Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was adopted on 13 December 2006 and entered into force on 3 May 2008. This Convention covers the rights of persons with disabilities and imposes an obligation on States to protect them in order to enjoy all the human rights and fundamental freedom like everyone else. Thus, the CRPD puts forth the rights of persons with disabilities within the overarching framework of anti-discrimination.    

Article 9 of the Convention deals with issues of accessibility. To ensure the inclusiveness of all human rights for all people, which is the primary goal of the Convention, Article 9 should be seen as a complementary provision and condition to all other provisions, as well as a right in itself. Its sub-clause (2.b) expands the scope of accessibility to not only government or State entities, but to private entities as well. 

2. States Parties shall also take appropriate measures to: 

(b) Ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which are open or provided to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility for persons with disabilities; 

Article 16 of the Convention addresses freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse. Although this Article is specific to persons with disabilities, it should be read in conjunction with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).    

1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social, educational and other measures to protect persons with disabilities, both within and outside the home, from all forms of exploitation, violence and abuse, including their gender-based aspects. 

Article 27 of the Convention highlights the provisions for work and employment, which are enabling factors for persons with disabilities to live a life of dignity and respect. While sub-clause (1) of this Article lists 11 points which facilitate the implementation of the proper right to work and employment, sub-Clause (2) provides protection from all forms of slavery, forced, or compulsory labour.  

1. States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to work, on an equal basis with others; this includes the right to the opportunity to gain a living by work freely chosen or accepted in a labour market and work environment that is open, inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities. States Parties shall safeguard and promote the realization of the right to work, including for those who acquire a disability during the course of employment, by taking appropriate steps, including through legislation, to, inter alia: 

(a) Prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability with regard to all matters concerning all forms of employment, including conditions of recruitment, hiring and employment, continuance of employment, career advancement and safe and healthy working conditions; 

(b) Protect the rights of persons with disabilities, on an equal basis with others, to just and favourable conditions of work, including equal opportunities and equal remuneration for work of equal value, safe and healthy working conditions, including protection from harassment, and the redress of grievances; 

(c) Ensure that persons with disabilities are able to exercise their labour and trade union rights on an equal basis with others; 

(d) Enable persons with disabilities to have effective access to general technical and vocational guidance programmes, placement services and vocational and continuing training; 

(e) Promote employment opportunities and career advancement for persons with disabilities in the labour market, as well as assistance in finding, obtaining, maintaining and returning to employment; 

(f) Promote opportunities for self-employment, entrepreneurship, the development of cooperatives and starting one’s own business; 

(g) Employ persons with disabilities in the public sector; 

(h) Promote the employment of persons with disabilities in the private sector through appropriate policies and measures, which may include affirmative action programmes, incentives and other measures; 

(i) Ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided to persons with disabilities in the workplace; 

(j) Promote the acquisition by persons with disabilities of work experience in the open labour market; 

(k) Promote vocational and professional rehabilitation, job retention and return-to-work programs for persons with disabilities. 

2. States Parties shall ensure that persons with disabilities are not held in slavery or in servitude, and are protected, on an equal basis with others, from forced or compulsory labour. 

The complete text of the CRPD and its Articles can be accessed here: