The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Michael Ashley Stein
Visiting Professor, Harvard Law School; University of Pretoria Faculty of Law, Centre for Human Rights
Janet E. Lord
January 20, 2010
THE UNITED NATIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS: A CRITICAL APPRAISAL, Philip Alston & Frédéric Mégret, eds., United Nations Publications, 2009
William & Mary Law School Research Paper No. 09-33
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), together with its Optional Protocol, was adopted by consensus by the General Assembly on December 13, 2006. As the first human rights convention adopted in the twenty-first century, the UNCRPD seeks to protect the rights of the world’s largest minority, some 650 million persons with disabilities across the world. Long pushed to the margins of society, neglected even within the United Nations human rights system and mainstream human rights practice itself, persons with disabilities have faced systemic discrimination in every major life activity. Their rights ignored or gravely abused, disability advocates made the case for the development of a core human rights convention that would address in detail the barriers they face in society and provide guidance to States Parties on how to systematically remove these artificial impediments and facilitate full inclusion. The United Nations answer! ed that call in 2001 with the establishment of an ad hoc committee to consider proposals for a convention as part of a resolution introduced before the General Assembly by Mexico. The four year effort (2002-2006) culminated in the adoption of the first legally binding international human rights convention specifically addressing the rights of persons with disabilities and establishing a monitoring mechanism to facilitate its implementation.
The UNCRPD opened for signature on March 30, 2007. As of this writing, there are more than 125 signatories to the UNCRPD and sixteen ratifications. The UNCRPD requires ratification by twenty States Parties to enter into force and trigger the establishment of a monitoring Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD, or alternatively the Committee). The purpose of this chapter is to outline the intended purposes and functions of the CRPD as set forth in the UNCRPD and its Optional Protocol, identify in summary form the substantive issues which the CRPD will have to address in the course of its work, and briefly forecast the main opportunities and challenges that are likely to face the CRPD once it commences its work.
Further to publisher request only an abstract is furnished.
Keywords: disability, human rights, United Nations, treaties, jurisprudence, rule of l aw
Date posted: January 21, 2010 ; Last revised: June 7, 2010