Summary of UNCRPD

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Summary of UNCRPD

A summary of the articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Article 1: Purpose

The purpose of the Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities.People with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

Article 2: Definitions

This article defines some of the key terms used in the Convention including “communication”; “language”; “discrimination on the basis of disability”; “reasonable accommodation” and “universal design”.

Article 3: General principles

The Convention is based on the principles of respect for dignity; non-discrimination; participation and inclusion; respect for difference; equality of opportunity; accessibility; equality between men and women; and respect for children.

Article 4: General obligations

Countries must take a range of measures, with the active involvement of people with disabilities, to ensure and promote the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities without discrimination of any kind.

Article 5: Equality and non-discrimination

Everyone is equal before and under the law. Everyone is entitled to the equal protection and benefit of the law without discrimination.

Article 6: Women with disabilities

Women and girls with disabilities experience multiple discrimination. Countries must take all appropriate measures to ensure that women with disabilities are able to fully enjoy the rights and freedoms set out in the Convention.

Article 7: Children with disabilities

Children with disabilities have the same human rights as all other children. The best interests of the child must be a primary consideration in all actions concerning children with disabilities. Children with disabilities have the right to express their views on all matters affecting them

Article 8: Awareness-raising

Countries must raise awareness of the rights, capabilities and contributions of people with disabilities. Countries must challenge stereotypes and prejudices relating to people with disabilities through campaigning, education, media and awareness-raising programmes.

Article 9: Accessibility

People with disabilities have the right to access all aspects of society on an equal basis with others including the physical environment, transportation, information and communications, and other facilities and services provided to the public.

Article 10: Right to life

People with disabilities have the right to life. Countries must take all necessary measures to ensure that people with disabilities are able to effectively enjoy this right on an equal basis with others.

Article 11: Situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies

Countries must take all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of all persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters.

Article 12: Equal recognition before the law

People with disabilities have the right to recognition as persons before the law. People with disabilities have legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life.Countries must take appropriate measures to provide support to people with disabilities so that they can effectively exercise their legal capacity.

Article 13: Access to justice

People with disabilities have the right to effective access to justice on an equal basis with others, including through the provision of appropriate accommodations.

Article 14: Liberty and security of person

People with disabilities have the right to liberty and security of person on an equal basis with others. Existence of disability alone cannot be used to justify deprivation of liberty.

Article 15: Freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman ordegrading treatment or punishment

People with disabilities have the right to be free from torture and from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. No one shall be subjected to medical or scientific experimentation without his or her free consent.

Article 16: Freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse

People with disabilities have the right to be protected from all forms of exploitation, violence and abuse, including their gender based aspects, within and outside the home.

Article 17: Protecting the integrity of the person

Every person with disabilities has a right to respect for his or her physical and mental integrity on an equal basis with others.

Article 18: Liberty of movement and nationality

People with disabilities have the right to a nationality. Children with disabilities have the right to a name and to know and be cared for by their parents.

Article 19: Living independently and being included in the community

People with disabilities have the right to live independently in the community. Countries must ensure that people with disabilities have the opportunity to choose where they live and with whom they live, and that they are provided with the support necessary to do this.

Article 20: Personal mobility

Countries must take effective and appropriate measures to ensure personal mobility for people with disabilities in the manner and time of their choice, and at affordable cost. People with disabilities also have the right to access quality mobility aids, assistive technologies and forms of live assistance and intermediaries.

Article 21: Freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information

People with disabilities have the right to express themselves, including the freedom to give and receive information and ideas through all forms of communication, including through accessible formats and technologies, sign languages, Braille, augmentative and alternative communication, mass media and all other accessible means of communication.

Article 22: Respect for privacy

People with disabilities have the right to privacy. Information about people with disabilities including personal information and information about their health should be protected.

Article 23: Respect for home and the family

People with disabilities have the right to marry and to found a family. Countries must provide effective and appropriate support to people with disabilities in bringing up children, and provide alternative care to children with disabilities where the immediate family is unable to care for them.

Article 24: Education

People with disabilities have a right to education without discrimination. Countries must ensure that people with disabilities can access an inclusive, quality and free primary and secondary education in their own community.Countries must also provide reasonable accommodation and individualised support to maximise academic and social development.

Article 25: Health

People with disabilities have the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health without discrimination. Countries must take all appropriate measures, including measures that are gender-sensitive, to ensure that people with disabilities have access to the same range, quality and standard of health care that is available to everyone else,and which are close to people’s own communities.

Article 26: Habilitation and rehabilitation

Countries must take effective and appropriate measures to enable people with disabilities to develop, attain and maintain maximum ability, independence and participation through the provision of habilitation and rehabilitation services and programmes.

Article 27: Work and employment

People with disabilities have the right to work, including the right to work in an environment that is open, inclusive and accessible. Countries must take appropriate steps to promote employment opportunities and career advancement for people with disabilities.

Article 28: Adequate standard of living and social protection

People with disabilities have the right to an adequate standard of living including food, water, clothing and housing, and to effective social protection including poverty reduction and public housing programmes.

Article 29: Participation in political and public life

People with disabilities have the right to participate in politics and in public affairs, as well as to vote and to be elected.

Article 30: Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport

People with disabilities have the right to take part in cultural life on an equal basis with others, including access to cultural materials, performances and services, and to recreational, leisure and sporting activities.

Article 31: Statistics and data collection

Countries must collect information about people with disabilities, with the active involvement of people with disabilities, so that they can better understand the barriers they experience and make the Convention rights real.

Articles 32-50

Articles 32-50 explain how countries which are bound by the Convention must give it full effect. They also explain the responsibility of countries to report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on how they are putting the Convention into effect.

Click here to download the full text of UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as a word document


Click here to download a PDF of the Centre on Human Rights’ Summary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities


Reservations to the Convention


On 7 June 2009, the United Kingdom ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities with four reservations.

The reservations mean that parts of the Convention are not legally binding on the UK and therefore will hinder disabled people from enjoying their full human rights on an equal basis with others. By ratifying with these reservations the UK Government has declared its willingness to accept less than the agreed international standard for the protection and promotion of disabled people’s human rights.

Reservation 1: Work and Employment

“The United Kingdom accepts the provisions of the Convention, subject to the understanding that none of its obligations relating to equal treatment in employment and occupation, shall apply to the admission into or service in any of the naval, military or air forces of the Crown.”

In the UK, the right of people with disabilities to work in an environment which is open, accessible and inclusive does not apply to the navy, the air-force or the army.

Disability Action believes that people with disabilities have the right to enjoy their full rights on an equal basis with others, regardless of the employer or the type of work. Also, people who have become disabled as a result of being in the armed forces are entitled to have their human rights protected as much as anyone else. Furthermore, in the UK, the service provided by the police and fire service is not compromised by exclusions for people with disabilities. Why should such reservations therefore apply to the naval, military and air-forces

Reservation 2: Education
Convention Article 24 Clause 2 (a) and 2 (b)

“The United Kingdom reserves the right for disabled children to be educated outside their local community where more appropriate education provision is available elsewhere. Nevertheless, parents of disabled children have the same opportunity as other parents to state a preference for the school at which they wish their child to be educated.”

This reservation removes the right of children with disabilities to be educated in an inclusive manner in their own communities. Disability Action believes this has serious implications on the family life of children with disabilities. “Appropriate education provision” must be provided on an equal basis for all children in their local community, so family life does not suffer. The families of children with disabilities must not be fractured in the way which this reservation implies.

Click here to read the Children with Disabilities Strategic Alliance’s (CDSA’s) Manifesto


Reservation 3: Liberty of Movement
“The United Kingdom reserves the right to apply such legislation, insofar as it relates to the entry into, stay in and departure from the United Kingdom of those who do not have the right under the law of the United Kingdom to enter and remain in the United Kingdom, as it may deem necessary from time to time.”

Disability Action recognizes that immigration law is a vitally important part of public policy. However, immigration law should apply the same considerations when dealing with disabled people and non-disabled people. Through this reservation, the Government may create ‘legal’ barriers to prevent people from disabilities from exercising the same freedom of movement right as everyone else.

Reservation 4: Equal Recognition before the Law
“The United Kingdom’s arrangements, whereby the Secretary of State may appoint a person to exercise rights in relation to social security claims and payments on behalf of an individual who is for the time being unable to act, are not at present subject to the safeguard of regular review, as required by Article 12.4 of the Convention and the UK reserves the right to apply those arrangements. The UK is therefore working towards a proportionate system of review.”

As the Government has alluded to in this reservation, a system of review needs to be established reflecting the principles of the Convention, which protects, enables and supports people with disabilities without stripping them of their legal capacity.

Disability Action wants the Government, to remove this reservation and stipulate a time-frame for the consultation process and subsequent development and implementation of this proportionate system of review. It is contradictory that the Government upholds the principles of the UN Convention and yet the absence of this system of review means disabled people are being denied capacity unnecessarily.


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