European Union ratifies UN convention on disability rights

January 5th, 2011 - 10:56 pm ICT by BNO News  

BRUSSELS (BNO NEWS) — The European Union (EU) on Wednesday ratified the United Nation’s (UN) Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities that intends to ensure rights of people with disabilities.

This marks the first time in history the EU has become a party to an international human rights treaty as it was the first one ratified by the EU as a whole. The document was signed by all 27 EU Member States and ratified by 16 of them.

The UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities sets out minimum standards for protecting and safeguarding a full range of civil, political, social, and economic rights for people with disabilities.

In addition, the treaty which has been signed by 97 parties, shares the EU’s commitment to building a barrier-free Europe for the estimated 80 million people with disabilities in the Euro zone by 2020.

“It is the first time ever that the EU becomes a party to an international human rights treaty,” said European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner.

Reding added that the treaty’s premise is promoting and protecting the human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons with disabilities. Last November, The European Commission presented an EU disability strategy for the next ten years.

The Commission’s disability strategy consists of concrete measures with a concrete time line to implement the UN Convention in the next decade. The document was signed on March 30, 2007.

It has since been signed by all 27 EU countries and a further 120 states worldwide. On the other hand, the UN convention 16 has been signed by EU Member States. Such parties will need to periodically inform the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities about the measures taken to implement the convention.

The ratifying countries should take action in the following areas: access to education, employment, transport, infrastructures and buildings open to the public, granting the right to vote, improving political participation and ensuring full legal capacity of all people with disabilities.

“I now call on all remaining Member States that have not yet ratified the Convention to do so swiftly. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that people with disabilities do not face additional obstacles in their everyday lives,” Reding concluded.

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