India , Gabon Ratify Convention on the Rights of Persons withDisabilities

15 more countries sign pact during General Assembly

United Nations, 2 October – India and Gabon have ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, bringing the number of ratifications to seven – 13 short of the number that will bring the Convention into effect.  In addition, 15 countries signed the Convention—the first of the 21st Century and the first that directly addresses the needs of persons with disabilities—during a five-day treaty event at the United Nations that concluded today, bringing the total of signatures to 117. They are Bulgaria, Cambodia, the Comoros, Estonia, Japan, Malawi, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Montenegro, the Philippines, Romania, Slovakia, Swaziland and Trinidad and Tobago.

“The 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has attracted the most interest” at the treaty event, UN spokesperson Michele Montas said today.  “I am very pleased that there has been so much interest in the Convention and its Optional Protocol,” said UN Under-Secretary- General for Legal Affairs Nicolas Michel. “During the treaty event several countries have come forward to sign the treaty, and I am especially pleased that two States – Gabon and India – deposited their instruments of ratification. I very much look forward to the rapid entry into force of both the Convention and its Optional Protocol.” Seven countries – Cambodia , Gabon , Madagascar , Mauritius , Montenegro , Slovakia and Swaziland – signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention, bringing the number of signatories to 66. The Protocol, which has been ratified by three countries, will come into force when the Convention does, and after 10 ratifications or accessions.

India ‘s External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Gabon ’s Foreign Minister Jean Ping ratified the treaty on behalf of their country on 1 October. “ India is committed to the elimination of barriers that persons with disabilities face”, the Permanent Mission of India to the UN said in a press release, adding that the country’s Constitution implicitly mandates an inclusive society for all.

Thirty-nine States undertook 68 treaty actions at the treaty event, held from 25 September to 2 October.  Of that number, nine states participated at the level of head of state or government and 22 participated at the level of minister for foreign affairs.   There were a total of 38 signatures, and 30 ratifications, acceptances, accessions or like actions.  The treaty event, held e very year since 2000, seeks to encourage UN Member States to participate in international treaties. It coincides with the general debate in the General Assembly, which brings to the United Nations heads of state and government and ministers from around the world. Encouraging Member States to sign, ratify or accede to those treaties deposited with him, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on governments “to take adequate measures to implement the relevant treaty obligations.”

For updated information on signatures and ratifications of the Convention, see http://www.un. org/esa/socdev/ enable

Contact: Edoardo Bellando, 212 963 8275, bellando@un. org, or Dan Shepard, 212 963 9495, shepard@un.org 
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