Disability Rights


Photo: Ibrahim Mohana, UNDP oPT

According to the World Report on Disability, it is estimated that more than a billion people, or about 15 percent of the world’s population, live with some form of disability. Evidence shows that compared to non-disabled people, persons with disabilities experience less legal protection, higher rates of poverty, lower educational achievements, poorer health outcomes and less political and cultural participation, amongst other things. Disability has been found to affect vulnerable populations in a disproportionate way, with a higher disability prevalence observed in lower income countries, people from the poorest wealth quintile, women, children and older people.

Acknowledging the widespread discrimination, exclusion and marginalization that persons with disabilities face globally, in 2006, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The CRPD—which embodies a paradigm shift towards a human rights-based approach to disability—is very comprehensive in scope, covering at the same time civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. As such, it represents a remarkably innovative human rights treaty and a development instrument with great potential to generate break-throughs for persons with disabilities. At the present, however, few countries have the level of capacity needed to ensure its full implementation.

The UN Partnership to Promote the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) is a unique collaborative effort that brings together UN entities, governments, Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) and the broader civil society to advance disability rights around the world. In particular, the UNPRPD supports coalition-building and capacity-development at country level to facilitate the full implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). In doing so, it contributes to the realization of a “society for all” in the 21st century.

The UN entities participating in the UNPRPD are the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The UNDP Poverty Group serves as the Technical Secretariat for the Partnership.