UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

In the 1980s, several countries started discussions about establishing a human rights treaty for people with disabilities. The next progress was a draft treaty that was completed in 2004. It was negotiated by the United Nations Ad Hoc Committee through intensive meetings in 2006. The negotiations resulted in the fastest human rights treaty enacted in the history of human rights treaties.

On December 13, 2006, the United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus the Disability Convention and its protocol. Then, it was opened for signature on March 30, 2007 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, USA. Over 80 countries became signatories during the opening ceremony. Jamaica was the first country to ratify. The Convention entered into force on May 3, 2008. As of October 2012, there have been 154 signatories to the Convention, 90 signatories to the Optional Protocol, 125 ratifications and accessions to the Convention, and 75 ratifications and accessions to the Protocol.

The United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), commonly referred to as “the Disability Convention”, is a unique human rights instrument that serves as both a development tool and a human rights instrument. It also serves as a legally binding policy instrument which is cross-disability and cross-sector.

The purpose of Disability Convention, as stated in Article 1, 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.”

The Convention clarifies and qualifies how all categories of rights apply to persons with disabilities, and identifies areas where adjustments have to be made in order for persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights, as well as areas where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced. In addition, the Convention highlights pragmatic and action-oriented measures to be undertaken by States Parties in support of inclusive development programs. It represents a paradigm shift within the development community in which disability should be identified as an issue to be considered in all programs, not just as a stand-alone thematic issue. The Convention obligates States Parties to undertake proactively the appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities participate on an equal basis with others in all facets of society.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Succeeding the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or called Agenda 2030 adopted in 2015 is a global development framework that calls on world leaders to eliminate poverty by achieving its 17 goals by 2030. The goals covering employment, health care, gender equality education, climate chance, etc. are interdependent with one another that to achieve the sustainable development the UN member states must acknowledge the cross-cutting aspect of it. For example, leaders must provide their people equal access to quality education (Goal 4 – Quality Education) while ensuring all females get the access equally with male counterparts (Goal 5: Gender Equality). A number of targets and indicators are set under each goal to make it more measurable in terms of progress-tracking and monitoring.

By sustainability, this framework attempts to achieve balance among people, planet, and prosperity across the world. It is determined to end poverty and hunger, ensure all human beings can equally enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives, and protect the planet from degradation in order for the natural resources can sustainably support the needs of present and future generations. The SDGs lays a foundation for development initiative to focus also on the prosperity of persons with disabilities as one of vulnerable groups and their potentials to contribute in achieving the sustainable development in the world within fifteen years since its adoption.