Geneva, 15 September 2014 – Disability rights worldwide have reached a major milestone after the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was ratified by the 150th country.
Guyana became the latest state to ratify the Convention, which has been in force since 2008 and has seen one of the fastest rates of ratification of any of the international human rights treaties.
“The 150th ratification is evidence of the commitment by the international community to promote and protect the human rights of persons with disabilities,” said Maria Soledad Cisternas Reyes on behalf of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which monitors how states implement the Convention.
“This Convention, in force for just six years, has been ratified across all regions and cultures, and is on the way to becoming universally recognised. We call on those states still to ratify to do so,” said Cisternas, who chairs the CRPD.
The rapid and widespread ratification of the Convention, according to Cisternas, “highlights the growing awareness that people with disabilities suffer serious gaps in the enjoyment of their rights and that these gaps need to be addressed.”
The Convention sets out the obligations of States Parties to promote, protect and ensure the rights of all people with disabilities and promotes equal rights in all areas of life.
“There is still much to be done but the Committee believes that the decision by states to ratify the Convention is a good basis for seeing progress in vital areas, such as addressing the barriers people with disabilities face in accessing services and information,” said Cisternas.
The CRPD noted that the Convention had promoted increasing awareness of the importance of the involvement of persons with disabilities in decisions affecting their lives and rights. “A key message from persons with disabilities is that there should be ‘nothing about us without us’, and we in the Committee aim to foster this view in our dealings with States Parties, civil society, national human rights institutions and regional monitoring bodies, as well as with other UN agencies,” said Cisternas.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 13 December 2006 and came into force on 3 May 2008, being swiftly ratified by dozens of states. On 10 September 2014, Guyana became the 150th state to ratify the Convention.
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