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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality


The States Parties to this Convention,

  • Recalling the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations which recognise the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
  • Recognising that the United Nations, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenants on Human Rights, has proclaimed and agreed that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any kind,
  • Reaffirming the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and the need for persons with disabilities to be guaranteed their full enjoyment without discrimination,
  • Reaffirming also the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Racial Discrimination, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families,2
  • Recognising the importance of the principles and policy guidelines contained in the Standard Rules on the Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities in influencing the promotion, formulation, and evaluation of the policies, plans, programs and actions at the national, regional and international levels to further equalise opportunities for persons with disabilities,
  • Recognising also that discrimination against any person on the basis of disability is a violation of the inherent dignity of the human person,
  • Recognising further the diversity of persons with disabilities,
  • Concerned that, despite the efforts and actions undertaken by Governments, bodies and relevant organisations, persons with disabilities continue to face barriers in their participation as equal members of society and violations to their human rights in all parts of the world,
  • Emphasising the importance of international cooperation3 to promote the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons with disabilities,4
  • Emphasising also the existing and potential contributions made by persons with disabilities to the overall well-being and diversity of their communities, and that the promotion of the full enjoyment by persons with disabilities of their human rights and fundamental freedoms and of full participation by persons with disabilities will result in significant advances in the human, social and economic development of their societies and the eradication of poverty,
  • Recognising the importance for persons with disabilities of their individual autonomy and independence, including the freedom to make their own choices,
  • Considering that persons with disabilities should have the opportunity to be actively involved in decision-making processes about policies and programs, especially those directly concerning them,
  • Concerned about the difficult conditions faced by persons with severe or multiple disabilities and of persons with disabilities who are subject to multiple or aggravated forms of discrimination on the basis of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status,5
  • Emphasising the need to incorporate a gender perspective in all efforts to promote the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by persons with disabilities,
  • Mindful of the need to alleviate the negative impact of poverty on the conditions of persons with disabilities,6
  • Concerned that situations of armed conflict have especially devastating consequences for the human rights of persons with disabilities,
  • Recognising the importance of accessibility to the physical, social and economic environment and to information and communication, including information and communications technologies, in enabling persons with disabilities to fully enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms,
  • Convinced that a convention dealing specifically with the human rights of persons with disabilities will make a significant contribution to redressing the profound social disadvantage of persons with disabilities and promote their participation in the civil, political, economical, social and cultural spheres with equal opportunities, in both developing and developed countries,

Hereby agree as follows:


2: Some members of the Working Group considered that there should not be a reference to the Migrant Workers Convention on the grounds that it did not have the same status as the other International Covenants and Conventions listed. Other members pointed out that the Convention had entered into force and should therefore be listed.

3: Some members of the Working Group considered that there should not be a reference to international cooperation in the Preamble, or that it should be subject to final agreement on whether the issue of international cooperation should be addressed in the Convention, and if so where it should be included. A more extensive summary of the discussion on this issue is given in annex 2 to the present report.

4: The following alternative formulation was also proposed for consideration: "Recognising the importance of international cooperation for improving the living conditions of persons with disabilities in every country, in particular in the developing countries".

5: See the footnotes to paragraph 1(c) of draft Article 23 on social security and an adequate standard of living.

6: Some members of the Working Group had reservations about the wording of this paragraph.

Relevant references:

International human rights conventions and legal instruments

Disability-specific instruments

Discussions at the Working Group

Comments on the draft text

Back to list of Draft Articles

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