Disability and Human Rights

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

By M Ahmad

WORLDWIDE one billion individuals have a disability. Many people with disabilities  experience a range of barriers to education, health care and other basic services. In many countries, they are subjected to violence and discrimination. People with disabilities are also often deprived of their right to live independently.

To protect the Rights of People with Disabilities ,The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was adopted on 13 December 2006 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The purpose of the Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. The Convention follows decades of work by the United Nations to change attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities. It takes to a new height the movement from viewing persons with disabilities as “objects” of charity, towards viewing them as “subjects” with rights, who are capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active members of society. It clarifies and qualifies how all categories of rights apply to persons with disabilities and identifies areas where adaptations have to be made or where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced.

The United Nations Charter affirms the essentiality of “a universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction…” Persons with disabilities are entitled to exercise their civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights on an equal basis with others under all the international treaties. The full participation of persons with disabilities benefits society as their individual contributions and enrich all spheres of life.

The guiding principles of the the Convention are:-

 1. Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons with disabilities.

2. Non-discrimination with persons with disabilities.

3. Full and effective participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities in the society.

4. Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity.

5. Equality of opportunity for persons with disabilities.

6. Accessibility facilities for persons with disability.

7. Equality between men and women with disabilities

8. Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities

9. Recognising and enforcing the right of disabled people to live independently, be included in the community, and choose where they live and who they live with.

10. Ensuring that social security policies protect the income of disabled people and their families, allowing for the extra costs that come with disability.

11. Removing barriers to ensure that disabled people can access decent work and equal pay.

12. Taking action to combat any negative or discriminatory stereotypes or prejudice against disabled people in public and the media

13. Ensuring disabled people have equal rights to justice by providing appropriate legal advice and support.

14. Involving disabled people and disabled people’s organisations in planning and implementing all laws and policies affecting disabled people.

15. Incorporating CRPD into domestic law to ensure that people can take legal action if their rights have been breached.

The purpose of the CRPD is Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ‘to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity’


  • The author is Principal (I/C) Abhedananda Home-Higher Secondary Institution for Specially-able Children, Solina, Rambagh, Srinagar, Kashmir- email: [email protected])

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