UN Convention On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities
In June 2009, the UK Government ratified the United Nations Convention On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities. They are also seeking Parliamentary approval for ratifying the Optional Protocol, which would give individual disabled people the right to seek redress via the UN for a breach of the Convention.
Outline - the story so far (as at June 2009)
To quote from Direct Gov:
"A human rights convention is a piece of international law which sets out the duty of countries to protect human rights. Once in force, it is legally binding for any country that has ratified it."
"The UN Convention on The Rights of Persons with Disabilities provides a recognised international standard for disabled people's human rights in one document. This will help the international community to put pressure on countries whose work on disability rights could be improved."
"Countries that ratify the convention will also have to report regularly to the UN about the steps they are taking to protect and promote disabled people's rights."
"The UK was among the first 82 countries to sign the convention on 30 March 2007. Since then, nearly 140 countries have signed the convention, with almost 60 having ratified. By signing, states show their intention to proceed to ratification in due course. The UK ratified the convention on 8 June 2009."
However, the delay between signing in the first place and ratifying in the second was, at least in part, due to the UK Government wanting to opt out of some aspects of the Convention, in respect of the UK Armed Forces and education and some other questions. These exemptions are not satisfactory in the eyes of disability campaigning groups.
External resources and discussion of the UK ratification of the UN Convention
- The text of the UN convention
- UN Enable website
- The Office for Disability Issues page
- Direct Gov page
- Parliament News item
- Disability Now says activists aren't very pleased
- Report by Disability Alliance
- Equality and Human Rights Commission news item