30 March 2007

On 30 March 2007, at the UN Headquarters in New York 81 countries and the European Community signed the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

This is a record number of signatories on the first day for a human rights treaty. 44 states also signed the Convention's Optional Protocol, which provides a mechanism for treating individual violations and for making country visits.The first signatory of the day – Austria made a statement about the importance of the link between the Mine Ban Treaty and the Disability Rights Convention. Mine-affected MBT State Parties signatories included: Ethiopia, Jordan, Nicaragua, Peru, El Salvador, Mozambique, Sudan, Thailand, Uganda, Yemen, and Colombia. Countries that sign and ratify the treaty are legally bound to ensure that people with disabilities have equal rights as other citizens and the same access to services and opportunities. Examples of key rights provided for in the Convention:

  • The right to vote
  • The right to an education
  • The right to quality healthcare
  • The right to work
  • The right to equal protection of the law

The Convention needs to be ratified by 20 countries to enter into force. Jamaica signed and ratified the convention at the opening ceremony, bringing the number of ratifications still required to 19. Disability and human rights groups are now launching a global campaign to secure fast and broad ratification process. ICBL member organizations, including Handicap International and Landmine Survivors Network have actively participated in negotiating the text of the Convention and securing international support. A list of countries that signed the Convention can be viewed at: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/convsignlistfp.htm The signing ceremony can be viewed at: http://www.un.org/webcast/ The text of the Disability Rights Convention is available at: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/ For more information, please see: http://www.landminesurvivors.org or http://www.handicap-international.org