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5 Facts About the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

This landmark legally binding treaty, which entered into force on 3 May 2008, is considered a milestone in fulfilling its promise to protect, promote and ensure full and equal human rights for all.

Ahead of the 17th Conference of the Parties (COSP17) starting on June 11, here are 5 facts about the Convention and how it is impacting the lives of the 1.3 billion men, women and children living with disabilities:

A four-year-old boy plays at a learning center in Bratislava, Ukraine.

1. Why does the world need this Convention?

People with disabilities around the world face discrimination and denial of their basic rights, not because of their individual disabilities but because of social barriers.

That is why this convention exists.

This Convention is a human rights treaty that teaches the world the lesson of disability inclusion.

Its aim is to create a favourable environment in which persons with disabilities can achieve true equality in society.

A 9-year-old girl plays with her friends at an inclusive school in the Za'atari refugee camp, Jordan.

2. Protection of Rights

Under this convention, emphasis is laid on respecting the dignity of persons with disabilities, listening to their problems and their participation in decisions that affect their lives. This includes all their rights ranging from freedom of expression and education to health care and employment.

The treaty calls on all countries to remove barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from fully participating in a variety of fields, from technology to politics.

The convention focuses on eliminating all barriers to access and discrimination, and calls for equality for women and girls. It also suggests ways for countries around the world to remove barriers to the rights of persons with disabilities.

Despite having difficulty leaving home, Dimitrie Kuzyuk does his own shopping and lives an independent life in Moldova. (File)

3. How is this Treaty Enforced?

There are many ways to implement, respect and enforce this Convention.

any person, United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities You can bring a petition before the High Court alleging violation of your rights.

“The mere existence of the Convention has enabled persons with disabilities and their organizations to say to their governments, ‘You have accepted these obligations’, and they can now insist that they fulfill them,” said Don Mackay, chairman of the treaty drafting committee.

The 18-member Geneva-based Committee can also investigate and monitor serious or systematic violations of the Convention and ensure that the rights are properly implemented in times of peace, war or other crises, whether online or offline.

A young boy takes part in a panel discussion on health and well-being during an event to mark World Down Syndrome Day at the United Nations Headquarters. (File)

UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

4. Position in the Dialogue

The key to progress is bringing people who need these rights to the table for dialogue.

This year, hundreds of representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are gathering in New York to attend COSP17, the latest Conference of Nations to be held in June 2024, one of the largest global meetings on disability rights.

Since the treaty came into force, the views and voices of persons with disabilities have been heard in meetings of the United Nations and in countries around the world.

The large tables at the United Nations Headquarters now accommodate all accessibility needs, including wheelchair use, use of hearing loops, documentation in Braille, large print or sign language.

Legendary musician and UN Messenger of Peace Stevie Wonder addressing the General Assembly's High-Level Meeting on Disability and Development in 2013. (File)

5. In the Headlines

It also features voices from global icons such as visually impaired singer-songwriter and UN Messenger of Peace Stevie Wonder.

In view of the 300 million visually impaired people worldwide, Stevie Wonder Said“Just because someone is visually impaired doesn’t mean they should turn a blind eye to the things in the world that need fixing.” “In fact, we are highly capable people with different abilities. We need inclusion.

Here Here are some stories from a UN video about how one musician challenged popular beliefs about Braille:

Actor Dakota Fanning told UN News about the film please stand by Speaking about her role as autistic Wendy in the movie, she said, “I think we always hear about certain preconceptions about autism, but from meeting other parents of autistic children, or people with autism themselves, I learned very quickly that those preconceptions are actually very far from the truth.”

She added, “So I felt I wouldn’t want to promote these prejudices and would approach this character in the same way I would any other young woman.”

Nick Hurd in the UN General Assembly Hall for COSP16. (File)

“I’ve spent a large part of my life dealing with discrimination,” said Nick Heard, a Canadian activist, actor, and talk show host who was born with Down syndrome.

“Growing up as a child, I was bullied because of my disability, but now I can raise my voice so that it can be heard louder. I can now shout from a building or mountain higher than the United Nations to ask for inclusion of people with disabilities in the conversation.”

As a photographer, Gilles Duley has dedicated his life to documenting the effects of war. He himself was seriously wounded in Afghanistan and is fighting on all fronts to heal his own wounds and those of others.

© Giles Duley/Legacy of War Foundation

Renowned photographer, Gilles Duley, the first UN Global Advocate for Persons with Disabilities in Conflict and Peacebuilding Said“In war, persons with disabilities are often the greatest victims, denied equal access to humanitarian relief assistance and excluded from peace processes.”

“It is time for change, and if we stand united, we have the power and the opportunity to create change.”

Who is involved in the talks?

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was opened for signature in 2006. It covers:

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, awaiting signature by representatives of Member States in 2006. (File)

UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

  • Till today, 191 countries and United Nations observers have ratified the treaty, and 106 its Optional Protocol has been confirmed.
  • Since the Convention’s entry into force in 2008, the United Nations and its agencies have worked towards enhancing its provisions.
  • 17 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sustainable development goals The goal of the (SDGs) is to leave no one behind.
  • Future summits aims to re-align international cooperation for inclusion across all sectors.
  • Information on the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy Here I have lived it.
  • “Conference of Countries under the Convention and its Optional Protocols” ((COSP) was established, and annual meetings of the treaty signatories are held to monitor its implementation and discuss current topics and trends. This year’s COSP17 meetings, to be held at UN Headquarters from 11 to 13 June 2024, have focused on employment, technology and humanitarian emergencies.
  • For information about the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Here Click.
  • To know about the past and present Annual Conference of Nations (COSP) Here Click.
David Dass
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