UN chief welcomes 100th ratification of UN disability convention as ‘milestone’

12 May 2011

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today hailed Colombia’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as an “important milestone,” emphasizing the treaty’s role in providing inclusion and development for persons with disabilities worldwide.

On 10 May, the South American nation became the 100th country to ratify the Convention which supports greater access for the disabled to participate in their communities. It is widely regarded as the first international human rights treaty of the twenty-first century.

“This is an important milestone for Colombia and for the global community,” Mr. Ban said, commenting on the ratification. “The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a powerful tool for inclusion and development. Let us use it to make concrete improvements in the lives of persons with disabilities,” he added.

About 10 per cent of the global population, or 650 million people, live with a disability, with many excluded from fully participating in the economic, social, and political lives of their communities.

An estimated 386 million people of working age suffer from some form of disability, with unemployment rates in this category soaring as high as 80 per cent in some countries.

Mr. Ban’s remarks were echoed by Sha Zukang, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), who said he was greatly encouraged by the ratification. DESA is the UN department which serves as Secretariat for the Convention.

“This is a great achievement by the international community in working towards a just and equitable society, based on equality and equal opportunity for all, including persons with disabilities,” Mr. Sha said.

The Convention was adopted by the General Assembly in 2006 in an effort to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy the same human rights as everyone else. Eighty-two countries immediately signed it – the highest number for a UN treaty in history.


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