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Legislation and the Law

Legislation and Rights: International

The following lists major resolutions enacted by the United Nations and other countries in regard to the rights of people with disabilities around the world.

New SignUnited Nations - Treaty to Ban Discrimination Against People Who Have Disabilities
August 27, 2006

This article includes excerpts from an August 27th article published on the United Nations website.

This August, after five years of negotiations, member countries of the United Nations have agreed on a new international treaty to protect the rights of persons with disabilities throughout the world. Delegates from more than 100 countries worked with hundreds of representatives from non-governmental disability organizations in drafting the treaty. The message of the treaty, according to UN General Assembly President Jan Eliasson is that "we want to have a life with dignity for all and that all human beings are all equal."

It is no secret that in many countries, including here in the United States, people with disabilities continue to be treated as inferior, as incapable of leading full, productive lives. This mentality has bred insurmountable barriers that continue to limit those with disabilities. Proponents of the convention maintained that the treaty was necessary because persons with disabilities represented one of the most marginalized groups and that their rights had been routinely ignored or denied throughout much of the world.

While the convention does not create new rights, it specifically prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in all areas of life, including civil rights, access to justice and the right to education, health services and access to transportation. The convention was largely approved by consensus.

The convention will be formally sent to the General Assembly for adoption at its next session, which begins in September. It will then be open for signing and ratification by all countries.

To review the Draft Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities visit the UN website at www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc8adart.htm.

New Sign United Nations - 56/168. Comprehensive and integral international convention to promote and protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities Resolution adopted by the General Assembly [on the report of the Third Committee (A/56/583/Add.2)]
December 19, 2001

General Assembly resolution 56/168 of 19 December 2001 established an Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities "to consider proposals for a comprehensive and integral international convention to promote and protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities, based on the holistic approach in the work done in the fields of social development, human rights and non-discrimination and taking into account the recommendations of the Commission on Human Rights and the Commission for Social Development."

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[Updated September 30, 2006]
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