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Belgian Disability Forum

UNCRPD

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

On December 13, 2006, the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) adopted the text of the
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)

 

A necessary text, unfortunately

In theory, the rights of all human beings are guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The same is true for human rights of persons with disabilities. In fact, it was necessary to create other agreements to protect specific groups. This is the case of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, for example

At the turn of the year 2000, it has been found that the human rights of persons with disabilities were not sufficiently respected. This was the case in all signatory countries to the UN Charter

 

From observation to ratification

  • December 19, 2001, the UN set up an "Ad-hoc Committee" to draft and negotiate the text of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • December 13, 2006, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted the text of the UNCRPD
  • From 30 March 2007 on, the text of the Convention is open for signature by States. When a state signs, it agrees with the content of the text
  • Following the signing, the Convention must be ratified by the signatory state. From the time a state has ratified, it is bound to apply the text of the UNCRPD. It sometimes takes years between signature and ratification. It happens sometimes that a state signs, but does not ratify it ...
 

A historic event

The negotiated text of the UNCRPD may be considered historical for 3 reasons:

  • a consensus was reached within a very short period of time
  • there was a very strong involvement of organisations representative of people with disabilities
  • this is the first international Convention ever to be ratified by the European Union
 

Speed

Between the introduction of the "ad-hoc Committee", on 2001/12/19, and the adoption of the UNCRPD text, on 2006/12/13, barely five years had elapsed. Five years, for 80 countries, to reach an agreement is indeed a very short period of time. It is also the only text of this kind that has been negotiated as quickly

Such a speed indicates that disability is, from now on, regarded as an important matter in the world and in Belgium

Involvement of representative organisations

Organisations representing disabled persons were present throughout the negotiation process and their voices, including that of the European Disability Forum (EDF), were heard

The Belgian Disability Forum (BDF), as representative of Belgium within the EDF, has regularly participated in defining EDF positions in this process

European Ratification

Following the adoption of the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Union will be able to ratify the text of the UNCRPD. This will be the first treaty on Human Rights that the EU will ratify

 

UNCRPD does not create new rights

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) does not create new rights for disabled people. It reaffirms their specific rights and mostly puts in place the necessary mechanisms to monitor their application in each country that has ratified the Convention - referred to as State Party to the Convention

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