European Union ratifies UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

On 5th January 2011, the European Union ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  The European Union is now the first international organisation which has become a formal party of the UN Convention. 

On this matter, The European Union website, europa.eu states:

"Following formal ratification, it is the first time in history the EU has become a party to an international human rights treaty – the United Nation's (UN) Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.  The Convention aims to ensure that people with disabilities can enjoy their rights on an equal basis with all other citizens.  It is the first comprehensive human rights treaty to be ratified by the EU as a whole.  It has also been signed by all 27 EU Member States and ratified by 16 of these. The EU becomes the 97th party to this treaty. The Convention sets out minimum standards for protecting and safeguarding a full range of civil, political, social, and economic rights for people with disabilities.  It reflects the EU's broader commitment to building a barrier-free Europe for the estimated 80 million people with disabilities in the EU by 2020, as set out in the European Commission's disability strategy (IP/10/1505)."

The Convention commits parties to making sure that people with disabilities fully can enjoy their rights on an equal basis with all other citizens.

For the EU, this means ensuring that all legislation, policies and programmes at EU level comply with the Convention's provisions on disability rights, within the limits of EU responsibilities.  Ratifying countries, such as the EU Member States, should take action in the following areas: access to education, employment, transport, infrastructures and buildings open to the public, granting the right to vote, improving political participation and ensuring full legal capacity of all people with disabilities.

The EU signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 30th March 2007.  It has since been signed by all 27 EU countries and a further 120 states worldwide.

More ifnormation on this and a full list of countries that have signed the convention and their progress on ratification is available here: http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/11/4&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

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