Table of Contents

  • The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol were adopted on 13 December 2006 and entered into force on 3 May 2008. They came into existence through a forceful call from persons with disabilities around the world to have their human rights respected, protected and fulfilled on an equal basis with others.
  • The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol in 2006 as a means of improving respect for the rights of persons with disabilities, who, according to the latest figures, comprise some 15 per cent of the world’s population. Since 2006, ratification of the Convention and Optional Protocol has proceeded at a rapid pace. However, knowledge about the Convention and how to implement and monitor it has not necessarily kept up. This in turn has led to an increase in requests for training courses to build capacities of national stakeholders—representatives of Government, civil society, national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and others.
  • Module 1 explains the concept of disability, a fundamental step in understanding why the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was necessary. The module identifies the modern concept of “how disability works” and then places this in the historical context of various approaches to disability based on charity or on the medical diagnosis of impairments. The module examines some of the latter’s consequences and then introduces the human rights approach, which paves the way for module 2. There is some duplication of slides in modules 1 and 2, because module 1 could potentially be presented independently of module 2 or similar concepts could be raised in both modules to reinforce them, depending on the training course and the participants. The facilitator can always pick the slides that fit the presentation.
  • The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol on 13 December 2006. On 30 March 2007 both were opened for signature at United Nations Headquarters in New York. An unprecedented 81 countries signed the Convention on the opening day. But what led to this momentous event?
  • The Convention has been widely ratified in only a few years. By 1 October 2013, the Convention had 137 contracting parties and its Optional Protocol 78. This means that over half the world has indicated its consent to be bound by the Convention. Yet, there is still work to be done to achieve universal acceptance. Module 3 introduces the main concepts and processes underlying ratification, which should help train and motivate representatives of States, civil society and national human rights institutions in countries that have not yet ratified the Convention.
  • Article 4 (1) (a) indicates in broad terms the implementation measures needed for the full realization of the rights of persons with disabilities, without discrimination. It requires States
  • Discrimination refers to the act of treating someone or something differently and is not necessarily negative. To say that someone is discriminating can mean that the person has good taste or judgement. However, discrimination can also mean that someone treats certain people unfairly because of those persons’ characteristics. It is this second meaning of discrimination which concerns human rights law.
  • The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities provides for the establishment of national mechanisms and institutions for the implementation and monitoring of the Convention both at the international and at the national level.
  • The purpose of this module is to provide detail for States, civil society and national human rights institutions on the process of reporting to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In accordance with article 35 of the Convention, a State party has an obligation to submit an initial report within two years after the Convention’s entry into force for it and to submit periodic reports thereafter, at least every four years and further whenever the Committee so requests. Civil society and NHRIs have a crucial role to play in the reporting process by complementing information provided by the State party. This module covers the content of State and alternative reports as well as the process of drafting them, submitting them to the Committee and following up on the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations.
  • This module sets out the basic parameters of the two procedures under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: communications and inquiries. It explains the steps involved in each procedure and identifies some of the benefits of the Optional Protocol as a means of strengthening the rights of persons with disabilities.