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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality


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Part V. Persons with disabilities and multiple discrimination - Rights of special groups.

In the field of human rights, growing attention has been devoted to the rights of persons belonging to specific groups, often called "vulnerable groups". People belonging to these groups have certain common characteristics or are in a situation that have been shown to make these people more vulnerable to discrimination. They are especially "vulnerable", because these grounds for discrimination have been overlooked or insufficiently addressed in general human rights instruments. New instruments are therefore needed to protect and promote the rights of these people, focussing on specific characteristics and situations, such as age, gender, social situation etc. These groups include indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, refugees, migrant workers, women, children, people with HIV/AIDS, persons with disabilities and older persons.

Whereas the concept of a special regime for certain groups has been developed during the last few years by the UN the human rights and fundamental freedoms of marginalized and vulnerable people remain vastly underserved. Persons with disabilities are often affected by this lack of protection, as many of them suffer double or multiple discrimination, due to their disability, their age and social status, for instance. Among the most marginalized of these groups, such as ethnic minorities, refugees or persons with HIV/AIDS, the rate of disability is higher than among the rest of the population.

When specific instruments do exist, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, or the Convention on all Forms of Discrimination against Women, persons with disabilities should benefit from the protection they offer, in addition to disability-specific instruments.

This part looks at the rights of special groups with disabilities who are doubly vulnerable to discrimination.


PART I. National Frameworks for the Protection of Rights of Persons with Disabilities
PART II. The International Human Rights System
PART III. The Regional Human Rights System
PART IV. Towards a Rights Based Perspective on Disability
PART V. Rights of Special Groups with Disabilities
1. Rights of the Child
1.1 General International Instruments Pertaining to the Rights of the Child
1.2 General Regional Instruments Pertaining to the Rights of the Child
1.3 International Instruments Specifically Relating to Children with Disabilities
2. Rights of the Youth
3. Rights of the Aged
4. Rights of Women with Disabilities
4.1 The Situation
4.2 International Norms Concerning Women with Disabilities
4.3 Regional Instruments pertaining to Women with Disabilities
5. Rights of Refugees with Disabilities
5.1 Rights of Refugee Children
5.2 Rights of Refugee Women
5.3 Regional Instruments Applicable to Refugees
6. Rights of Indigenous Populations
7. Rights of Ethnic Minorities
8. Rights of the Poor
8.1 Disability and Poverty
8.2 United Nations instruments and measures for the eradication of poverty
9. Rights of Migrant Workers
9.1 United Nations Provisions on the Migrant Worker
9.2 Regional Instruments Pertaining to the Rights of the Migrant Worker

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United Nations, 2003-04
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Division for Social Policy and Development