The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons of Disabilities, which we will refer simply to as ‘the Convention’, is basically about securing equal human rights and justice for disabled people throughout the world.
The four core values of human rights law in the context of disability are the dignity, autonomy, equality and freedom of the individual. The Convention emphasises our basic rights as human beings and citizens and is now in full force in the UK. It makes a very important move away from the traditional views of disability as a medical condition or people in need of charity.
Instead, the Convention provides a new legal framework which recognises disabled people as being equal citizens. Specifically, the Convention asserts equal rights to education, health, work, adequate living conditions, freedom of movement and freedom from exploitation. Further still, the Convention supports disabled people in exercising our full human rights and in making own informed and independent decisions.
The Convention marks a historic turning point in the recognition of the rights of disabled people. The next step is for disabled people and disabled people’s organisations to realise and practice those human rights in everyday life.
The Convention should be seen as a tool that supports and affirms those rights and basic freedoms, for all disabled people. The Convention makes it clear how those rights apply. It also identifies areas where more work needs to be done to fully support the exercising of those rights, areas where these rights have been violated, and where the protection of rights must be reinforced.
At the United Kingdom Disabled People’s Council we feel strongly that disabled people and disabled people’s organisations should be able to make full use of the Convention in their area.
We want to make sure that where disabled people’s organisations or individuals think their rights are not being given full recognition or have been violated. As the national representative voice for disabled people’s organisations in the UK, we want to also make sure that the Convention is effectively monitored and evaluated. We will continue to play a vital part in this process by working at the local and national level, with disabled people’s organisations and with the UK Government.
To read the UN Convention in full, please visit the United Nations Enable website. To view the Easy Read version of the Convention and its additional extra agreement, please click on the links below.