Over the past decade, awareness and understanding of issues related to disability rights has grown. In particular, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), adopted in 2006 and entered into force on May 3, 2008, has been integral to advancing recognition of the human rights of persons with disabilities. The CRPD provides us with a comprehensive approach to realizing the rights of persons with disabilities.
The CRPD is important for both outlining the rights of persons with disabilities and for changing perceptions of disability. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights describes a human rights-based approach to disabilities:
“A rights-based approach seeks ways to respect, support and celebrate human diversity by creating the conditions that allow meaningful participation by a wide range of persons, including persons with disabilities. Protecting and promoting their rights is not only about providing disability-related services. It is about adopting measures to change attitudes and behaviours that stigmatize and marginalize persons with disabilities. It is also about putting in place the policies, laws and programmes that remove barriers and guarantee the exercise of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights by persons with disabilities.”
Persons with disabilities face wide-ranging human rights abuses including institutionalization, isolation, stigma and discrimination, and lack of access to health, education and employment opportunities. The CRPD sets outs a wide range of rights that address all aspects of life, such as respect for home and the family, education, employment, health, participation in political and public life, participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport, the right to life, freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law. The CRPD seeks to “ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.”
(Source: Health and Human Rights Resource Guide, François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health)