Skip navigation links Sitemap | About us | FAQs

UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality


Article 1- Purpose

Background Documents | Article 1 Background

Seventh Session | Fourth Session | Third Session
Working Group | References



Disability-specific instruments

Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities

Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, forty-eighth session, resolution 48/96, annex, of 20 December 1993

Introduction: Purpose and content

The Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities have been developed on the basis of the experience gained during the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons (1983-1992). 6/ The International Bill of Human Rights, comprising the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 7/ the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 8/ and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 8/ the Convention on the Rights of the Child 9/ and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 10/ as well as the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons, constitute the political and moral foundation for the Rules.

Although the Rules are not compulsory, they can become international customary rules when they are applied by a great number of States with the intention of respecting a rule in international law. They imply a strong moral and political commitment on behalf of States to take action for the equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities. Important principles for responsibility, action and cooperation are indicated. Areas of decisive importance for the quality of life and for the achievement of full participation and equality are pointed out. The Rules offer an instrument for policy-making and action to persons with disabilities and their organizations. They provide a basis for technical and economic cooperation among States, the United Nations and other international organizations.

The purpose of the Rules is to ensure that girls, boys, women and men with disabilities, as members of their societies, may exercise the same rights and obligations as others. In all societies of the world there are still obstacles preventing persons with disabilities from exercising their rights and freedoms and making it difficult for them to participate fully in the activities of their societies. It is the responsibility of States to take appropriate action to remove such obstacles. Persons with disabilities and their organizations should play an active role as partners in this process. The equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities is an essential contribution in the general and worldwide effort to mobilize human resources. Special attention may need to be directed towards groups such as women, children, the elderly, the poor, migrant workers, persons with dual or multiple disabilities, indigenous people and ethnic minorities. In addition, there are a large number of refugees with disabilities who have special needs requiring attention.

World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons
Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, thirty-seventh session, Resolution 37/52 of 3 December 1982


The purpose of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons is to promote effective measures for prevention of disability, rehabilitation and the realization of the goals of ''full participation'' of disabled persons in social life and development, and of ''equality''. This means opportunities equal to those of the whole population and an equal share in the improvement in living conditions resulting from social and economic development. These concepts should apply with the same scope and with the same urgency to all countries, regardless of their level of development.



Home | Sitemap | About us | News | FAQs | Contact us

United Nations, 2006
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Division for Social Policy and Development