United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) – The Facts 

Issued on January 26 2024

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) – The Facts 

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) – The Facts 

What is the UN CRPD? 

  • The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, or UN CRPD, is a human rights treaty developed by the United Nations. It outlines the rights of people with disabilities. 
  • The treaty opened for signatures in 2006. As of 2023, it had been ratified by 185 states, as well as the EU. Ireland ratified the UN CRPD in 2018. 
  • The treaty does not create any new rights. Instead, it sets out what countries must do to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights as everybody else. This includes acknowledgement that people with disabilities may need support to fully exercise their rights. 
  • This treaty joins other UN treaties on the rights of marginalised groups, including women, children, and racial and ethnic minorities. 

What are some of the rights in the UN CRPD? 

  • Article 12. Equal recognition before the Law: The right to make choices and have these choices recognised. 
  • Article 19. Living Independently and being included in the Community: The right to live independently, including the right to a personal assistant, and the right to be included in the community. All community services must be fully accessible. 
  • Article 21. Freedom of Expression and Opinion, and Access to Information: The right to receive information in a format of your choice, at no extra cost and in a reasonable timeframe. This also includes the right to communicate your own opinions, and to communicate with public services in the format of your choice, including using an interpreter or assistive technology. 
  • Article 25. Health: The right to the highest attainable standard of health. The right to receive health care, including specialised health care required because of a disability, without discrimination. The right to receive health care in one’s own community, and to be treated with respect by medical staff and doctors, and have one’s autonomy respected. 
  • Article 26. Habilitation and rehabilitation: The right to receive services that are appropriate to an individual’s needs, and support autonomy and inclusion in the community, particularly in the areas of health, employment, education and social services. 
  • Article 27. Work and Employment: The right to work in mainstream employment. This includes the right to job training and placement, to promotion, to return to work after acquiring a disability, to self-employment and starting a business, and to reasonable accommodation.  
  • Article 28. Adequate Standard of Living and Social Protection: The right to a decent standard of living, and continuously improving living standards. An adequate standard of living includes decent housing, clothing and food. This article also includes the right to social protection and state assistance with disability related expenses. 
  • Article 29. Participation in Political and Public Life: The right to engage in politics and public life. This includes the right to vote, and the right to run for office, and receive accommodation when in office to carry out one’s duties. This also includes the right to join and form advocacy and political organisations, including Disabled Persons’ Organisations, DPOs. 
  • Article 30. Participation in Cultural Life, Recreation, Leisure and Sport: The right to access and participate in culture, leisure sport and tourism.  

What does this mean for Ireland? 

  • Ireland signed the UN CRPD in 2007, and ratified it in March 2018. Ratification of a human rights treaty can be thought of as a promise. It means that the government has promised to change laws, policies, and practices to make sure everyone can enjoy the rights set out in the treaty. 
  • This process, of changing laws and policies, is called implementation. The government must implement the UN CRPD so that people with disabilities can exercise the rights it guarantees. 
  • The implementation of the UN CRPD is monitored. In Ireland, it is monitored by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, IHREC. Internationally, it is monitored by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the UN.  
  • Ireland submitted its first report about its implementation of the UN CRPD to the UN Committee in November 2021. The state will be publicly questioned by the Committee for the first time in the coming years.  
  • The National Disability Inclusion Strategy, Ireland’s first disability focused strategy, concluded at the end of 2022. The government committed to a UN CRPD implementation plan being developed as the follow up to this strategy. At time of writing, that plan has not yet been developed.  
  • People in Ireland can help encourage the government to implement the UN CRPD by letting elected officials know that this is an important issue for them. 


Updated: 26 January 2024