About the UNCRPD

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) is an international human rights treaty, which exists to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all disabled persons. It was adopted on 13 December 2006 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, and opened for signature on 30 March 2007.

The Convention applies established human rights principles from the UN Declaration on Human Rights to the situation of persons 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. As of December 2021, the Convention has been ratified by 184 parties (183 States and the European Union). The Convention is monitored by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for which annual Conferences of States Parties to the CRPD have set guidelines since 2008.

The Irish Government signed the Convention in 2007, and ratified it in March 2018.

Ireland’s initial State Report under the UNCRPD was issued to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in November 2021.

UNCRPD Articles

The UNCRPD contains 50 Articles. Aside from provisions around definitions, principles and processes, the Convention contains 26 Articles covering all areas of life, from Health, Education and Employment to Equal Recognition before the Law, Freedom from Exploitation, Violence and Abuse, and Accessibility. The

The Convention also offers intersectional perspectives, in respect of women with disabilities and children with disabilities.

We have developed a series of in-depth papers on individual UNCRPD Articles. These papers detail the main data available relevant to specific Articles and provide an overview of key policies, programmes, services, supports and data that exist in the Irish context.

The Articles completed to date are:

  • Article 6: Women with disabilities
  • Article 7: Children with disabilities
  • Article 8: Awareness raising
  • Article 13: Access to Justice
  • Article 16: Freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse
  • Article 19; Living Independently and being included in the community
  • Article 21: Right to freedom of expression, opinion and access to information
  • Article 24: Education
  • Article 25: Health
  • Article 27: Employment and work
  • Article 28: Adequate standard of living and social protection
  • Article 29: Participation in political and public life
  • Article 31: Statistic and data collection

More Article review papers are being developed.

Reporting Mechanisms

Following the ratification of the Convention, a State Party must submit an initial Report to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities within two years. The Committee may respond with a List of Issues based on the State Report. The final stage of the reporting cycle includes an interactive dialogue between the Committee and a delegation representing the State Party. This culminates in a report by the Committee entitled ‘Concluding Observations’. This cycle is repeated every four year.

Article 33 of the UNCRPD requires that an independent mechanism be established to monitor the progress of Government in improving its laws, policies and essential services to ensure that people with disabilities enjoy the same human rights as everyone else. The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) is the independent monitoring mechanism for Convention in Ireland.

Under the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) (Amendment) Act, the National Disability Authority will have a duty to provide information and statistics to IHREC to assist it in carrying out its monitoring role.

The Optional Protocol to the UNCRPD

The Optional Protocol to the UNCRPD is a side-agreement to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It was adopted on 13 December 2006, and entered into force at the same time as its parent Convention on 3 May 2008. As of December 2021, it has 94 signatories and 100 state parties.

The Optional Protocol establishes an individual complaints mechanism for the UNCRDP. States Parties who ratify the Optional Protocol agree to recognise the competence of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to consider complaints from individuals or groups who claim their rights under the Convention have been violated. The Committee can request information from and make recommendations to a party. In addition, States Parties may permit the Committee to investigate, report on and make recommendations on "grave or systematic violations" of the Convention. States Parties may opt out of this latter obligation on signature or ratification.

As of August 2022, Ireland has not yet ratified the Optional Protocol to the UNCRPD.