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United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The purpose of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) is to promote, defend and reinforce the human rights of all persons with disabilities. It therefore serves as the legal framework for CBM advocacy.

First comprehensive human rights treaty of the 21st century

world map with colour coding showing CRPD and Optional Protocol Signatures and Ratifications ©CBM
Dark blue - Ratifications and accessions to the Convention
Red - Ratifications and accessions to the Optional Protocol
(Correct - Oct 2012, see full size version here http://www.un.org/disabilities/documents/maps/enablemap.jpg)
The Convention and its Optional Protocol was adopted on 13 December 2006 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, and was opened for signature on 30 March 2007. There were 82 signatories to the Convention, 44 signatories to the Optional Protocol, and 1 ratification of the Convention.

This is the highest number of signatories in history to a UN Convention on its opening day. It is the first comprehensive human rights treaty of the 21st century and is the first human rights convention to be open for signature by regional integration organisations. The Convention entered into force on 3 May, 2008.

Human rights

Person with cerebral palsy at work in their shop, Ethiopia ©CBM
Person with cerebral palsy at work in their shop, Ethiopia
The Convention is intended as a human rights instrument with an explicit, social development dimension. It adopts a broad categorisation of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

It clarifies and qualifies how all categories of rights apply to persons with disabilities and identifies areas where adaptations have to be made for persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights and areas where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced.

Paradigm shift

The Convention marks a 'paradigm shift' in attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities.

It takes to a new height the movement from viewing persons with disabilities as 'objects' of charity, medical treatment and social protection towards viewing persons with disabilities as 'subjects' with rights, who are capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active members of society.

The Convention provides the legal framework within which CBM and its partners conduct advocacy.

Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the body of 18 independent experts which monitors implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  Diane Mulligan has been elected as the United Kingdom member of the Committee to serve from 2013-2016.
 
All States parties (UN Member States who have ratified the CRPD) are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights of persons with disabilities are being implemented.
 
See the reporting guidelines here.  States must report initially within two years of ratifying the Convention and thereafter every four years. The Committee examines each report and makes suggestions and general recommendations on the report as it may consider appropriate and forwards these to the State Party concerned.
 
The Optional Protocol to the Convention gives the Committee competence to examine individual complaints with regard to alleged violations of the Convention by States parties to the Protocol.

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