9 May 2008
Press Release
Note No. 6148

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Note to Correspondents

United Nations to Celebrate New Treaty on Rights of Persons

with Disabilities, at New York Ceremony on 12 May


The United Nations will usher in a new era for the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities made possible by the recent entry into force of the new landmark Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Optional Protocol at a special ceremony on 12 May in New York.

The event, which will bring together many of the remarkable individuals from Governments, the disability community and the United Nations system who worked to negotiate the treaty, will be a tribute to the resolute and dedicated global efforts to ensure that the rights of the world’s estimated 650 million persons with disabilities are guaranteed and protected.

Participants in the ceremony will revisit the remarkable effort that propelled the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006 and its entry into force on 3 May.  They will highlight the need to make development and social progress benefit all people, as well as the link between development and the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities.

While the rights of persons with disabilities should be protected under the existing seven core human rights treaties, in reality, their rights have largely been unaddressed and frequently violated.

Persons with disabilities face discrimination in all aspects of society such as the workplace, in education and in Government social programmes.  The new Convention does not actually create any new rights but ensures that the rights of persons with disabilities will be promoted, protected and ensured.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called upon all States to ratify or accede to the Convention without delay.

“The Convention is not just the first comprehensive human rights treaty of the twenty-first century, it has a very strong development dimension,” says Sha Zukang, United Nations Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs.  “It was also negotiated and entered into force in record time.  We must now work towards accelerating its implementation and making sure that persons with disabilities fully enjoy their rights.”

The Convention has been signed by 128 countries since 30 March 2007, and ratified by 25.

The special ceremony will be held in the General Assembly Hall from 1:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.  Prior to the event, representatives from the United Nations, Members States and the global disability community will speak to the press in Room 226 at 11 a.m.

For more information, please contact Franck Kuwonu, United Nations Department of Public Information, tel.:  1 212 963 8264, e-mail: kuwonu@un.org.

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For information media • not an official record