Press Statement

UN Disability Rights Treaty to Soon Enter into Force

Global Disability Network Plans Celebration and
Launches the IDA CRPD Forum

(New York, United Nations, April 14, 2008): The International Disability Alliance (IDA)  – composed of global and regional organizations of persons with disabilities – and the International Disability Caucus (IDC) – a coalition of disabled peoples’ organizations and allied NGOs and individuals engaged in the treaty negotiations – are delighted that the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and its Optional Protocol will become binding international law on May 3, 2008. For the more than 650 million persons with disabilities around the world, this new legal instrument will be an important step forward in ensuring that their rights and dignity are respected.

The global disability community continues to call on all governments to promptly sign, ratify and implement the CRPD and its Optional Protocol without any reservations or declarations.  In just a little over a year, the Convention reached the requisite 20 ratifications to take effect, showing unprecedented support among United Nations Member States. The impetus to ratify also demonstrates the successful advocacy efforts of, and collaboration among governments, civil society, particularly organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs), and the UN. DPOs and various NGOs were deeply involved in the CRPD drafting and negotiation process at the UN, leading to the swift adoption of the treaty by the UN General Assembly in December 2006.  

To mark the Convention’s entry into force, the UN Secretariat for the Convention, composed of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR), is planning a celebration on May 12, 2008. IDA is helping to organize that event at the UN Headquarters in New York, providing a key opportunity for awareness-raising and advocacy around the Convention. In particular, IDA is calling on the UN, other international organizations and funding agencies to adhere to the terms of the Convention in their programs and as part of their criteria for support and funding.

As we begin the implementation phase of the Convention, IDA is announcing the launch of the IDA CRPD Forum, which will serve as a vital network to give persons with disabilities a renewed unified voice, building on the experience of the International Disability Caucus (IDC). The IDA Forum will explore ways in which we can all work together to promote law, policies and programs that fully take advantage this new powerful legal instrument upholding our rights. The IDA CRPD Forum will be open to all civil society organizations that support the criteria set up by the Forum Steering Committee including the leadership of organizations of persons with disabilities, in the spirit of the motto “Nothing about us, without us.” On the day following the UN celebration, May 13, 2008, the new IDA CRPD Forum will hold its inaugural meeting just a short distance from the UN Headquarters in New York.

The CRPD is the only human rights treaty for persons with disabilities, prohibiting discrimination in all areas of life, and guaranteeing inclusion and equal opportunities for all.  Various articles of the Convention relate to education, employment, health and access to information, public facilities and services, among other issues. The Optional Protocol concerns how individuals or groups can seek redress for violations of the CRPD once national remedies are exhausted. To date, 127 countries have signed the Convention, 71 have signed the Optional Protocol, 21 states have ratified the treaty and 14 states have ratified the Protocol.  

For more information on the UN Convention and the IDA CRPD Forum, please contact IDA Chair Lex Grandia ( or the IDA Secretariat (c/o Rehabilitation International) at: Tomas Lagerwall ( or Lauren Goldy (, at +1-212-420-1500.

About IDA and the IDA CRPD Forum

The International Disability Alliance (IDA) is a network of ten global and regional organizations of persons with disabilities with democratically elected leaders.

The IDA CRPD Forum is a loose coalition of disabled peoples’ organizations and allied NGOs promoting the implementation of the CRPD.

For more information about the treaty, visit the UN website on the CRPD:


Ratifications of the Convention:   21
Ratifications of the Optional Protocol:   14 (denoted by *)

Sr. No. States Parties:   Date of Ratification
1. Jamaica      March 30, 2007
2. Hungary * July 20, 2007
3. Panama * August 7, 2007
4. Croatia * August 15, 2007
5. Cuba September 6, 2007
6. India October 1, 2007
7. Gabon October 1, 2007
8. Bangladesh * November 30, 2007
9. South Africa * November 30, 2007
10. Spain * December 3, 2007
11. Namibia * December 4, 2007
12. Nicaragua December 7, 2007
13. El Salvador * December 14, 2007
14. Mexico * December 17, 2007
15. Peru * January 30, 2008
16. Guinea * February 8, 2008
17. San Marino February 22, 2008
18. Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan March 31, 2008
19. Tunisia * April 2, 2008
20. Ecuador * April 3, 2008
21. Mali * April 9, 2008

The Convention and its Optional Protocol enter into force on May 3, 2008.

Member organizations:
Disabled Peoples’ International, Inclusion International,
International Federation of Hard of Hearing People,
Rehabilitation International, World Blind Union,
World Federation of the Deaf, World Federation of the DeafBlind,
World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry,
Arab Organization of Disabled People,
European Disability Forum


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