NEWS: Guinea Ratifies CRPD and Optional Protocol; Benin and UAE Sign

Posted on 11 February 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, Human Rights, Middle East and North Africa, News, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The disability communities in three countries have reason to celebrate: Guinea, Benin, and United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Guinea has now ratified both the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the accompanying Optional Protocol. This brings the total number of countries ratifying the CRPD to 16 and the total number of countries ratifying the Optional Protocol to 10. The CRPD needs to be ratified by 20 countries before it and the Optional Protocol can take full legal force.

In addition, Benin has signed both the CRPD and the Optional Protocol. United Arab Emirates also signed the CRPD, but not the Optional Protocol. Guinea, Benin, and UAE all ratified or signed these international treaties on February 8, 2008. These newest signatures brings the total number of signatories for the CRPD to 125 countries, and the total number of signatories for the Optional Protocol to 70 countries.

The CRPD is an international disability rights treaty. A few of the rights it is meant to protect include the right to education; health; work; respect for privacy; freedom from exploitation, violence, and abuse; and the right to an adequate standard of living. The Optional Protocol gives disabled people in ratifying countries another option for pursuing redress if they feel their rights under the CRPD have been violated. Specifically, it allows disabled people to bring their case to an international Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The CRPD was first opened for countries to sign or ratify on March 30, 2007. A full list of the countries that have ratified the CRPD or the treaty is at the United Nations disabilities web site at

Signing an international treaty, such as the CRPD and the Optional Protocol, is an intermediary step toward ratification. Merely signing a treaty does not legally obligate a country to follow the treaty. It does, however, indicate interest in ratifying the treaty in the future. It also commits the country to avoid doing anything that would directly violate the spirit of the treaty. For example, a country that signs the CRPD should not pass any further new laws that actively discriminate against people with disabilities.

More background information on the CRPD and the Optional Protocol, and the global movement to ratify and implement both, is available at

This article is posted at both We Can Do and with permission of author.

We Can Do learned about these newest signatures and ratification at the United Nations “Enable” web site.

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