Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.

United Nations Human Rights Day 2009

Discrimination against persons with disabilities

Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities

There are an estimated 650 million persons with disabilities worldwide, or 10 per cent of the global population. Approximately two-thirds live in developing countries. In certain developing countries nearly 20 per cent of the general population in some way has a disability.

In total, persons with disabilities make up the world’s largest and most disadvantaged minority. In every region of the world, in every country, persons with disabilities often live on the margins of society, deprived of some of life’s fundamental experiences. They have little hope of going to school, getting a job, having their own home, creating a family and raising their children, socializing or voting. According to the UN, 98 per cent of children with disabilities in developing countries do not attend school, around a third of the world’s street children live with disabilities, and the literacy rate for adults with disabilities is as low as 3 per cent and 1 per cent for women with disabilities in some countries.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the international community’s response to the long history of discrimination, exclusion and dehumanization of persons with disabilities. A record number of countries have signed the Convention and its Protocol, both of which were adopted on 13 December 2006 and entered into force in May 2008.

For more information and to see what the UN is doing to combat discrimination against persons with disabilities, click here.