Among the major outcomes of the Decade of Disabled Persons was the adoption by the General Assembly of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities in 1993. Although not a legally binding instrument, the Standard Rules represent a strong moral and political commitment of Governments to take action to attain equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities. The rules serve as an instrument for policy-making and as a basis for technical and economic cooperation.
A powerful tool in ensuring equal opportunity for disabled people, the Standard Rules:
- set standards for equal opportunities;
- outline the action to be taken by Governments;
- give guidance to all those engaged in the disability field;
- include disabled people, their families and organizations as active partners in improving the quality of their lives.
The Standard Rules consists of 22 rules summarizing the message of the World Program of Action. The 22 rules concerning disabled persons consist of four chapters: preconditions for equal participation, target areas for equal participation, implementation measures, and the monitoring mechanism.
The Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities also calls for proper implementation measures to achieve the targets for equal participation. According to the Standard Rules, such implementation measures should include: information and research, policy-making and planning, legislation, economic policies, coordination of work, involvement of organizations of persons with disabilities, personnel training, national monitoring and evaluation of disability programs, technical and economic cooperation and international cooperation.
These measures spell out the responsibility of Governments to ensure, among others things:
- That legislation exists to protect the rights and guarantee full equality of disabled people ;
- That the needs of persons with disabilities are included in all national policies and budgets;
- That organizations of disabled people are actively involved in the elaboration of national policies;
- That a national committee or similar body is established to serve as the focal point on disability matters;
- That access to equal opportunities is maintained by creating follow-up and evaluation systems.
The Standard Rules for the Equalization of Opportunities of Persons with Disabilities provides for the appointment of a Special Rapporteur to monitor the implementation of the Rules.