Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities


The States Parties to the present Convention,

(a) Recalling the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations which recognize the inherent dignity and worth and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenants on Human Rights, has proclaimed and agreed that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any kind,

(c) Reaffirming the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and the need for persons with disabilities to be guaranteed their full enjoyment without discrimination,

(d) Recalling the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families,

(e) Recognizing that disability is an evolving concept and that disability results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others,

(f) Recognizing the importance of the principles and policy guidelines contained in the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons and in the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities in influencing the promotion, formulation and evaluation of the policies, plans, programmes and actions at the national, regional and international levels to further equalize opportunities for persons with disabilities,

(g) Emphasizing the importance of mainstreaming disability issues as an integral part of relevant strategies of sustainable development,

(h) Recognizing also that discrimination against any person on the basis of disability is a violation of the inherent dignity and worth of the human person,

(i) Recognizing further the diversity of persons with disabilities,

(j) Recognizing the need to promote and protect the human rights of all persons with disabilities, including those who require more intensive support,

(k) Concerned that, despite these various instruments and undertakings, persons with disabilities continue to face barriers in their participation as equal members of society and violations of their human rights in all parts of the world,

(l) Recognizing the importance of international cooperation for improving the living conditions of persons with disabilities in every country, particularly in developing countries,

(m) Recognizing the valued existing and potential contributions made by persons with disabilities to the overall well-being and diversity of their communities, and that the promotion of the full enjoyment by persons with disabilities of their human rights and fundamental freedoms and of full participation by persons with disabilities will result in their enhanced sense of belonging and in significant advances in the human, social and economic development of society and the eradication of poverty,

(n) Recognizing the importance for persons with disabilities of their individual autonomy and independence, including the freedom to make their own choices,

(o) Considering that persons with disabilities should have the opportunity to be actively involved in decision-making processes about policies and programmes, including those directly concerning them,

(p) Concerned about the difficult conditions faced by persons with disabilities who are subject to multiple or aggravated forms of discrimination on the basis of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic, indigenous or social origin, property, birth, age or other status,

(q) Recognizing that women and girls with disabilities are often at greater risk, both within and outside the home of violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation,

(r) Recognizing that children with disabilities should have full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other children, and recalling obligations to that end undertaken by States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child,

(s) Emphasizing the need to incorporate a gender perspective in all efforts to promote the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by persons with disabilities,

(t) Highlighting the fact that the majority of persons with disabilities live in conditions of poverty, and in this regard recognizing the critical need to address the negative impact of poverty on persons with disabilities,

(u) Bearing in mind that conditions of peace and security based on full respect for the purposes and principles contained in the Charter of the United Nations and observance of applicable human rights instruments are indispensable for the full protection of persons with disabilities, in particular during armed conflicts and foreign occupation,

(v) Recognizing the importance of accessibility to the physical, social, economic and cultural environment, to health and education and to information and communication, in enabling persons with disabilities to fully enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms,

(w) Realizing that the individual, having duties to other individuals and to the community to which he or she belongs, is under a responsibility to strive for the promotion and observance of the rights recognized in the International Bill of Human Rights,

(x) Convinced that the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State, and that persons with disabilities and their family members should receive the necessary protection and assistance to enable families to contribute towards the full and equal enjoyment of the rights of persons with disabilities,

(y) Convinced that a comprehensive and integral international convention to promote and protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities will make a significant contribution to redressing the profound social disadvantage of persons with disabilities and promote their participation in the civil, political, economic, social and cultural spheres with equal opportunities, in both developing and developed countries,

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Persons with Disabilities Still Face Employment Challenges in Many Countries:

Special Rapporteur Tells Commission for Social Development

Employment remained a challenge for persons with disabilities in many countries, a United Nations expert told the Commission for Social Development, as some delegations described national achievements in that field.

Shuaib Chalklen, the Commission’s Special Rapporteur on Disability, said while presenting his report that the most important event on the global disability agenda during the reporting period had been last September’s meeting of Heads of State and Government which had adopted an outcome document (General Assembly resolution 68/3) under the theme “The way forward, a disability-inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond”.

“The document is so important that I repeat key points,” he said, urging Member States to create more ambitious disability-inclusive national development plans prescribing targeted actions, and backed by increasing international cooperation and support.  He also urged Members States to implement fully the international normative framework on disability and development, in particular the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol.  A total of 158 States had signed the instrument, which had 141 ratifications and accessions.  Of the 92 signatories to the Optional Protocol, 79 had ratified or acceded to it, he said, stressing the importance of implementing both as “human rights and development instruments”.

He said the document also urged Member States to strengthen the inclusion of people with disabilities and their needs in humanitarian responses, and encouraged greater understanding, knowledge and social awareness about them in order to eliminate discrimination and negative attitudes and facilitate their full participation in society.  It also called upon regional, as well as international, development banks and financial institutions to integrate disability across their development efforts and lending mechanisms, because persons with disabilities were disproportionately affected during economic crises.

The Special Rapporteur said he had visited several countries during the reporting period, including the Republic of Moldova, Croatia, Indonesia, Ethiopia and El Salvador.  He had worked with the United Nations country team and a human rights adviser to help the Government of the Republic of Moldova implement articles 12 and 19 of the Disabilities Convention.  One major challenge in that country had been to close facilities for people with disabilities so as to ensure their full inclusion and participation in the community.  In Croatia, the Special Rapporteur had visited the office of the Ombudsman on Disability and learned how an independent ombudsman’s office could play a positive role.  A major challenge in El Salvador was the low level of employment for persons with disabilities and the lack of relevant data.

He recommended to the Commission that the United Nations focal point for disability, with support from other United Nations entities, including regional commissions, take the initiative to establish and improve a mechanism that would better facilitate the sharing of information and experiences among the regional decades for persons with disabilities.  Members of civil society organizations could be invited to contribute where appropriate.  He also recommended that Member States contribute to the United Nations Voluntary Fund on Disability, and to the multi-donor trust fund of the United Nations Partnership to Promote the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  He proposed raising greater awareness about the conditions of refugees with disabilities in conflict areas, saying their needs should be taken into account when planning interventions.  He also voiced support for the establishment in Geneva of a special procedures mandate on disability.

When asked to describe measures that had met with success, the Special Rapporteur stressed the important role played by focal points, as well as the benefits of an independent ombudsman’s office.  However, efforts to create disability-inclusive societies had been least successful in the area of employment.

The Commission then began its general debate on the review of United Nations plans and programs of action pertaining to such social groups as persons with disabilities, youth, older persons and families.

Ukraine’s representative said that over the last five years, more than 725,000 persons with special needs had found employment in her country despite the impact of the world economic crisis.  “It is a substantial number in comparison to those times, when just two decades ago, people with heavy forms of disabilities were prohibited to work,” she noted.  The new national law on employment guaranteed that persons with special needs would receive free public vocational education and re-training, and that their employers would receive subsidies.  The goal was to employ up to 80 per cent of persons with special needs who had received a vocational education, she said.

Zimbabwe’s delegate said that the country’s Government had adopted a policy of equal employment opportunities for persons with disabilities in the public service.  It entailed mainstreaming disability employment regulations that would ensure that there was no discrimination against that group in terms of conditions of employment and deployment.

Also participating in today’s discussion were speakers representing Greece (on behalf of the European Union), Kuwait (on behalf of Gulf Cooperation Council countries), Russian Federation, Austria, Mongolia, South Africa, Brazil, Qatar, Argentina, Sudan, El Salvador, Thailand, China, Romania, Belgium, Malta, Slovenia, Bulgaria and the Republic of Korea.  A representative of the International Federation of Family Development also delivered a statement.

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