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Ecuador becomes the 20th State Party to ratify UN Disability Rights Convention

NEW YORK, 4 April 2008 - UNICEF today welcomes Ecuador’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and Optional Protocol. As the 20th country to ratify the convention, Ecuador has triggered the Convention’s entry into force as a legally binding international treaty within the next 30 days.

The ratification by all State Parties reflects the unified commitment towards ensuring equal rights and opportunities for all persons with disabilities, including children.

Children with disabilities are among the most stigmatized and excluded of all the world’s children. Misunderstanding and fear of children with disabilities often results in their marginalization within their family, community, at school, and in the wider society.

The discrimination they suffer leads to poor health, affects their self-esteem, limits their access to education and puts them at higher risk for violence, abuse and neglect.

UNICEF is committed to promoting the rights of children with disabilities encouraging their active participation in discussions that affect them as well as further strengthening national legislation and its implementation within all facets of society.

The convention was adopted by the General Assembly in December 2006 along with its Optional Protocol with an aim to protect the rights of at least 650 million persons with disabilities worldwide, of whom approximately 80 percent live in less-developed countries.

To date, 126 countries have signed the Convention, 71 have signed the Optional Protocol, 20 states have ratified the treaty and 13 states have ratified the Protocol.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:

Geoffrey Keele 212-326-7583; email gkeele@unicef.org
Saira Khan 212-326-7224; email sskhan@unicef.org




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