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U.N. Adopts the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Calling on Governments World Wide to Ban Discriminatory Customs and Practices


For Further Information:
Nerina Cerva
Social Empowerment Associate
Direct: 202-250-3945

Washington, DC, December 13, 2006 – The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has been adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. After nearly five years of negotiations, Landmine Survivors Network (LSN), along with governments and disability organizations from around the world. This is the first major U.N. human rights treaty of this century. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan hailed the agreement on the Convention “as a historic achievement for the 650 million people with disabilities around the world.”

Together with the Convention, the General Assembly has adopted an optional protocol which will allow individuals to complaint to the international monitoring body, as well as allowing the monitoring body to undertake in country inquiries.

LSN along with other members of the International Disability Caucus (IDC) has been instrumental in lobbying for the inclusion of this article to ensure that the Convention is held at the same esteem as other human rights treaties. “This is possibly the most comprehensive human rights treaty ever negotiated, and in record time,” said Jerry White, LSN co-founder and executive director.

White continued, “The IDC representation bodes well for increased collaboration between civil society and governments in future international processes – including the treaty implementation.”

The Convention will be open for signature on March 30, 2007. LSN will continue its work on the Convention by committing to a global push to secure at least 20 country ratifications to ensure that the treaty becomes international law, by 2008.

Five years of work culminated in round-the-clock negotiations in New York City on August 25, 2006 where more than 100 countries voted to adopt the draft text. LSN played a leadership role in this process as a co-founder of the International Disability Caucus—a coalition of more than 90 disability groups and allies who helped draft the text and build momentum and political will in support of this Convention.

It is estimated that persons with disabilities make up 10 percent of the world’s population, about 650 million people. Proponents of the convention maintained that the treaty was necessary because persons with disabilities represented one of the most marginalized groups, and that their human rights had been routinely ignored or denied throughout much of the world. While the Convention does not create new rights, it specifically prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in all areas of life, including civil rights, access to justice, and education, health services, and transportation.

This new international standard is expected to improve the lives of millions of people, including survivors, particularly in the mine-affected communities where LSN works.

For more information on the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Landmine Survivors Network, visit

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About Landmine Survivors Network
Landmine Survivors Network is the only international organization of survivors dedicated to helping mine victims recover from trauma, reintegrate into their communities, and advocate for their human rights. LSN builds peer relationships among survivors to promote health, eradicate poverty, ensure rights and foster civil society in ways that transform conflict and ensure human security. LSN’s programs have reached people in 47 of the world’s most mine-effected countries, offering skills needed to promote and protect the rights of people with disabilities.

Posted: Thursday, December 14, 2006

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