12 November 2008


Following the ratification by the 20th country earlier this year the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities came into force.

The convention was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 2006.

Countries that ratified the convention are now required to report regularly on their progress to a committee that oversees implementation of the convention.

There are eight guiding principles that underlie the Convention:-
- Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one's own choices, and independence of persons
- Non-discrimination
- Full and effective participation and inclusion in society
- Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity
-Equality of opportunity
-Equality between men and women, and
-Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities

According to the UN convention description, it "marks a shift in thinking about disability from a social welfare concern, to a human rights issue, which acknowledges that societal barriers and prejudices are themselves disabling."

The Convention also states that persons with disabilities should be guaranteed the right to inclusive education at all levels, regardless of age, without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity.

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