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The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

In this video, Gerard Quinn and Rosemary Kayess give an introduction to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

In 2006 the UN drafted a human rights treaty specifically intended to protect the rights of people with disabilities: the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). In the above video, Gerard Quinn and Rosemary Kayess discuss the UNCRPD.

The UNCPRD is a pivotal document to understanding contemporary framings of disability. You can read the entire thing on the UN Website:

We also highly recommend that you read at least the first chapter of the 2011 World Report on Disability.
Gerard was deeply involved in the drafting of the UNCRPD and has worked internationally to support its ratification and implementation by many different countries in the world. As he explains, the UNCRPD is one of a number of thematic human rights treaties which address particular groups of people, including:
  • women,
  • refugees,
  • children,
  • people of colour,
  • migrant workers,
  • victims of forced disappearance (e.g. secret abduction or imprisonment),
  • indigenous people,
  • victims of torture,
  • victims of genocide.

Talking points

  • What were the driving forces behind the UNCRPD?
  • Why is the UNCRPD important?
  • What has been the impact of the UNCRPD on the international community? On governments? On disabled people’s organisations (DPOs)? On people with disabilities?

Extend your knowledge — In Step 2.12: Developing the Convention, you can read more about how the UNCRPD was drafted.

In the next step, we explore how the UNCRPD is being applied in local, domestic contexts — and the challenges that remain in creating change at the national, local and personal levels.

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