RESOURCE: Disability Rights Convention Ratification Campaign Handbook

Posted on 29 September 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, Human Rights, Media & Journalism, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , |

Disability advocates can use the Disability Rights Convention Ratification Campaign Handbook (PDF format, 250 Kb) from the Landmine Survivors Network as one more tool to help them persuade their government to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

The most significant international, legally binding treaty affecting people with disabilities is, of course, the CRPD. The 40 countries that have ratified it so far are now legally obligated to make sure their laws protect a wide range of human rights for people with disabilities, such as the right to life, to privacy, to accessible education and health care services, and many more. In some cases, this may mean creating new legislation; in some cases, this may mean abolishing old laws that discriminate.

But what of the other 160 countries or so that have not yet ratified the CRPD? The good news is that 95 of these have taken the first step toward ratification by signing it. And signing the convention does at least obligate the country to avoid doing anything that would directly violate the treaty. But a few dozen countries still haven’t even signed it. And the countries that have signed it vary widely in the level of progress they are making toward ratification. A country is not obligated to fully obey the CRPD until after they ratify it.

Disability communities around the world–and their families and the service providers who work with them–are working together to persuade their governments to ratify. The global grassroots organization RatifyNow is one example, but there are also many local efforts. Advocates who are new to the process have an increasing number of toolkits they can use to help them figure out how to get started. One of these resources is Disability Rights Convention Ratification Campaign Handbook (PDF format, 250 Kb).

The first part of this handbook explains what a human rights convention is and how the process for creating one works; presents the CRPD and its Optional Protocol in plain (simple) language; and answers some frequently asked questions such as “what rights are included”? and “how will it work?”

The second part explains how a country can ratify the CRPD and shares advice for how people can run an advocacy campaign. Perhaps the most valuable part of this section, at least for advocates who are new to writing letters to politicians or the wider community, are the sample letters they can use to help them figure out how to write letters of their own.

The third part of this handbook explains how advocates can reach out to the media; get media coverage for their campaign; prepare press releases; and prepare press conferences. This section includes a sample press release that advocates can use as a guide for writing their own. A Guide to Portraying People with Disabilities in the Media can be distributed to journalists as a way of encouraging them to write or speak about people with disabilities with repsect and accuracy.

Download the PDF file (250 Kb) at:

Advocates who have difficulty understanding legal terminology may be contented with the plain language version of the CRPD presented in this handbook. However, if you’d rather read the original, unaltered CRPD–i.e., the same text that government officials would be reading and deciding whether to ratify–then you can find the full CRPD at You will need to scroll down the page to choose your preferred language; the CRPD is available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Chinese, Portuguese (Brazilian), Khmer, Croatian, Hungarian (in both the original translation and the easy to read version), Hungarian Sign Language, Persian (Farsi), Maltese, Dutch, Korean, Slovenia, and Turkish. Some translations are in PDF format, some are in Word format.

Want a quick background on the CRPD that you can read in a few minutes? Try the RatifyNow FAQ at

Find out if your country has signed or ratified the CRPD at

Also, a number of other toolkits and resources related to the CRPD have been featured at We Can Do in the past–see a list of links to relevant We Can Do posts at Especially helpful might be the Ratification and Implementation Toolkits from Disabled Peoples International, available in English, Spanish, and French.

Find an even more extensive collection of links to resources on the CRPD and disability rights at the Disability Rights Fund Resource page.

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