The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

No clue what I’m talking about? For a review of what these documents are and how connect to one another, go up one page.

The treaty

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007.

Full text | PDF version | Child-friendly version (draft)

Articles particularly relevant to child welfare include:

  • Article 7: Children with disabilities shall always have their best interests at the heart of all actions concerning them; they have a right to participate in decision-making regarding their lives.
  • Article 8: All states which sign this treaty must undertake efforts to reduce stigma of persons with disabilities.
  • Article 18: Children with disabilities must be registered immediately after birth and have a right to their name, nationality, and “the right to know and be cared for by their parents.”
  • Article 19: Persons with disabilities have the right to live independently and be included in the community.
  • Article 23: Persons with disabilities have the right to found a family. In regards to the children of persons with disabilities, the best interests of the child are paramount; states must assist persons with disabilities with their child-rearing responsibilities. States must also ensure that children with disabilities have equal rights with respect to family life. In no case shall a child be separated from parents on the basis of a disability of either the child or one or both of the parents. If a family is unable to care for a child with disabilities, the state must provide alternative care.
  • Article 24: Children with disabilities have a right to inclusive education.

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the body that monitors the implementation of the treaty.

General comments

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has written five general comments on the treaty.

General comment no. 1, on equal recognition before the law, notes that there is a pervasive problem of persons with disabilities being institutionalized against their will, and of the directors of such institutions seizing these individuals’ legal rights (paragraphs 40, 46).

General comment no. 3, on the rights of women and girls with disabilities, notes that women and girls who are confined to institutions are at risk for abuse and exploitation and face barriers to healthcare services. See paragraphs 43-46, 53, and 56.

General comment no. 4, on the right to inclusive education, mentions in several places that institutionalization is inherently incompatible with inclusive education. See paragraphs 50, 64, and 66.

General comment no. 5, on the right to independent living, is especially relevant to children who are orphaned or living in institutions and have disabilities. Though the general comment has not been published, you can read comments from various NGOs, including Lumos.

State parties reports & concluding observations

The Better Care Network takes the state parties reports and concluding observations from the CRC and CRPD and extracts the portions related to alternative care, publishing them as what they call “Country Care Reviews” on their website. These Country Care Reviews include the original text of the documents from which they come.

You can always find the original documents on the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) website. Start with the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities page–then on the left-hand side navigation bar, you can find links to all of the states parties reports and all of the concluding observations.