Rights of people with disabilities

All rights spelled out by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and by the two Human Rights Covenants (on Civil and Political Rights as well as on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) are the rights of everybody with disabilities. The same applies to all other Human Rights treaties.

The entire Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities deals with the special circumstances and needs of people with disabilities and how to protect them.

It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 61/106 on 13 December 2006 and entered into force on 3 May 2008 with the ratification of 20 States parties.

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) consists of independent experts and monitors implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (ICRPD) by the States Parties.

The Committee meets in Geneva twice a year. It consists of 18 members, which are elected for a four years term. They are eligible for re-election once.


The Convention was adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by  General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989. It entered into force on 2 September 1990, in accordance with article 49.


The Convention on the Rights of the Child deals in Article 23 with the special circumstances and needs of children with disabilities:

1. States Parties recognize that a mentally or physically disabled child should enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the child's active participation in the community.
2. States Parties recognize the right of the disabled child to special care and shall encourage and ensure the extension, subject to available resources, to the eligible child and those responsible for his or her care, of assistance for which application is made and which is appropriate to the child's condition and to the circumstances of the parents or others caring for the child.
3. Recognizing the special needs of a disabled child, assistance extended in accordance with paragraph 2 of the present article shall be provided free of charge, whenever possible, taking into account the financial resources of the parents or others caring for the child, and shall be designed to ensure that the disabled child has effective access to and receives education, training, health care services, rehabilitation services, preparation for employment and recreation opportunities in a manner conducive to the child's achieving the fullest possible social integration and individual development, including his or her cultural and spiritual development
4. States Parties shall promote, in the spirit of international cooperation, the exchange of appropriate information in the field of preventive health care and of medical, psychological and functional treatment of disabled children, including dissemination of and access to information concerning methods of rehabilitation, education and vocational services, with the aim of enabling States Parties to improve their capabilities and skills and to widen their experience in these areas. In this regard, particular account shall be taken of the needs of developing countries.

The rights of the child are enshrined in Articles 23 and 24 (as well as in 14 and 18) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:

Article 23
1. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
2. The right of men and women of marriageable age to marry and to found a family shall be recognized.
3. No marriage shall be entered into without the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
4. States Parties to the present Covenant shall take appropriate steps to ensure equality of rights and responsibilities of spouses as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. In the case of dissolution, provision shall be made for the necessary protection of any children.

Article 24
1. Every child shall have, without any discrimination as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, national or social origin, property or birth, the right to such measures of protection as are required by his status as a minor, on the part of his family, society and the State.
2. Every child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have a name.
3. Every child has the right to acquire a nationality.

Mai Nguyen