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UNICEF welcomes the ratification of the UN Disabilities Convention

The children’s agency launches “It’s About Ability” a publication for children on the Convention

NEW YORK, 12 May 2008 - The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol, which came into force on 3 May 2008, is the first human right treaty of the 21st century. The Convention aims to promote, protect and ensure the equal rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons with disabilities, including millions of children, worldwide.

The Convention pays special attention to the particular vulnerabilities faced by children with disabilities, including the right to participation, protection from violence, access to information and play. It calls upon governments to provide support and services to families of children with disabilities to reduce the likelihood of abandonment, segregation and concealment.

“The inclusion of children with disabilities is not a charitable act but a matter of rights. Empowering and enabling children makes them less vulnerable to violence, abuse and exploitation,” said UNICEF Director or Programs, Nicholas Alipui.

UNICEF’s work to ensure that children with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as all other children focuses on changing existing negative attitudes and prejudice in society as well as improving the structures and accessibility of health, welfare and education systems.

UNICEF and the Victor Pineda Foundation, with the active participation and input from children with disabilities, developed a child-friendly text for the Convention. The document, launched today at the United Nations, aims to educate, empower and motivate all children, but particularly those with disabilities, to claim their rights and to actively participate in challenging discrimination as well as promoting the Convention.

The Disabilities Convention was adopted by the General Assembly on 13 December 2006, and was opened for signature and ratification on 30 March 2007. So far, 128 countries have signed and 25 countries have ratified the Convention.

Countries that have ratified the Convention are obligated to enact domestic laws and policies that are in line with the Convention, while at the same time working to overcome customs and practices that discriminate against persons with disabilities.


For further information, please contact:

Geoffrey Keele, UNICEF NY, + 212-326 - 7583;

Indra Nadchatram, UNICEF KL, +(6) 013 366 3452,



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