Update: 16.05.2019

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

Of 13 December 2006 (Entry into force: 03 May 2008)

Text of Treaty

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The convention is based on existing international human rights conventions and guarantees their application to persons with disabilities. The goal of the convention is the active participation of persons with disabilities in the political, economic, social and cultural life of society. The convention forbids the discrimination of persons with disabilities in all aspects of life and guarantees them civil, political, economic, social and cultural human rights. 


177 Contracting States (including the EU; as of 16 May 2019; current count)

    History of the Convention

    In 1981 the UN-General Assembly called for an «International Year of Disabled Persons». The slogan was: «Full Participation and Equality». In 1993 standards on equal opportunities for persons with disabilities based on human rights were agreed upon. The closing remarks of the Human Rights Conference in Vienna in 1993 underlined the universal character of human rights and their application to persons with disabilities. In 2001 the General Assembly established an ad-hoc committee mandated the drafting of an international convention on the Protection of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities. On 25 August 2006 the draft was completed and the General Assembly adopted it on 13 December 2006. On 3 May 2008 the Convention entered into force. 

    Content of the Convention

    The Convention forbids all forms of discrimination against persons with disabilities. It guarantees the right to an independent and self-determined life, equal rights to a family, the right of employment and the right to an adequate living standard and social protection, equal access to education, equal participation rights in societal and cultural life as well as protection from violence, exploitation and abuse.

    Definition «persons with disabilities»

    The Definition of «persons with disabilities» is broad. Thus, no disabled person is categorically excluded from the protection of the convention. According to the convention «persons with disabilities» include «those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others».

    Obligations of Contracting States

    The convention obligates future contracting states to prevent any form of discrimination based on physical or mental disabilities. Law and customs that adversely affect disabled persons must be eradicated and prejudice against disabled persons must be opposed. 

    Monitoring process

    As defined in Art. 34 of the Convention, the Committee provides for a control mechanism consisting 12 members which will be enlarged to a maximum of 18 when the will include its 60th signatory state. The Committee checks on adherence to the regulations of the Conventions. It audits the periodic reports of member states on the state of the implementation of the provisions of the convention.

    Optional Protocol of 2006: Individual complaint procedure

    Text: English / French / German

    The Optional Protocol of the Convention provides for an individual complaint process. If credible information indicates serious and systemic violations of the provisions of the Convention, the Committee can initiate an investigation (Art. 6). The optional protocol entered into force on 3 May 2008 as well. 95 member states have ratified it to date (as of 16 May 2019, current count).

    Further Information 

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