Chapter One: Overview – Why a convention was needed

Chapter One: Overview


Persons with disabilities are still primarily viewed as “objects” of welfare or medical treatment rather than “holders” of rights. The decision to add a universal human rights instrument specific to persons with disabilities was borne of the fact that, despite being theoretically entitled to all human rights, persons with disabilities are still, in practice, denied those basic rights and fundamental freedoms that most people take for granted. At its core, the Convention ensures that persons with disabilities enjoy the same human rights as everyone else and are able to lead their lives as full citizens who can make valuable contributions to society if given the same opportunities as others.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 13 December 2006, are the latest additions to the body of core international human rights instruments (see chapter 2). Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, Governments, under the auspices of the United Nations, have negotiated and agreed upon several international treaties that define the civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights that apply to all human beings. These treaties establish fundamental principles and legal provisions designed to protect and promote those rights.


 Next – Chapter One: Overview – Rights specified in the Convention

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