UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Partipation questionnaire

The Commission is currently collectingresponses to a questionnaire for disabled people and disabled people’s organisations, asking for your views on the priority issues under the Convention. You can complete the questionnaire here.  


The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) is the first human rights treaty of the 21st Century. It reaffirms disabled people's human rights and signals a further major step in disabled people's journey to becoming full and equal citizens.

On 8 June 2009 the UK Government ratified the Convention signaling its commitment to take concrete action to comply with the legal rights and obligations contained in the Convention. The Government has also ratified the Convention's Optional Protocol'.

What is the Commission's role?

The Disability Convention requires governments to designate one or more 'independent mechanisms' to 'promote, protect and monitor implementation' of the Convention.

The Commission, which is Britain's National Human Rights Institution, has been designated alongside the Scottish Human Rights Commission, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Northern Ireland Equality Commission to fulfill this role in UK.

We are active members of the European Network of National Human Right's Institutions (NHRI's). The Commission also chairs the CRPD Working Group of the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions. One of the main aims of the working group is to support and encourage international co-operation on promoting, protecting and monitoring the Convention in our own countries and at European Union level.

The Working Group meets once or twice a year but participation is not reliant on attendance at meetings, as regular email contact between members is also an important part of communication and involvement

What does the Convention mean for disabled people?

The Convention reaffirms that disabled people have human rights and that they should be able to enjoy them on an equal basis with non-disabled people. It recognises that disabled people continue to face a wide range of barriers to realising their human rights in practice and sets out the measures governments are expected to take to remove them and to ensure the rights of disabled people are protected.

Other human rights treaties, such as conventions on the rights of the child and against all forms of discrimination against women have had a major effect in addressing human rights violations around the world.

The active participation of disabled people and their organisations, both independently and in collaboration with the Commission, is critical to making the Convention a success. The Commission is committed to working with disabled people and exploring with disability stakeholders how we can work together most effectively.

We have published a guide for disabled people and their organisations on the practical benefits of the Convention in everyday life: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities -What does it mean for you?

What is the Optional Protocol?

Britain has ratified the 'Optional Protocol of the UN Convention. This allows people to bring a petition to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities if they believe that their Convention rights have been breached and they have exhausted means of redress via the UK or European Courts. This step also gives the relevant UN Committee authority to undertake inquiries, when reliable information is received into allegations of grave or systematic violations of Convention rights.

What does the UN Convention cover?

The purpose of the Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by disabled people. The Convention covers a number of key areas. These include health, education, employment, access to justice, personal security independent living and access to information. Read more detail on the Articles in the Convention.

Get in touch

If you have any information you want to give us about the convention or have any questions about the work we're doing, please contact us at UNCRPD@equalityhumanrights.com.

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