Understanding The Convention On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities


The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is one of the key international regulations passed by the United Nations Organization. This is primarily a declaration to ensure equal rights to the people with disabilities. It was passed by the General Assembly on December 13, 2006 and the signatures were opened on March 30, 2007. The convention came into force on May 3, 20076 as the 20th country signed it. As of date, 53 countries have both signed and ratified the convention, thereby becoming fully obliged to the convention. 90 other countries have signed the convention but their national governments are yet to ratify it.

Key Provisions of the Convention
There are a number of basic provisions which have been defined as the basis for this convention. These include no discrimination against the people who are physically challenged, ensuring the dignity and freedom of the disabled to lead their lives as they see fit, as well as their independence. Another key principle is that they are to be included in the society as a normal part of it. The convention calls for understanding about the special needs of such people, providing them equal opportunity as well as special steps to ensure accessibility to basic facilities. Furthermore the convention calls for ensuring no gender bias among the disabled and making provisions for comprehensive development of children who are disabled.

Disability Defined
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is designed to subscribe to a social model of disability. According to this convention any person who has long term impairment, preventing him the usage of any part of his body or his sensory organs or who has long term mental health problems shall be considered a disabled person. This is an extremely comprehensive definition of disability and is thereforeĀ  considered a key highlight of the convention as well. A number of countries have decided to base their disability support legislation based on the convention with special focus on defining the concept of disability.

Key Rights for the Disabled
Multiple rights for the disabled have been enunciated in the convention which include almost all aspects of life. The convention includes right to educational support which requires that special arrangements be made to support the education, both conventional and specialized, for the people with disabilities. The convention also asks for ensuring accessibility support to all disabled to ensure that they can use facilities like public offices, rest rooms, telephones etc. Special rights to health have been defined under the convention. Another addition is the right to vote which ensures their participation in the political process of the country.

It must be understood while most of the countries have signed and ratified the convention, United States has not signed theĀ  Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.