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International Convention Adopted

On December 13, 2006, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the first legally binding instrument on human rights of the 21st century.

The Convention protects and promotes the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities by reaffirming "the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and the need for persons with disabilities to be guaranteed their full enjoyment without discrimination."

The Convention does not create any new rights, but it does specifically prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities in all sectors of life. The Convention affirms equality of rights for people with disabilities, the principle of non-discrimination and equal recognition in law, the right to liberty and security, the right to personal mobility and an independent life, and the rights to health, work, education, and participation in political and cultural life.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) was closely involved in preparing the Convention, insisting on the principle of equality of opportunity and treatment and on non-discrimination. The ILO stated that the Convention's provisions on work will affect around 470 million disabled women and men of working age.

The Convention recognizes the right of persons with disabilities to work, and stipulates the obligation to protect against them all forms of exploitation, violence and abuse, including on the basis of gender. States must ensure that people with disabilities can freely exercise their trade union rights, must prohibit any employment discrimination, and must ensure a work environment that is "open, inclusive and accessible." Access to vocational training must also be guaranteed.


For more information, visit the United Nations Enable site.