LAST WEEK Australia became one of 29 countries to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The ratification, which took place in New York, follows a recent decision by the government to speed up its ratification processes. It will allow Australia to participate in the inaugural election of the Committee of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities — the body which will oversee the implementation of the convention.
The convention was opened for signature in March 2007, when it received 82 signatories and one ratification — the largest number of signatories of any UN convention on its opening day.
It officially came into force in April this year, receiving its twentieth ratification. At the official entry into force of the convention, the UN Special Rapporteur on Disability, Hissa Al Thani, described the convention — which was negotiated and drafted by persons with disabilities and the organisations representing them — as a “milestone in the history of human rights worldwide”.
According the United Nations, the convention marks a paradigm shift in attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities by moving away from treating people with disabilities as “objects” to treating them as “subjects” with rights who are capable of claiming those rights.