Rehabilitation International’s publication, International Rehabilitation Review, has published a special edition focused on promoting the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). People with disabilities, advocates, disability experts, and human rights experts, all contributed 20 articles to the December 2007, 48-page edition.
The CRPD is the first comprehensive international legislation to focus on protecting the human rights of people with disabilities. It needs to be ratified by 20 countries before it will take full legal force; it has now been ratified by 17 countries.
Several of these articles celebrate the heavy involvement of the disability community and various disability and human rights organizations in promoting the CRPD. Other articles discuss the relevance of the CRPD to themes such as promoting inclusive education; including people with disabilities in programs to prevent HIV/AIDS; the importance of habilitation and rehabilitation to empowerment; and how the CRPD may help countries bring more people with disabilities into the work force.
Some more examples of articles included in the December 2007 issue of the International Rehabilitation Review include the following:
An article entitled “A Unified Disability Community: The Key to Effective Implementation of the Convention” by Maria Veronica Reina and Stefan Tromel highlights the importance of people with disabilities themselves being actively involved in ensuring that the CRPD actively protects the human rights of disabled people around the world.
Author Ann M. Veneman discusses the importance of children with disabilities in the CRPD in her article, “The UN Disability Rights Convention: Moving Children with Disabilities Center Stage.”
Of particular relevance to We Can Do readers in the international development field is the article “Toward Inclusive Development: The Implementation Challenge,” by Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo. This article calls for country governments and development organizations to incorporate the principles of the CRPD into their plans, programs, and policies, including those that fight poverty.
Anne Hawker and Sebenzile Matsebula discuss the importance of mobilizing women with disabilities to successfully implementing the CRPD in “Women with Disabilities: A Call to Action.”
In some countries, people with certain disabilities are denied the right to open their own bank account, or to say “no” to medical treatment that they don’t want. Article 12 of the CRPD can help, says Tina Minkowitz in her article, “Legal Capacity: Fundamental to the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”
Once the CRPD takes legal force, then what? Governments will need people with disabilities themselves to monitor how well the CRPD is implemented in their countries. The article “Interational Monitoring: The Right to Inclusion, The Obligation to Participate” by Kirsten Young and Shantha Rau, discusses how.
This special issue of Rehabiliation International’s International Rehabilitation Review can be downloaded in PDF format (1.8 Mb) at
Or you can downlaod it in Word format (233 Kb) at
We Can Do learned about this special issue through RatifyNow.org‘s email discussion list. This article is cross-posted at the RatifyNow.org web site with permission of author. See the RatifyNow website for more information on the CRPD and the global movement to ratify and implement it.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release from Rehabilitation International (RI)
Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua Ratify the UN Disability Rights Convention
RI Calls on Governments to Recognize the Human Rights of All by Ratifying the CRPD
(United Nations, New York, USA, 17 December 2007): RI congratulates the Governments of Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua for ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), bringing the number to 14 States Parties. Mexico also ratified the Optional Protocol. RI calls on all governments which have not yet ratified the CRPD and its Optional Protocol to do so as a matter of priority and without reservations and declarations. Furthermore, RI urges all States Parties to begin the process of implementation by developing laws, programs and policies to ensure that ALL persons with disabilities, regardless of the type of disability, enjoy all of the rights in the Convention.
Libre Acceso President Federico Fleischmann said, “We recognize the great efforts of the Government of Mexico for being a leader in promoting the human rights of persons with disabilities, as embodied in the Convention. RI and its member in Mexico, Libre Acceso, are committed to working within its broad network to ensure that Mexican laws are strengthened to comply with the high standards set by the Convention.”
As part of its Global Advocacy Campaign, RI partnered with Libre Acceso, representatives of the Mexican government, the Mexican law firm Barrera, Siqueiros y Torres Landa, S.C., the international law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and local disability experts to develop recommendations on how Mexico’s National Disability Law can comply with the Convention. These recommendations, presented to the Mexican Government on October 18, 2007, were formally adopted by Partido Accion Nacional (PAN), the political party of the Mexican President, as the official proposed amendments to this national law. The Senate and Chamber of Deputies will now discuss the amendments, which may be adopted as early as next year. This RI project has been made possible because of the generous support of an anonymous donor and Irish Aid.
“We are very happy today to deposit the instrument of ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Setting up the legal framework is only the first step. The real challenge is to build a culture where the human rights of every person are fully respected,” said Senator Guillermo Tamborrel, President of the Commission on Vulnerable
Groups and a member of PAN. Senator Tamborrel, together with Senator Maria los Angeles Moreno Uriegas of Partido Revolucionario Institutional (PRI), were present when Mexico deposited its ratification instrument today.
The CRPD, the first human rights treaty of the 21st century, represents an essential legal instrument prohibiting 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, among others. The Optional Protocol concerns how individuals or groups can seek redress for violations of the CRPD once national remedies are exhausted. The Convention will become international law after 20 ratifications.
For more information, also consult the recent We Can Do post entitled “12 Countries Ratify International Disability Rights Treaty. Background information on the CRPD, a list of signatories, and a visual map of ratifying countries, can also be found at the United Nations Enable web site. Resources and ideas for how to become involved with the global campaign to ratify the treaty can be found at the RatifyNow organization web site.
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For more information on the UN Convention and contact details of experts within the RI membership, please contact Tomas Lagerwall (firstname.lastname@example.org), RI Secretary General, or Shantha Rau (email@example.com), Senior Program Officer, at +1-212-420-1500.
Founded in 1922, RI is a global and diverse organization bringing together expertise from different sectors in the disability field, to advance and implement the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities. RI is currently composed of over 700 members and affiliated organizations in 93 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 was an active member of 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.
For more information about RI, please visit their accessible website: http://www.riglobal.org
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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.
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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