Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

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

The main elements of the UN Convention are reflected in the European disability strategy 2010-2020.

For the EU, the convention entered into force on 22 January 2011. All EU Member States have signed and ratified the convention. 22 EU countries have also signed and ratified its optional protocol in January 2019.

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. The Commission has provided the following:

The EU is submitting its next periodic report to the UN in January 2021. EU Member States must also submit individual implementation reports to the UN for matters falling 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 with

  • the European Commission
  • experts from EU Member States
  • Norway
  • several EU-level NGOs, including disabled people’s organisations (DPOs)

In addition, an annual work forum brings together those responsible for implementing and monitoring the Convention, civil society bodies, and DPOs from the EU and its Member States.

EU framework on the implementation of the UNCRPD

The EU is required to have a basis to promote, protect and implement the UNCRPD in matters falling under the EU's competence.

The framework became operational in 2013, based on a proposal by the Commission that was endorsed by the Council in 2012. It complements national monitoring mechanisms.

Since late 2015, the European Commission is no longer active in the EU framework, but continues to coordinate the implementation of the UNCRPD.

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