UN applauds decision of United States to join landmark disability pact

31 July 2009
US Amb. Susan Rice signs the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The United Nations has welcomed the signing by the United States of the landmark treaty to protect and promote the rights of the world’s estimated 650 million people with disabilities.

Ambassador Susan Rice of the United States signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the world body’s Headquarters in New York yesterday, bringing the total number of signatories to 141. So far the treaty has been ratified by 60 countries.

The Convention, which entered into force in May last year, asserts the rights to education, health, work, adequate living conditions, freedom of movement, freedom from exploitation and equal recognition before the law for persons with disabilities.

In addition, the Convention’s Optional Protocol allows individuals to petition an international expert body with grievances.

By signing, and then ratifying the treaty, States commit themselves to enact laws and other measures to improve disability rights, as well as abolish discriminatory legislation, customs and practices.

“We are glad the United States has shown its commitment to be part of the common effort to ensure the full recognition of the rights of persons with disabilities in our societies,” said Akiko Ito, the Chief of the Secretariat of the Convention which is housed in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

“We look forward to working with the US and hope to add their strength to our work for persons with disabilities worldwide.”


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