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UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

What is the Convention and how is Handicap International involved?

In recent years, there has been a shift in thinking on disability issues, championed by disabled people and their representative organisations.

Disability is increasingly recognised as a human rights issue. Essentially, this means that disabled people should have the same rights and opportunities for participation as everyone else.

International loobying at the UN for the UNCRPD
© Handicap International

Disabled people and Disabled People’s Organisations have developed powerful lobby groups calling for specific legal instruments to protect disabled people’s fundamental human rights. This movement has culminated in the current process to formulate, implement and monitor the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which came into force as international law in May 2008.

The CRPD does not create new rights, rather it specifies measures to ensure that disabled people can equally access all of the fundamental rights already stated in previous international conventions. States that sign and ratify the Convention are obliged to implement these measures at national level.

As a member of the Steering Committee of the International Disability Caucus (and now the International Disability Alliance [IDA]), Handicap International has been actively involved in the process to develop the CRPD – both in terms of elaboration of the CRPD text and now global implementation and monitoring.

The IDA is a group composed of Disabled People's Organisations and their allies. It represents the voice of civil society and heavily influences the debate on the CRPD.

Handicap International is also directly involved with the international Making it Work initiative to promote effective implementation of the CRPD: www.makingitwork-crpd.org

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