FeatureVol 21 No. 12 - December 2016

Disability rights are human rights

With the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the world started a new chapter for the one billion people living with a disability. It formalized the obligation of Member States to guarantee the rights of persons with a disability, and provided a framework for people to claim their equal human rights and inclusion in society.

The CRPD was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2006. During the past ten years, remarkable progress has been made in advancing the rights of persons with disabilities in society and development. For the first time ever, the Convention provided a strong impetus for the full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in society and development, by emphasizing equal access for persons with disabilities to opportunities to contribute to, and share in, on an equal footing with others, the rewards of social and economic progress.

Ten years on, there are 168 States that have ratified the Convention. It has provided an international normative framework for mainstreaming the rights of persons with disabilities. In line with the goals and objectives of the Convention and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, disability-inclusive strategies are increasingly becoming an integral part of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the outcomes of other global development commitments, including the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the World Humanitarian Summit, and most recently the New Urban Agenda that was adopted at Habitat III this October.

Yet, it has to be acknowledged that the much expected transformations are not reaching everyone at the same pace. There is a large gap between the entitlement to equal opportunities based on the Convention and the conditions and support necessary for persons with disabilities to participate and fully enjoy their rights, in both developed and developing countries.

As Lenni Montiel, UN DESA’s Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development noted at a High-Level Panel Meeting in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the CRPD, “Under the current realities, many persons with disabilities continue to face aggrieved forms of discrimination, in particular women with disabilities, persons with psychosocial disabilities and persons with albinism, who have been historically and tragically left behind in development and subjected to atrocious human rights violations”.

Moving forward, concrete steps are required to promote the universalization of the Convention, and to address the continuing gap between policy and practice on the ground. Drawing on the experiences and good practices across the world, the international community can work together to secure the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in society on an equal basis with others, and to achieve Sustainable Development Goals for all.

The celebration of the CRPD 10-year anniversary will take place on 2 December, coinciding with the observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

The video has been produced by the UN Department of Public Information

For more information:

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

10th anniversary of the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

UN DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development

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