The United Nations (UN) has announced that 12 countries have now ratified the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Six of these countries also have ratified the optional protocol.
This international disability rights treaty is meant to “promote, protect, and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities,” including self-determination, physical and programmatic access, personal mobility, health, education, employment, habilitation and rehabilitation, participation in political life, and equality and non-discrimination. (Source: RatifyNow.) The CRPD will become legally binding after 20 countries have ratified it. The optional protocol is a separate document that would allow individuals to seek redress (justice or compensation) for treaty violations internationally after they have exhausted everything that can be done at the national level. The optional protocol will be legally binding after 10 countries have ratified it.
The most recent four countries to ratify the convention (treaty) are: Bangladesh (November 30); Spain, for both the convention and the optional protocol (December 3); Namibia, for both the convention and the optional protocol (December 4); and Nicaragua (December 7). The other eight ratifying countries are Croatia, Cuba, Gabon, Hungary, India, Jamaica, Panama, and South Africa; of these, Croatia, Hungary, Panama, and South Africa also ratified the optional protocol.
A total of 118 countries have signed the convention, and 67 countries have signed the optional protocol. Signing the convention and optional protocol does not legally bind a country to obey them. However, signing these documents does commit the country to take no action that would conflict with the goals of the CRPD.
If you are sighted, you can view a global map that shows visually which countries have signed or ratified the CRPD or the optional protocol. I am not sure if this map is accessible to people with visual impairments. If not, then please consult the UN Enable web site accessibility statement, which encourages people to contact them regarding accessibility issues at their web site.
More information on the CRPD is available in the RatifyNow factsheet and the RatifyNow FAQ. More information on the optional protocol is also available at the RatifyNow website.
We Can Do learned about these ratifications in part through the AdHoc_IDC (International Disability Caucus) email list. This on-line, email-based news and discussion service can be joined for free. I also gathered additional background information from the RatifyNow and UN Enable web sites.
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