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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality


Relationship between Development and Human Rights

The Convention is a human rights instrument with an explicit social development dimension. It adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. It clarifies and qualifies how all categories of rights apply to persons with disabilities and identifies areas where adaptations have to be made for persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights and areas where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced.

There are an estimated 650 million persons living with a disability in the world today. If one includes the members of their families, there are approximately 2 billion persons who are directly affected by disability in the world, representing almost a third of the population. Thus, persons with disabilities represent a significant overlooked development challenge, and ensuring equality of rights and access for these persons will have an enormous impact on the social and economic situation in countries around the world.

The Convention as a tool for development

Article 32 of the Convention on International Cooperation highlights the pragmatic and action-oriented measures to be undertaken by States Parties to undertake and support inclusive development.

Article 32 also states that development programmes should be inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities – this is paradigm shift within the development community, as it defines disability issues as a mainstreaming issue to be considered in ALL programming, rather that an stand-alone thematic issue.

Once a country ratifies the Convention, compliance will need to be reflected in its National Development Framework (there is a spectrum of such instruments including CCA (Common Country Assessment), UNDAF (UN Development Assistance Framework), PRSP (Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers). It is through these bottom-up approaches to development that the Convention will become a reality on the ground and in the daily lives of individuals.


Protecting and promoting human rights with limited resources

• International human rights law recognizes the limitations on resources

• Implementation of the Convention will be a progressive process that will not happen overnight.

• However limited resources are not an excuse to delay implementation of the Convention.

• Limited resources must also not lead to a limited scope of who benefits from the Convention. ALL disabilities must be taken into account when moving forward with implementation

• International cooperation will be helpful in supporting the process

• Limited resources have to be prioritized according to reasonable and objective criteria, and funding must be proportional

• Resource use should:

a) Target low-cost programmes

b) Target people in desperate situations

c) Be non-discriminatory

d) Draw on international cooperation


Learn more about the challenges of providing persons with disabilities equal opportunities to participate in society:

Reports of interest
Read Disclaimer

Disability Dimension in Development Action: Manual on Inclusive Planning

Children and Disability in Transition in CEE/CIS and Baltic States [ Русский ]

ESCWA - Accessibility for the Disabled: A Design Manual For A Barrier-Free Environment

Global Audit of Web Accessibility (PDF) - Word Version
Read the Executive Summary of the Global Audit of Web Accessibility

Guía Básica para comprender y utilizar la Convención sobre los derechos de las personas con discapacidad
MS Word Version

Hear Our Voices: People with an Intellectual disability and their families speak out on Poverty and Exclusion - Español

Inclusive Education at Work: Students with Disabilities in Mainstream Schools

Integrating Appropriate Measures for People with Disabilities in the Infrastructure Sector

Les personnes ayant des incapacités: encore plus pauvres et à part…qu’égales : Les facteurs personnels et environnementaux associés à l’appauvrissement des personnes ayant des incapacités et de leur famille

Managing Disability in the Workplace

Regional and country reports on disability from the International Disability Rights Monitor (IDRM)

Subjective measurement of participation and environmental barriers and facilitators in population surveys : use of standardized tools with a sub-sample of the Quebec Activity Limitations Survey (QALS)

Behavioral Outcomes of Deinstitutionalization for People with Intellectual Disabilities: A Review of Studies Conducted Between 1980 and 1999


The above documents are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute endorsement of or an approval by the United Nations of any of the products, services, or opinions of the corporation, organization, or individual. The United Nations bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the documents.

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United Nations, 2007
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Division for Social Policy and Development