Press Release

UNFPA Welcomes Adoption of Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

15 December 2006

UNITED NATIONS, New York — UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, today welcomed the adoption by the world community of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - the first global human rights treaty to elaborate the rights of disabled persons and to specifically mention the right to sexual and reproductive health. The Convention was adopted by consensus by the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.

“This is an important step forward for the promotion and protection of human rights of persons with disabilities,” said UNFPA Executive Director, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid. The world’s 650 million disabled persons have suffered discrimination and neglect and this treaty paves the way for corrective action so that they can attain equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The international goal to achieve universal access to reproductive health by 2015 cannot be achieved unless persons with disabilities are brought into the mainstream and included in policies and programmes to improve sexual and reproductive health.

Historically, disabled persons have been marginalized, stigmatized and deprived of opportunities and freedoms. They have endured forced sterilization and forced abortion. Studies show that persons with disabilities are up to three times more likely to be victims of physical and sexual abuse, and are at increased risk of HIV/AIDS.

According to Article 25 of the landmark Convention, States Parties should, “Provide persons with disabilities with the same range, quality and standard of free or affordable health care and programmes as provided to other persons, including in the area of sexual and reproductive health and population-based public health programmes.”

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the first major human rights treaty of the 21st century. Following its ratification, countries introduce laws, policies and programmes ensuring that disabled people are treated according to its provisions.


UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.

Contact Information: 

Katja Iversen
Tel.: 1-212-297-5016

Abubakar Dungus
Tel.: +1 (212) 297-5031

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