The countries of Azerbaijan and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic recently signed the international disability rights treaty, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Azerbaijan also signed the accompanying Optional Protocol for the CRPD. This brings the total number of signatories for the CRPD to 123 countries. Among these 123 countries, 69 have also signed the Optional Protocol.
The CRPD declares that all people with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. It clarifies the ways in which human rights apply to people with disabilities and it identifies areas in which adaptations must be made so that people with disabilities can effectively exercise those rights. Some examples of human rights covered by the CRPD includes: right to life, liberty, and security; freedom from exploitation, violence, and abuse; right to live in the community; freedom of expression and opinion; respect for privacy; right to education; right to health; right to work; and others.
If a disabled person feels their human rights under the CRPD have been violated, they can pursue justice within the usual channels within their own country. However, if all of these channels fail to bring redress, then people living in countries that have ratified the Optional Protocol can then bring complaints to the international Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Signing the CRPD and the Optional Protocol is the first step a country must take toward fully ratifying these treaties. Signing an international treaty, such as the CRPD, commits a country to avoid doing anything that would actively violate that treaty. However, merely signing a treaty does not, by itself, legally bind a country to obeying that treaty. Before a country can be legally obligated to follow a treaty, it must fully ratify it. Also, a treaty cannot take full legal force until and unless enough countries fully ratify (not just sign) the treaty. Twenty countries need to ratify the CRPD before it can take full legal force; 10 countries need to ratify the Optional Protocol before it, too, can take full legal force.
So far, 14 countries have ratified the CRPD and 8 countries have ratified the Optional Protocol. Countries ratifying the CRPD include: Bangladesh, Croatia, Cuba, El Salvador, Gabon, Hungary, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Namibia, Nicaragua, Panama, South Africa, and Spain. Countries ratifying the Optional Protocol include: Croatia, El Salvador, Hungary, Mexico, Namibia, Panama, South Africa, and Spain.
More information about the CRPD and the optional protocol is available at the UN Enable web site and at the RatifyNow web site. The RatifyNow web site also has resources that advocates can use to help persuade their country governments to both sign and also ratify the CRPD and Optional Protocol.
We Can Do learned about Azerbaijan and the Laos People’s Democratic Republic from the UN Enable web site. Information relating to the background of the CRPD and Optional protocol was also gathered from their web site, as well as the RatifyNow web site.
This article has been cross-posted, with slight modifications, both here and at the RatifyNow web site, with permission of author.
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