The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) and its Optional Protocol was adopted on 13 December 2006 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, and was opened for signature on 30 March 2007. There were 82 signatories to the Convention, 44 signatories to the Optional Protocol, and 1 ratification of the Convention. This is the highest number of signatories in history to a UN Convention on its opening day. It is the first comprehensive human rights treaty of the 21st century and is the first human rights convention to be open for signature by regional integration organizations. The Convention entered into force on 3 May 2008.

The Convention follows decades of work by the United Nations to change attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities. It takes to a new height the movement from viewing persons with disabilities as “objects”  of charity, medical treatment and social protection towards viewing persons with disabilities as “subjects” with rights, who are capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active members of society.

The Convention is intended as a human rights instrument with an explicit, social development dimension. It adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. It clarifies and qualifies how all categories of rights apply to persons with disabilities and identifies areas where adaptations have to be made for persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights and areas where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced.

The Convention was negotiated during eight sessions of an Ad Hoc Committee of the General Assembly from 2002 to 2006, making it  the fastest negotiated human rights treaty.

Ireland and the UN CRPD 

Ireland ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) in March 2018 and is developing policies and strategies to ensure full implementation of the Convention.

The Articles

Article 1 – Purpose
Article 2 – Definitions
Article 3 – General principles
Article 4 – General obligations
Article 5 – Equality and non-discrimination
Article 6 – Women with disabilities
Article 7 – Children with disabilities
Article 8 – Awareness-raising
Article 9 – Accessibility
Article 10 – Right to life
Article 11 – Situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies
Article 12 – Equal recognition before the law
Article 13 – Access to justice
Article 14 – Liberty and security of person
Article 15 – Freedom of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Article 16 – Freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse
Article 17 – Protecting the integrity of the person
Article 18 – Liberty of movement and nationality
Article 19 – Living independently and being included in the community
Article 20 – Personal mobility
Article 21 – Freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information
Article 22 – Respect for privacy
Article 23 – Respect for home and the family
Article 24 – Education
Article 25 – Health
Article 26 – Habilitation and rehabilitation
Article 27 – Work and employment
Article 28 – Adequate standard of living and social protection
Article 29 – Participation in political and public life
Article 30 – Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport
Article 31 – Statistics and data collection
Article 32 – International cooperation
Article 33 – National implementation and monitoring
Article 34 – Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Article 35 – Reports by States Parties
Article 36 – Consideration of reports
Article 37 – Cooperation between States Parties and the Committee
Article 38 – Relationship of the Committee with other bodies
Article 39 – Report of the Committee
Article 40 – Conference of States Parties
Article 41 – Depositary
Article 42 – Signature
Article 43 – Consent to be bound
Article 44 – Regional integration organizations
Article 45 – Entry into force
Article 46 – Reservations
Article 47 – Amendments
Article 48 – Denunciation
Article 49 – Accessible format
Article 50 – Authentic texts


UN CRPD - DFI Fact Sheet

There is a new public awareness campaign from the Government on the UN CRPD

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

National Disability Authority UN CRPD 

Mental Health Reform has a resource on the UN CRPD

Video from Inclusion Europe explaining the UN CRPD