UK ratifies human rights treaty for disabled people

The UK has today ratified an international treaty that enshrines the human rights of disabled people, Jonathan Shaw, Minister for Disabled People has announced.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a powerful and explicit statement, which states that disabled people must be able to enjoy, on an equal basis, the same human rights as others.

Jonathan Shaw said: "There are an estimated 650 million disabled people in the world, including over 10 million in the UK. The ratification of the Convention is a very significant landmark, for disabled people and for UK Government and society as a whole. Not only does it show the Government's commitment to equality of human rights for disabled people, but our determination to achieve equality by 2025.

"Now that we have ratified we can start implementing the Convention, building on the approach towards disability equality set out in our 2005 report 'Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People'. We aim to start the Parliamentary process for ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention shortly."

Notes to editor:

1. The Convention is designed to promote, protect and ensure the human rights, freedom and dignity of disabled people. It explicitly sets out the rights that disabled people have and should be able to enjoy on the same basis as other people - for example, the right to dignity, freedom, equality and justice. It also provides direction on how human rights should be interpreted from the
perspective of disabled people all over the world.

2. Government has been working towards ratification since it signed the Convention in March 2007. As part of that process all Government Departments and the Devolved Administrations have considered the compliance of their legislation, policies, and programmes against the
requirements of the Convention.

3. Government will be working closely with disabled people and their organisations on implementation of the Convention, and will be exploring how to raise awareness, and how to take forward monitoring and reporting processes.

4. The Optional Protocol establishes two additional procedures in respect of implementation and monitoring of the Convention. This includes an avenue that will enable individuals, who feel their rights have been breached, to bring petitions to the UN Committee, set up to monitor implementation of the Convention.

5. The decision to sign this Optional Protocol does not set a precedent for similar individual complaints mechanisms. These will continue to be considered on their merits on a case by case basis.

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Published on: 2009-06-08

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