There are no human rights to which persons with disabilities do not lay claim. Upon this foundational principle at our last World Assembly in Sapporo, Disabled Peoples’ International called upon Member States of the United Nations to adopt of a specific international human rights treaty on the rights of persons with disabilities.
Today, five years later, as a result of unprecedented collaboration by UN Member States, the international disability community, our global leaders and our allies, we have achieved this and much more. On December 13, 2006, the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol. Negotiated in record time, with record participation, and signed on its opening day by a record number of countries, the Convention reflects our language and vision of disability rights. The Convention is not just about persons with disabilities, it is by us and for us and all of humanity. In other words, our rights, our convention, but for all.
Now, celebrating our achievements as we also celebrate DPI’s quarter century of engagement in the struggle for human rights for all disabled people, the time has come to prepare ourselves and our allies for the future and our participation in ratification and implementation of this historic new treaty. We the 2700 people of DPI gathered here in Seoul for our 7th World Assembly, declare that the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as a core international human rights treaty, shall be the foundation for all laws, policies and practices addressing the rights of persons with disabilities. Therefore we call on:
Ø All Governments, including the Republic of Korea, to move swiftly and with conviction to sign and ratify the Convention, so that it may enter into force by December 13th, 2007.
Ø All States Parties to vigorously uphold their treaty obligations, working with us to breathe life into the words of the Convention, so that its vision may be reflected in the everyday lives of all people with disabilities.
Ø All international human rights bodies and mechanisms to engage people with disabilities, so that the standards set by the Convention are fully reflected in their work.
Ø All UN agencies to actively include disability and people with disabilities in their programming, so that the international cooperation they promote furthers the objectives of the Convention.
Ø All National Human Rights Institutions to promote awareness, knowledge of and compliance with the Convention, so that national-level implementation may become a reality.
Ø All Development Agencies to fully utilize the Convention as a tool in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, so that all people with disabilities may benefit equally from full and sustainable development.
Ø All members of Civil Society to commit to Convention ratification and implementation, so that we may work in partnership to achieve our common goal of a just and equal society for all.
Ø All our sisters and brothers in the struggle for disability liberation to make Convention ratification and implementation a priority in their work, so that together we may finally realize the human rights to which we have always laid claim.
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