Canadians with Disabilities Celebrate the Coming into Force of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

For Immediate Release | May 12, 2008

People with disabilities and allies around the world, are celebrating their latest victory—the coming into force of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on 3 May 2008. As twenty countries have ratified the Convention, it now has the force of international law. Today, a special ceremony for the CRPD is taking place at the United Nations in New York, with participation from people with disabilities and our organizations as well as UN member states. Following the principle of "Nothing About Us Without Us", disability organizations played an integral role in the development of the Convention. Steve Estey, the Chairperson of CCD's International Development Committee and a staff person for Disabled Peoples' International (DPI) joined other colleagues from the global disability rights movement today at the UN ceremony to promote greater societal awareness of the CRPD, which provides guidance to countries on how to ensure people with disabilities experience full enjoyment of their human rights. Mr. Estey was a member of the Canadian delegation that participated in the negotiation of the CRPD.

"This is a very proud day for people with disabilities, because this international convention adopts an approach that has been advocated by people with disabilities for the last 30 years. Unlike some previous UN documents, the CRPD does not define people with disabilities as a constituency in need of medical care or social protection. The CRPD approaches people with disabilities as full citizens with rights who, as free and equal members of society, make decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent," states Marie White, Chairperson of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, Canada's chief cross-disability organization working in support of an accessible and inclusive Canada. "The Convention gives universal recognition to the dignity of persons with disabilities." The CCD is calling upon the Government of Canada to ratify the CRPD, fulfilling the commitment it made at the UN's March 2007 signing ceremony for the CRPD. In May 2008, the House of Commons unanimously passed a motion calling for ratification of the CRPD, following federal/provincial/territorial consultations—consultations where the Canadian disability community expects inclusion.


For more information, contact:

Laurie Beachell, CCD National Coordinator
Tel: 204-947-0303, Cell: 204-981-6179