Disability, Human Rights and the Convention

Disability is increasingly recognised as a human rights issue. The gradual shift in understanding and perception, towards a human rights based approach, builds upon the emergence of the social model of disability. The social model locates discrimination in society creating the barriers to inclusion and equal rights rather than seeing an individual as the problem - and in need of medical treatment or charity.

Disabled people and Disabled People’s Organisations have been the primary advocates for this change. Together they have developed powerful lobby groups calling for specific legal instruments to protect disabled people’s fundamental human rights.

This movement has culminated in the current process to formulate, implement and monitor the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. The UN General Assembly adopted the final version of this text in December 2006.

The Convention does not create new rights, rather it specifies measures to ensure that disabled people can equally access all of the fundamental rights already stated in previous international conventions. States that sign and ratify the Convention are obliged to implement these measures at a national level. However, implementation of the Convention will only be effective if disability issues are mainstreamed in all development programmes.

This key list draws together key policy documents, tools for implementation, monitoring and advocacy, training manuals and websites that specifically relate to the Convention and Disability Rights.

We welcome your suggestions: please send comments or suggested additions to sourceassistant@hi-uk.org

Selected resources

Policy documents

Child-friendly text UN disability convention

UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN'S FUND (UNICEF)
September 2007

Expand view

This resource clearly outlines the articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in a child-friendly format. This document would be an ideal teaching aid for disabled and non-disabled children. It includes easy-to-read explanations of concepts like: human rights, disability, ratification, universal design and accessibility. This source would be useful for anyone with an interest in teaching, child rights and disability and development

Convention document legal analysis : a legal commentary on the draft convention text produced by the working group for the UN Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dign

LANDMINE SURVIVORS NETWORK
2004

Expand view

The legal analysis of the draft convention text Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities is an exellent document explaining and commenting on the convention text. This document addresses both legal experts and people who need legal background information about the convention

Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and optional protocol

AD-HOC COMMITTEE ON A COMPREHENSIVE AND INTEGRAL INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON PROTECTION AND PROMOTION OF THE RIGHTS AND DIGNITY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
December 2006

Expand view

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities acknowledges their rights to education, health, work and more. It provides a platform for action and activitism on inclusion and equity in countries which ratify and strive to implement it

Definition of disability in selected national legislation

DEPARTMENT FOR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS, UNITED NATIONS

Expand view

This useful resource is a collection of definitions of disability, as presented in selected national legislation and international agencies from across the globe. It also includes the dates when various countries implemented disability rights legislation. It would be useful for anyone with an interest in disability, human rights and legislation

Expert paper on existing monitoring mechanisms, possible relevant improvements and possible innovations in monitoring mechanisms for a comprehensive and integral international convention on the protection and promotion of the rights and dignity of person

UNITED NATIONS

Expand view

This unedited resource is an expert paper on monitoring mechanisms for the international convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. It was produced from the seventh session of the Ad Hoc Committee meeting to draft the convention

International agreement on the rights of disabled people : easyread version

EASYREAD SERVICE
November 2007

Expand view

This easy-to-read version of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a practical, accessible and easily translated version of the official document. Illustrations are provided to further understanding of the CRPD. The purpose of the document is to ensure that the human rights and freedoms of disabled persons are promoted, protected and understood by all. This version would be useful for anyone who may have difficulties understanding the original text; for example, those with cognitive disabilities or those whose first language is not English

Legal capacity

OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (UNHCHR)

Expand view

This paper provides an overview of the way in which the terms ‘recognition everywhere as a person before the law’ and ‘legal capacity’ are used in existing human rights law treaties and in selected domestic legal systems. The purpose is to assess the relationship between these two terms and other terms like ‘legal personality’, ‘juridical capacity’ and ‘capacity to act,’ and specifically, with regard to the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities

National institutional frameworks and human rights of persons with disabilities

DEPARTMENT FOR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS (DESA), UNITED NATIONS
August 2006

Expand view

This resource compares national disability institutions and frameworks in Australia, Sweden, India, Guatemala and the UK. It aims to: identify the core institutions concerned with disability rights and describe how they were established; review the legislative framework; and examine the organisational structure, mandates and activities of the states’ monitoring institution/s

Talking convention (UNCRPD)

CBR NETWORK (SOUTH ASIA)

Expand view

This resource contains an audio version of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The recording provides a general overview of the convention, the specific articles of the CRPD and the steps for implementation

The concept of reasonable accommodation in selected national disability legislation

DEPARTMENT FOR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS (DESA), UNITED NATIONS
December 2005

Expand view

This paper describes how national legislation in selected countries has managed to incorporate the concept of reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities. It utilises case studies from the following selected countries: Australia, Canada, European Union, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States and Zimbabwe

Understanding the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities : a handbook on the human rights of persons with disabilities|3rd edition

SCHULZE, Marianne
August 2010

Expand view

This manual is a useful tool for explaining the content of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It provides comprehensive information about the negotiation and drafting process, a detailed overview of the CRPD presenting information about each article, and the positions taken by the different stakeholders involved. It highlights the key documents adopted by United Nations bodies following the adoption of the Convention and the importance of the obligation to involve DPOs. This manual is useful for people for people working in the field of disability, development and human rights at the local, national, regional and international levels

Implementation and Monitoring Tools

Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities : its implementation and relevance for the World Bank

GUERNSEY, Katherine
NICOLI, Marco
NINIO, Alberto
June 2007

Expand view

This paper is a World Bank organisational learning tool designed to provide a review and commentary on the relevance of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The purpose is to assist World Bank staff with supporting implementation activities. The articles that make up this document aim to operationalize World Bank protocols, legal obligations and benchmark specific principles. This practical resource would be useful for those working in the field of disability and development, in particular those working towards legislative reform

Disability rights convention : ratification campaign handbook

Landmine Survivors Network
2006

Expand view

This toolkit raises awareness around the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and aims to mobilise support for its ratification. It is a practical guide divided into 3 sections, covering general information about the convention; ratification advocacy tools; and media tools. Essentially this is a step-by-step guide for planning a ratification campaign in different contexts, containing sample letters, publicity materials and other useful resources. The handbook would be of use to anyone with an interest in promoting disability rights

Human rights indicators : a guide to measurement and implementation

OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (OHCHR)
2012

Expand view

This guide is "a reference resource with operational tools, including an approach to identifying quantitative and qualitative indicators, and the corresponding methodology, to promote objective and comprehensive human rights assessments...The objective of this Guide is to bring together materials covering the conceptual, the methodological and the empirical aspects of the approach underlying the identification of context-sensitive indicators to promote and monitor the implementation of human rights. The Guide provides elements of a framework for building the capacity of human rights monitoring systems and facilitating the use of appropriate tools in policymaking, its implementation and monitoring (fig. I). The Guide aims to reach all those who share a commitment to the promotion of human rights and those who are mandated, directly or indirectly, to address human rights issues in the course of their day-to-day work"
HR/PUB/12/5

Implementation manual for the United Nations convention on the rights of persons with disabilities

WORLD NETWORK OF USERS AND SURVIVORS OF PSYCHIATRY (WNUSP)
February 2008

Expand view

This manual was created for users and survivors of psychiatry, and user/survivor organisations, as an information guide and reference for working with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It specifically highlights aspects of the Convention that pertain to the human rights abuses of users and survivors of psychiatry. This tool is designed to advocate for the implementation of legislation in line with the Convention

Implementation toolkit : disability rights = human rights

DISABLED PEOPLES' INTERNATIONAL (DPI)
2006

Expand view

DPI, an international cross-disability human rights organization has put together this practical toolkit to support implementation campaigns for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The toolkit supports a previous DPI 'Ratification Toolkit', also available free online. The toolkit is an accessible and practical guide for anyone interested in disability rights and social development. It provides a clear introduction to the aims of the Convention along with practical suggestions for translating this treaty into policy, planning and practice. Each section of the toolkit comes with exercises designed to support understanding of the Convention and how it can be applied to different contexts

Making it work

HANDICAP INTERNATIONAL

Expand view

This website provides information about Making it Work (MIW), a global multi-stakeholder initiative to promote effective implementation of the Convention for the Right of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The initiative aims to collect and exchange examples of good practice and to use this to influence policy development in line with the CRPD. The MIW website highlights general information about the initiative and specific information about exisitng MIW projects and reports. It provides access to a series of user-friendly tools and resources to support practitioners working in the field of disability and development. The MIW Guidelines are available in downloadable pdf format in English, French and Spanish. A resource library is provided with links to CRPD-related information, disability and development topics and a news archive. This website is a useful tool for anyone working on disability rights issues

Monitoring implementation of the international human rights instruments : an overview of the current treaty body system

OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (UNHCHR)

Expand view

This resource provides an overview of the UNHCHR's treaty monitoring system. The aim is to simplify the complicated monitoring and implementation process which governs treaties and the states that implement them. This resource would be useful for anyone with an interest in international law and advocacy

Moving forward : progress in global disability rights monitoring

LINDQVIST, Bengt
RIOUX, Marcia H
SAMSON, Rita M
2007

Expand view

This report is part of a comprehensive project to develop international systems and methodologies for monitoring the human rights of people with disabilities. It represents the second phase of the Disability Rights Promotion International (DRPI) project, the specific aim of which, is to develop capacity building tools and resources to enable people with disabilities to effectively monitor systems, individual experiences and media. This work would be useful to anyone with an interest in human rights, disability and development and the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

State of disabled peoples' rights in Kenya (2007) report

AFRICAN UNION OF THE BLIND (AFUB)
2007

Expand view

The purpose of this report is to increase awareness on national disability legislation in Kenya and, specifically, to monitor the human rights of disabled people. The research featured stems from two projects initiated by the African Union of the Blind and the Disability Rights Promotion International Project. The aim of this report is to provide disabled peoples organisations in Kenya with the information required to expand their advocacy work on disability rights. This accessible resource is useful for anyone with an interest in disability, development and the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities

Study on challenges and good practices in the implementation of the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities : executive summary

EUROPEAN FOUNDATION CENTRE (EFC)
October 2010

Expand view

This study provides an analysis of the obligations set forth in the Convention and gathers information about the various practices related to the implementation of the Convention by the EU and its Member States. It identifies challenges that may hinder the full and effective implementation of the Convention, and measures that would facilitate the achievement of its objectives at both the EU and Member States level. This document would be of interest to those interested in the implementation of the CPRD

The concept of ‘special’ measures in international human rights law

OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (UNHCHR)

Expand view

The purpose of this paper is to review the concept of 'special measures' with regard to the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and existing core human rights treaties. Specifically, the aim is to clarify the concept of 'measures aimed at accelerating de facto equality of persons with disabilities’ in relation to existing policies and legislation

Working with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights : a handbook for NGOs

OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (OHCHR)
October 2006

Expand view

This handbook was created to provide NGOs with an extensive, user-friendly, online document that would help provide an effective entry point to navigate OHCHR policies and human rights mechanisms. Each chapter focuses on a range of relevant topics, including, but not limited to: an overview of the OHCHR; field presence and country engagement; human rights council; and treaty bodies. This resource would be useful to anyone interested in organisational policy, human rights and development projects

Zero project : for a world without barriers

ESSL FOUNDATION
World Future Council

Expand view

The Zero Project advocates for the rights of persons with disabilities internationally, and its mission is working for a world with zero barriers. The project's website is based on social media and is an interactive platform for anyone who is interested in Social Indicators, Innovative Practice and Innovative Policy examples in the field of disability. It aims to highlight the best solutions for creating change for the better. Information is also provided about the project, related conferences, resources and latest news

Training Manuals and Tools for Advocacy

Disability rights advocacy workbook

FLOWERS, Nancy
2007

Expand view

The purpose of this workbook is to facilitate advocacy for people with disabilities. The workbook focuses on definitions for different models of disability, a rights based approach to disability, and using international treaties to reinforce advocacy initiatives. This resource is particularly useful for anyone with an interest in advocacy towards implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Disability, equality and human rights : a training manual for development and humanitarian organisations

HARRIS, Alison
ENFIELD, Sue
2003

Expand view

This manual is based on Oxfam's experience working with local disabled people's organisations before, during and after the recent crisis in Kosovo. Case studies from West Africa and South and East Asia also show how the principles and training can be translated to a wide range of political and social contexts. It suggests practical materials useful for trainers working in geographically isolated areas without access to sophisticated equipment. Most of the activities and exercises can be adapted for use in groups of people with a wide range of impairments and educational levels. The text is written in clear and simple language

Gendering the draft comprehensive and integral international convention on the protection and promotion of the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities : legal background paper

ARNADE, Sigrid
HAEFNER, Sabine
January 2006

Expand view

This legal background paper asserts that the United Nations Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities should include a separate article on the equality of women with disabilities. This paper outlines the stigma, discrimination and human rights abuses that especially harm disabled women. Other issues of focus include: sexual and psychological abuse, including forced sterilisation; habilitation and rehabilitation; participation in public life; and employment. This resource would be useful for anyone with an interest in gender equality, women's rights and international law

Human rights training : a manual on human rights training methodology

UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES (UNHCR)

Expand view

The purpose of this resource is to provide training for professionals working in the field of human rights. It offers a range of techniques tailored to the specific needs of a given group. The tools include: collegial presentations; training the trainers; interactive pedagogical techniques; audience specificity; and competency-based techniques. This resource would be useful for anyone with an interest in programme development and human rights legislation

Phase 1 report : opportunities, methodologies, and training resources for disability rights monitoring

DISABILITY RIGHTS PROMOTION INTERNATIONAL (DRPI)
October 2003

Expand view

This research was carried out to inform the development of an international disability rights monitoring system. Chapter one provides background information to the project. Chapter two reviews the potential use of international human rights treaties to advance disability rights, identifying seven major human rights treaties that offer opportunities for disability rights advocacy. Chapter three identifies useful human rights monitoring tools, guidelines and models. Chapter four gives an overview of the inventory of human rights training resources, identifying materials and courses suitable for use in general human rights education, for identified training organisations and potential partners

Sport in the United Nations convention on the rights of persons with disabilities

INTERNATIONAL DISABILITY IN SPORT WORKING GROUP (IDISWG)
2007

Expand view

The aim of this publication is to protect and advance the human rights of disabled people with a specific emphasis on equal participation in sport. In accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, this document examines how international development agencies and sports organisations can effectively promote the advancement, support research and monitoring of the involvement of disabled people in sport. This resource would be useful for anyone with an interest in community participation and disability and development

Training manual for media and disability rights

HURST, Rachel
1999

Expand view

This manual was developed for disabled people’s organisations. It aims to empower disabled people to be recognised by the media in their countries in a positive way. The manual is divided into different training sessions and gives hints for the trainers. It is targeted at disability equality trainers, disabled people's organisations and other people working in disability NGOs

What works? Promoting the rights of disabled children : guidelines for action

LANSDOWN, Gerison
2003

Expand view

The human rights of disabled children are violated in many ways. These guidelines lay out how they are excluded, abused and neglected. The first part of the publication looks at the stories of disabled children themselves. The second part explains how an effective framework can be developed, how the role of civil society can be strengthened and how the needs of children can be met. The guidelines are useful for disabled peoples' organisations, advocacy organisations and disability non-governmental organisations

Websites

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Human rights of people with disabilities.

OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (OHCHR)

Expand view

The purpose of this website is to strengthen the work of the United Nations OHCHR on disability related issues. Specifically, the work aims to promote the development of long term projects to integrate disability issues into international treaty monitoring bodies, including the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The website has news, studies, reports, publications, resolutions and events.

United Nations Enable

UNITED NATIONS
Division for social policy and development

Expand view

This website is about the UN's disability programmes and focuses on rights, international standards and declarations, such as the World Programme of Action. Thematic issues covered include accessibility, promoting the rights of disabled people, mainstreaming disability and development, and building the capacity of disabled people's organisations. There are also links to disability databases and other disability organisations

United Nations treaty collection : photographs of signature ceremonies

UNITED NATIONS
December 2006

Expand view

This website features photographs of signature ceremonies from a range of United Nations international treaties, including the ceremony on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This resource would be useful for anyone interested in the ratification and implementation process of international treaties