The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), and its Optional Protocol, were ratified by the United Kingdom on 8 June 2009. It is an international treaty which identifies the rights of disabled people as well as the obligations on the United Kingdom to promote, protect and ensure those rights. Click here to access the full text of the Convention.
The Convention explains that all disabled people have and should be able to enjoy the same human rights as other people. It sets an international benchmark for the human rights of disabled people. The areas covered by the Convention include: health, education, employment, access to justice, personal security, independent living and access to information.
Impact of the Convention
The effect of ratification is that the Government has to take the principles set out in the Convention into account when developing new policies and programmes. The Convention will also have an interpretative influence in particular human rights cases, and before the European Court of Human Rights and European Court of Justice.
The Government has reported to the UN Committee on how it is fulfilling its obligations. The Office for Disability Issues co-ordinates the implementation of the Convention, and works with the devolved administrations, including the Office of the First and deputy first Minister on this. The Equality Commission and Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission will produce a shadow report, and anyone else may submit report.
The Human Rights Commission´s role
The Human Rights Commission and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland are jointly designated as the independent mechanism to promote, protect and monitor implementation of the Convention. It will be our responsibility to look at how the Convention is being implemented in Northern Ireland, and report on this to the UN Committee. The Equality and Human Rights Commission and Scottish Human Rights Commission fulfil this role in Great Britain.
We have produced three publications under the branding developed for the joint work we carry out as the independent mechanism. Please see the Convention resources section below for more details.
The Optional Protocol
The UN Convention has an additional section called the Optional Protocol which allows individuals who believe that their Convention rights have been breached to bring complaints to the UN Committee once they have exhausted national and European means of redress. The Committee can also undertake enquiries into alleged grave or systematic violations of the Convention.
Read more about the Convention here:
If you would like to receive copies of the publications, please contact us .
Please see other publications on the Convention;