date on which the denunciation takes effect.
The original instrument of this Convention, the English, French,
Portuguese, and Spanish texts of which are equally authentic, shall be
deposited with the General Secretariat of the Organization of American
States, which shall send a certified copy thereof to the United Nations
Secretariat for registration and publication pursuant to Article 102 of
the United Nations Charter.
The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States shall
notify the member states of that Organization and the states that have
acceded to the Convention of the signatures, deposits of instruments of
ratification, accession, and denunciation, and any reservations entered.
BASIC DOCUMENTS PERTAINING TO HUMAN RIGHTS