human rights news & views

‘A great day for persons with disabilities’

They did it. Negotiations of the UN ad hoc committee concluded successfully late on Friday with an agreed text to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Convention will be presented for adoption by the General Assembly in September.

Says Committee Chair Don MacKay:

“This marks a great day for the UN and for persons with disabilities. It’s a good convention and it will make a difference for millions of people.”

The incidence of disability is estimated to be 10% worldwide, amounting to some 650 million people. The World Health Organization predicts a rise in this proportion, however, as a result of medical advances and ageing populations.

MacKay describes the goal of the treaty as a “paradigm shift in the way that governments think about disabilities.” It does not create new rights — people with disabilities are already covered by existing international human rights law — but it makes unambiguously clear that it is a rights violation to discriminate against people with disabilities in any area of life, including civil rights, access to justice, education, health services and access to transport.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has urged all Member States to ratify and implement the Convention quickly.


  1. 19 December 2006 | 7:16 pm

    The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its optional protocol were unanimously adopted at the UN General Assembly this month and will be open for signature and ratification from the end of March 2007. It will enter into force after 20 ratifications, which is estimated to take about two years.

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