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United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the first international legally binding instrument setting minimum standards for rights for people with disabilities, and the first human rights convention to which the EU has become a party.

The Council adopted the Decision for the conclusion of the Convention on 26 November 2009. For the EU the Convention entered into force on 22 January 2011.

All the EU countries have signed the Convention. It is only Ireland that has not ratified the Convention. Finland ratified in May 2016 and the Netherlands in June 2016. 22 EU countries have also signed its Optional Protocol and 22 have ratified it.

This means that the EU as well as those Member States that are parties to the UN Convention are committed to upholding and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities as enshrined in the UN Convention. The core elements of the UN Convention are reflected in the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020.

Reporting to the United Nations

Parties to the Convention need to periodically inform the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities about the measures taken to implement it:

EU Member States must also submit individual implementation reports to the UN for the matters under their competence.

High Level Group on Disability and Work Forum

The Commission regularly discusses the implementation of the Convention at EU and Member State level in a High Level Group on Disability made up of:

  • the European Commission,
  • the Member States,
  • Norway,
  • the Council of Europe,
  • several EU-level NGOs, including organisations of people with disabilities.

The annual Work Forum brings together those responsible for implementation and monitoring of the Convention as well as civil society and organisations of persons with disabilities from the EU and its Member States.

EU Framework on the implementation of the UNCRPD

As a party to the Convention, the EU is required to have a mechanism responsible to promote, protect and monitor its implementation on matters of EU competence.

The EU Framework on the implementation of the UNCRPD is operational since 2013.