What UN instruments are influencing the disability context?
The United Nations (UN) ‘Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ (UNCRPD or ‘the Convention’) and its Optional Protocol was adopted by the UN in 2006. Australia's ratification of the UNCRPD in 2008 reflects the Australian Government's commitment to take action and support a coordinated plan across all levels of government to improve the lives of people with disability, their families and carers.
The UNCRPD is a human rights instrument and seeks to reaffirm that all people with disability must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Convention challenges historical paradigms that viewed people with disability as ‘objects’ of charity, medical treatment and social protection and in contrast positions people with disability as ‘subjects’ with human rights equal to all others. The Convention makes explicit that adaptations must be made where this is necessary to enable people to exercise their rights; where rights have been violated; and where rights must be reinforced.
The UNCRPD Principles include:
- Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons;
- Full and effective participation and inclusion in society;
- Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity;
- Equality of opportunity;
- Equality between men and women;
- Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities.