Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD): An Overview

Posted by:gulf onJune 27, 2017

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) provides a benchmark and model to improve the human rights of people with disabilities globally. It is used by the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) in particular in their advocacy and training as they promote human rights and sign language around the world. The international treaty recognizes sign language and deaf culture as part of the society. It is described to be one of the fastest ratified international treaties.

The CRPD articles focus on the following:

  • Key rationales of the CRPD and the rights of persons with disabilities as well as the steps the governments should take to protect those rights
  • How governments and the civil society should collaborate to ensure all persons with disabilities have access to all their rights

WFD’s participation has led to the development of five CRPD articles that directly relate to deaf persons:

  1. Article 2 – Definition
  2. Article 9 – Accessibility
  3. Article 21 – Freedom of expression, opinion, & access to information
  4. Article 24 – Education and;
  5. Article 30 – Participation in cultural life, recreation leisure, and sport

In 2016, the United Nations celebrated the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the CRPD. Below are some of the highlights in relation to the CRPD for the past decade:

  • Adoption of the CRPD and the Optional Protocol in December 2006
  • Establishment and growth of the Conference of States Parties as an international mechanism to the CRPD
  • Creation of a committee in October 2008 to review reports on the CRPD implementation
  • 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development formulation


Just in March 2017, the UN Convention on the CRPD has been ratified or acceded to by 172 states, including the European Union. Suriname and Fiji are the two new participants that received formal confirmation in 2017.

The United States has yet to ratify the CRPD pending all barriers. However, the National Association of the Deaf is working together with the US International Council on Disabilities and other organizations to advance the ratification, for the eventual provision of access to education, medical care, and legal aid to the deaf people.



By Dez Duran-Lamanilao

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