European Union ratifies UN Convention on disability rights
On Wednesday 5 January 2011 the European Union has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This Convention aims to ensure that people with disabilities can enjoy their rights on an equal basis with all other citizens. The Convention sets out minimum standards for protecting and safeguarding a full range of civil, political, social, and economic rights for people with disabilities. It reflects the EU's broader commitment to building a barrier-free Europe for the estimated 80 million people with disabilities in the EU by 2020, as set out in the European Commission's disability strategy.
"Good news for the new year and a milestone in the history of human rights as it is the first time ever that the EU becomes a party to an international human rights treaty. I would like to thank the Belgian Presidency for their excellent cooperation, which allowed the swift and successful conclusion of the ratification process," said European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner.
"The UN Convention promotes and protects the human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons with disabilities. In November, the Commission presented an EU disability strategy for the next ten years: concrete measures with a concrete timeline to implement the UN Convention. 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."