NEWS: 12 Countries Ratify International Disability Rights Treaty (CRPD)

Posted on 17 December 2007. Filed under: Human Rights, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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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Please Submit YOUR Materials to We Can Do

Posted on 7 November 2007. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Announcements, Arts, Blind, Call for Papers, Case Studies, Children, Cognitive Impairments, Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR), Cross-Disability, Deaf, Disability Studies, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, East Asia Pacific Region, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Education, Employment, Events and Conferences, Families, Funding, Guest Blogger, HIV/AIDS, Housing, Human Rights, Immigration, Interpreting, Introduction to "We Can Do", Jobs & Internships, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, Mobility Impariments, Multiple Disabilities, News, Opinion, Opportunities, Policy & Legislation, Poverty, Psychiatric Disabilities, Rehabilitation, Remittances, Resources, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region, Uncategorized, Violence, Volunteer Opportunities, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Currently, We Can Do gathers news; announcements; academic papers; case studies; opinion pieces; information about resources; and other materials of interest to disabled advocates and international development professionals from a wide range of sources. In addition to these, from time to time, I write fresh content of my own.

I also hope to be able to depend heavily on YOU–We Can Do readers–for some of the best, most interesting, and helpful materials. Examples of materials that would interest me include, but are not limited to: “best practice” case studies; “failed practice” case studies; checklists; fundraising advice or resources; other pragmatic resources; academic papers or reports; student projects; press releases; opinion pieces; announcements; and more. For more detail, please click on “Wish List for Written Materials and Resources” at the top navigation bar.

If you can assist with my current top priority, or with any of the other items in my “wish list”, then PLEASE GET IN TOUCH. Email me at ashettle at patriot dot net or leave a short note in the comment area below and I’ll contact you.

Current Top Priority for We Can Do

Are you from Croatia, Cuba, Gabon, Hungary, India, Jamaica, or Panama? If so, were you involved with the movement to persuade your government to sign and ratify the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)? If so PLEASE CONTACT ME (ashettle at patriot dot net, or leave a comment below with your email address).

I want to interview people involved with these movements (via email) so I can write a story describing what strategies you used; any barriers you faced along the way; how you overcame these barriers; any mistakes you made, how you corrected them, and how other countries can avoid them; what activities or techniques you think were the most critical to your success; and so forth. Sharing this type of information at We Can Do–and elsewhere–could be immensely helpful to disability movements in other countries that are working toward the same goals.

My primary written language is English, pero puedo escribir y leer, mas o menos, en espanol tambien. (Lo siento para la mala ortografia–no se como crear acentos en WordPress.) Once we are in contact, I will probably have many questions for you–and follow up questions after that!

Thank you for helping make We Can Do become a strong, good-quality resource for people with disabilities in developing countries and the people who are working hard to meet their needs.

Edited to Add: I do not post my full email address because any recognizable email address posted on the web then immediately becomes the target of “spam harvesters” and starts receiving tons of unwanted, unsolicited commercial emails. But I spelled it out above and spell it out again here. But this time I’m amplifying it because I realize that not all people have learned how to parse spelled out email addresses:

My username is: ashettle

Every email address has an @ at sign @ between the user name and the domain name, thus ashettle@

My email domain is patriot.net

Put it all together and you have my email address.

Or if that is still too confusing–or if it’s just easier for you–then feel free to leave a note below (with your email address in the area provided for it) and I’ll get in touch.


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Gabon and India Ratify, Cambodia Signs UN CRPD

Posted on 2 October 2007. Filed under: Announcements, East Asia Pacific Region, Human Rights, News, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

This press release was put out yesterday by Rehabilitation International (RI); We Can Do has made some modifications to RI’s text.

Gabon and India Ratify, Cambodia Signs the UN Disability Rights Convention:

Rehabilitation International (RI) Urges Governments to Continue Momentum Toward first 20 Ratifications

(New York , United States , October 1, 2007): RI applauds the Governments of Gabon and India for ratifying, and Cambodia for signing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), as part of the UN Treaty Event that began last week. In addition, Cambodia also signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention.

“The ratifications by Gabon and India further build momentum toward the 20 ratifications required for the treaty to become international law. It is estimated that in India alone there are over 100 million people with disabilities — the fact that India has ratified has an enormous impact on the world’s disability community,” said RI President Michael Fox.

After receiving this press release, We Can Do received word that Japan was to have signed the CRPD; however, I have not yet seen a press release (in a language I can read) or any other official confirmation. I will make an announcement here when I know more.

As part of its Global Advocacy Campaign, RI continues to urge all countries to ratify the CRPD and its Optional Protocol as soon as possible and without reservations, understandings or declarations.

“I am very pleased that there has been so much interest in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol during the UN Treaty Event. Several countries have come forward to sign the treaty, and I am especially pleased that two States — Gabon and India — deposited their instruments of ratification today. I very much look forward to the rapid entry into force of both the Convention and its Optional Protocol,” said Mr. Nicolas Michel, UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs.

Shantha Rau, RI Senior Program Officer, said, “RI recognizes the hard work of NGOs at the national level, who continue to work tirelessly to promote the equality and inclusion of persons with disabilities. In fact, RI is set to launch a new initiative to implement the Convention in India , together with Shanta Memorial Rehabilitation Centre. This project seeks to empower women with disabilities in eastern India through training in disability rights and assistance with micro-credit enterprises.”

The CRPD was open for signature on March 30, 2007 and to date, 117 countries have signed the Convention, 66 have signed the Optional Protocol, seven states have ratified the treaty and three states has ratified the Protocol. CRPD signatories form the majority of the 192 United Nations member countries. The CRPD is the first human rights treaty of the 21st century and prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in all areas of life, and includes specific provisions related to rehabilitation, habilitation, education, employment, health and access to information, public facilities and services. The Optional Protocol concerns how individuals or groups can seek redress for violations of the CRPD once national remedies are exhausted.

You can read the original text of the convention in English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian, or Chinese at http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/convtexte.htm. A “plain language” version of the convention is availabe at We Can Do at http://tinyurl.com/36ofsl. The plain language version rewrites the official version of the convention into easier English for use with people who have difficulty understanding legal language, or for people who wish to use it as a resource in translating the convention to other languages. You can find out if your country is among the signatories at http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/convbycountry.htm.

If you wish to become involved in encouraging your country to sign, ratify, and implement the CRPD then you may find it helpful to consult the ratification and implementation toolkits developed by DPI) at http://www.icrpd.net. Both toolkits are available in English, Spanish, and French and can either be read on-line or downloaded in Word document format. The ratification toolkit explains why it is important for countries to not only sign but also fully ratify the CRPD. It guides advocates through the process of persuading their governments to both sign and ratify the CRPD. After your country has ratified the CRPD, the implementation toolkit guides advocates through the process of helping your governments put the CRPD into real-life practice.

About RI

Founded in 1922, RI is a global network of organizations of persons with disabilities, government agencies, service providers, researchers and advocates promoting and implementing the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities. RI is currently composed of over 700 members and affiliated organizations in 96 nations, in all regions of the world.

RI works closely with other disability organizations, actively participating in the International Disability Alliance (IDA) – a network of eight global, democratic organizations of persons with disabilities – and the International Disability Caucus (IDC) – a coalition of disability organizations and NGOs that participated in the negotiations toward the Convention. RI also maintains official relations with the United Nations and its agencies and institutions as well as with other international organizations, NGOs and universities.


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