United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was adopted on 13 December 2006 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, and was opened for signature on 30 March 2007. It is the first comprehensive human rights treaty of the 21st century. The Convention entered into force on 3 May 2008.

The Convention promotes, protects and ensures the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, as well as promotes respect of the inherent dignity of all persons who live with disability.

Persons 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.1

The CRPD follows decades of work by the United Nations alongside persons with disabilities to change attitudes and approaches to disability. It takes to a new height the movement from viewing persons with disabilities as ‘objects’ of charity, medical treatment and social protection to understanding persons with disabilities as ‘subjects’ with rights who are capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active members of society.

The CRPD recognises people with disabilities as active subjects, capable of claiming their rights and making decisions about their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as centralises the tenant that all decisions about people with disabilities should include people with disabilities in the decision making process.

The general principles of the Convention are laid out in Article 3:

  1. Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons;
  2. Non-discrimination;
  3. Full and effective participation and inclusion in society;
  4. Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity;
  5. Equality of opportunity;
  6. Accessibility;
  7. Equality between men and women;
  8. Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities.


ADDC advocates for all actors in international development to follow a rights-based approach in implementing programs in partnership with Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) and other representatives of people with disabilities following the articles of the CRPD.

(Source: CBM Australia – Disability-Inclusive Development Toolkit, www.un.org)