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European Union: Ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

(Jan. 20, 2011) The European Union recently announced its ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (adopted on Dec. 13, 2006), United Nations website, http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtml; Press Release, IP/11/4, RAPID, EU Ratifies UN Convention on Disability Rights (Jan. 5, 2011), (http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/11/4&form
at=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en
)).

It is the first comprehensive treaty on human rights to be ratified by the EU. As stated in its article 1, the Convention's purpose is “to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.” The Convention has been signed by all 27 EU Member States and ratified by 16 of them. According to a press release on the ratification, there are approximately 80 million people with disabilities in the EU (Press Release, supra).