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Questions and answers

What is the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities?  

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (GA resolution A/RES/61/106) is an international human rights treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 13th December 2006; it opened to signatures on 30th March 2007 and came into force on 3rd May 2008 following ratification by the 20th State Party.  

As of February 2011, the Convention had 98 State Parties and was the first Human Rights Treaty to be ratified by a regional integration organization, the European Union.  It has 147 signatories.

The Convention adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. It clarifies and qualifies how all categories of rights apply to persons with disabilities and identifies areas where adaptation have to be made for persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights and areas where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced.

What is the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)?

The Committee is a body of 18 independent experts which monitors implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The members of the Committee serve in their individual capacity, not as government representatives. They are elected from a list of persons nominated by the States at the Conference of the State Parties for a four year term with a possibility of being re-elected once (cf. Article 34 of the Convention).

How does CRPD work?

All States parties have to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights enshrined in the Convention are being implemented. States must report initially within two years of ratifying the Convention and, thereafter, every four years. The Committee examines each report and makes suggestions and general recommendations on the report. It forwards these recommendations, in the form of concluding observations, to the State Party concerned.

The Committee normally meets in Geneva and holds two sessions per year.                     

What is the Optional Protocol to the Convention?

The Optional Protocol (GA resolution A/RES/61/106) which entered into force at the same time as the Convention, establishes two additional mandates for the Committee:

  1. The receipt and examination of individual complaints (please refer to the "Petitions" section on the right-hand side of the CRPD webpage).
  2. The undertaking of inquiries in the case of reliable evidence of grave and systematic violations of the Convention
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