Disabilities and rehabilitation

UN concludes discussions towards first human rights treaty of the 21st Century to improve the lives of people with disabilities

28 August 2006 - The International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities was finalized at the eighth session of the Ad Hoc Committee, which was held at United Nations headquarters in New York from 14-25 August 2006. The Convention is expected to be adopted by the UN General Assembly during its 61st session which starts in September 2006. This is the first human rights treaty of the 21st Century. Many hope it will make a significant improvement in the lives of disabled people. While the Convention does not create new rights, it specifically prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in all areas of life, including civil rights and access to health services, education and transportation. Before the opening of the eighth session, a UN inter-agency meeting was held on the 10-11 August 2006 to discuss a System-Wide Integrated Implementation Strategy for the International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities. The chair of this meeting Mr Johan Scholvinck, Director of the Division for Social Policy and Development of UNESCAP, emphasized that one of the unique strengths of the Convention is the inclusion of a development component. This will catalyze the inclusion of disability issues in development programmes, including those targeted towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The agencies represented included: UNICEF, UNESCO, WHO, ILO, FAO, UNFPA, ESCAP, DAW, OHCHR, UNHCR, UNAIDS, DESA and the World Bank.

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