1 September 2009
General Assembly

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

Background Release

Conference of States Parties to United Nations Convention Will Consider

Measures Aimed at Strengthening National Disability Rights


Countries bound by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will meet in New York on 24 September to explore practical means of strengthening efforts to protect the rights of the 650 million persons with disabilities worldwide, as disability rights have gained new ground since the Convention’s 2006 entry into force.  The number of ratifications has more than doubled while a dozen additional countries have joined the treaty.

The Conference of States Parties is expected to debate the role that national legislation and related measures can play in implementation of the Convention.  The Meeting will give participants an occasion to share their experiences on national and regional disability-related laws, acts, decrees and other measures.  The Conference will also work to provide a basis for a road map for further implementation of the Convention.

Two round tables will be held, the first, on “Accessibility and reasonable accommodation”, on 2 September, and the second, on “Equal recognition before the law, access to justice and support and decision making”, on 3 September.  The Meeting will also hold an informal discussion on “The global economic crisis, poverty and the implementation of the Convention”, also on 3 September, and receive an update from the United Nations system on current efforts for its implementation.

The Conference of States Parties will be the second since the Convention became effective, the first having been held in October 2008, formally to establish the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and elect its first independent experts.  The upcoming session will launch a new phase of the Convention’s implementation by encouraging States parties to take initiatives aimed at turning its goals into action.

The Conference provides a forum for an exchange of views and experiences among States parties as well as other Member States and relevant stakeholders, especially organizations of persons with disabilities and other civil society organizations.

Having entered into force on 3 May 2008, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities -- and its Optional Protocol -- was the first new human rights treaty of the twenty-first century.  It has been signed by 142 countries since 30 March 2007 and ratified by 66.  The Optional Protocol has gathered 85 signatures and 44 ratifications so far.

Negotiations on the treaty were among the fastest ever concluded at the United Nations as was its entry into force.  The Convention enjoys strong support from Member States and the global disability community.

For further information, please visit http://www.un.org/disabilities/ or contact Fred Doulton, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (tel.:  +1 212 963 4466, e-mail:  doultonf@un.org); or Franck Kuwonu, 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