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UN: 20 countries ratify convention for disabilities

3 Aprile Apr 2008 0200 03 aprile 2008

The UNConvention on the "Rights of Persons with Disabilities" has been ratified by 20 countries marking a milestone in the promotion of human rights for persons with disabilities

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The UNConvention on the "Rights of Persons with Disabilities" has been ratified by 20 countries marking a milestone in the promotion of human rights for persons with disabilities

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities received its 20th ratification on 3 April 2008, triggering the entry into force of the Convention and its Optional Protocol 30 days later. This marks a major milestone in the effort to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.

According to United Nations officials, the rapid coming into force of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol, which was opened for signature on 30 March 2007, is due to the strong commitment of United Nations member countries as well as advocacy by organizations of persons with disabilities, who were instrumental in drafting the Convention. Adopted by the General Assembly in December 2006, the Convention was one of the fastest treaties ever negotiated at the United Nations.

Brief history
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 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 marks a "paradigm shift" in 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.

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