UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted in 2005. Ireland signed the Convention in 2007 and further to its ratification in March 2018 it enters into force from 19 April 2018.

The purpose of the Convention is to promote, protect and 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. It applies established human rights principles from the UN Declaration on Human Rights to the situation of people with disabilities. It covers civil and political rights to equal treatment and freedom from discrimination, and social and economic rights in areas like education, health care, employment and transport. States which ratify the UN Convention commit themselves to delivering civil and political rights to people with disabilities, and to progressive realisation of social and economic rights.

While Ireland has been working to ensure domestic legislation is put in place to ensure the State can meet the obligations it assumes under the terms of the UNCRPD, there are a range of national strategies and programmes in place to advance the implementation of the Convention’s provisions, including to empower persons with disabilities to live self-directed lives of their own choosing. Basic civil and political rights for all are guaranteed under the Constitution. Ireland’s extensive suite of equality legislation outlaws discrimination, and successive iterations of the National Disability Strategy have set out an approach of progressive realisation of the aims of the Convention, working to resolve many social and economic issues. Other national policies and strategies include the Comprehensive Employment Strategy, the Transforming Lives programme, a Vision for Change and the National Housing Strategy for Persons with Disabilities.

Prior to ratification, the National Disability Authority worked closely with departments and agencies to identify areas of policy and practice requiring specific attention and to guide on what needed to be done to prepare for ratification. We have also worked closely to support and advise on the implementation of the national strategies and programmes which together can support the progressive realisation of the rights enshrined in the UNCRPD.

Under section 3 of the Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016 the National Disability Authority will be granted a statutory role to provide information and advice to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission in its role as the official monitoring body for Ireland’s compliance with the Convention. The NDA’s work in this regard will include the development and provision of statistical information to assist the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission in its review of the adequacy and effectiveness of law and practice in the State relating to the protection of persons with disabilities.

The Government formally ratified the Convention in 2018 and it entered into force on 19 April 2018. The NDA looks forward to continuing its work to inform and support the development and implementation of policy to realise the rights enshrined in the Convention, and to progress Ireland’s journey towards equal participation of persons with disabilities in our society.

More information on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities