Disabilities and rehabilitation

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities came into force on 3 May 2008. The Convention outlines the civil, cultural, political, social and economic rights of people with disabilities. Member States which have signed the Convention agree to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of people with disabilities and prompt respect for their inherent dignity. WHO welcomes this historic human rights treaty which provides a moral compass for action at national and international levels, and which underpins WHO's disability work. For example:

  • WHO is participating in the UN Inter-Agency Support Group (IASG) to promote and implement the Convention;
  • WHO launched the World Report on Disability on 9 June 2011, which provides the evidence and highlights priorities relevant to operationalizing the Convention;
  • WHO has set up a Task Force on Disability to ensure that the Organization itself is accessible to people with disabilities and mainstreams the rights of people with disabilities in technical programmes.

Many Articles in the Convention are relevant to WHO's mandate and many departments across WHO work to promote the human rights of people with disabilities. WHO is also supporting the Committee of on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which receives reports from Member States about actions to promote the rights and equality of people with disabilities, and working in partnership with Disabled People's Organizations and other stakeholders to make the Convention a reality.

Statement by Dr Ala Din Alwan
WHO Assistant Director-General, Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health

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