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Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: the vital role of Handicap International

Inclusion

Ten years ago, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. It has since been ratified by 168 States. Handicap International played a vital role in drawing up this text.

When the Convention was being drafted, the organisation made sure that people with disabilities living in low income countries were able to take part in the discussions and that their voices were heard. This involved a lot of coordination and translation work so they could follow the debates and pass on their message.

The organisation also worked tirelessly to ensure the Convention included an article dedicated to international cooperation: by obliging donor States to apply the measures set out in the Convention to their international aid provision, Handicap International made sure that the concerns, needs and priorities of people with disabilities are incorporated into the funding of cooperation actions.

People with disabilities have been able to speak about their daily lives, their specific situations, the things which people without disabilities cannot see. It was very important to reflect the full range of discrimination. A woman with impaired hearing living in a remote area of Kenya is not in the same situation as a blind man living in Europe. I think that the Convention's main achievement has been to combine these different preoccupations and discriminations experienced by very diverse groups of people with disabilities into one text.

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