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UN Convention on disability rights

The United Nations (UN) has set up an international human rights convention on the rights of people with disabilities.

What the convention will do for people with disabilities

The UK was actively involved in setting up the convention and the government believes it will play an important part in protecting and promoting the human rights of people with disabilities around the world.

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 (formally confirmed) it.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities provides a recognised international standard for people with disabilities' 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're taking to protect and promote the rights of people with disabilities.

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 and its optional protocol on 7 August 2010 .

The full text of the convention can be viewed on the UN's 'Enable' website. The site provides detailed information on the UN's work on disability rights.

How to find out more

To find out more about what the government is doing in relation to the convention, visit the website of the Office for Disability Issues, which has comprehensive information about the UN Convention.

Disability Awareness in Action (DAA) was established to promote the rights of people with disabilities and to provide a worldwide network for the exchange of information.

UNCRPD Independent Mechanism for Northern Ireland

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission have been designated as the ‘independent mechanism’ holding decision makers to account. They are monitoring the implementation of UNCRPD and will report to a UN committee on how the Convention is being implemented.

More information is available on the Equality Commission website

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