Human Rights and Disability

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Human Rights and Disability

What are human rights?

Human rights are entitlements that every human being has to be happy, healthy, to be treated fairly and involved in society. You have human rights simply because you are human.Human Rights are based on a set of common values – fairness, respect, equality and dignity. They are enshrined in international law, which means these values must be made real in people’s lives.

Some examples of human rights include the right to:

       Healthcare;

       Education;

       Live independently and participate in the community;

       Access justice;

       An adequate standard of living; and

       Freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Human rights are important as they influence our thinking, our actions and our treatment of others. We have a responsibility to respect the human rights of others.

>>Read leaflet on human rights (PDF)

>>Read leaflet on human rights (Word)

>>Read easy read leaflet on human rights (PDF)

>>Read easy read leaflet on human rights (Word)

>>Read about the history of human rights

The human rights of people with disabilities

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2008) is an international agreement drawn up by states with the involvement of disabled people which affirms that people with disabilities have the same rights as everyone else.

The Convention was ratified on 8 June 2009 by the United Kingdom. This means the Government is legally bound to protect the human rights of its citizens with disabilities.

Why was the Convention necessary?

People with disabilities encounter a range of physical, cultural social and attitudinal barriers, which prevent them from accessing the same rights as non-disabled people, including making decisions about their lives, getting a job, obtaining an adequate standard of living, getting around and being included in society.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) was developed to clearly state that disabled people have the same rights as non-disabled people and countries must remove these barriers, providing disabled people with the opportunities to live life to their fullest potential. It confirms that disabled people have the right to take responsibility as full participants in the society in which they live. It also explains what countries need to do to promote and protect these rights.

What does the Convention say?

The Convention protects the rights of all people with disabilities in all areas of life including health, education, access to justice, personal mobility, independent living and freedom of expression.

Click here to read a summary of the articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities


Download the full text of UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as Word document


How does the Convention help disabled people living in Northern Ireland?

The Convention will help disabled people in Northern Ireland because:

-It says that disabled people’s human rights are important.

-Now the Government and public bodies must work in ways that take account of these human rights.

-It can be used to challenge or change the law in favour of people with disabilities.

-People with disabilities can make complaints to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities if they believe their rights have not been protected.

-The UN Committee will try to make sure that disabled people’s rights are being properly looked after.


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