New York: India has decided to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities with the country's External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee expected to submit the instruments of ratification for the convention on Monday.
The Convention, termed first human rights treaty of the 21st century, provides the States ratifying it to enact laws and other measures to improve disability rights, and also abolish legislation, customs and practices that discriminate against persons with disabilities.
The convention, which will protect the rights of more than 600 million disabled persons, requires countries to adopt laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of any form of disability, from blindness to mental illness.
The Convention aims at promoting, protecting and ensuring 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.
It also protects the rights that have already been granted, such as ensuring wheelchair-accessible buildings.
Upon ratification participating nations must eliminate any existing laws that discriminate against the disabled. It also makes countries largely responsible for enforcing the rights, though an optional protocol to the treaty binds states accused of violating the terms to respond to a complaint through a proceeding before a special committee.
So far, 115 countries have signed the convention, which was adopted unanimously by the General Assembly on December 13, 2006 and opened for signature on March 30, 2007.
While twenty ratifications or accessions are necessary for the treaty to come into force, so far five countriesâ€”Jamaica, Hungary, Panama, Croatia and Cubaâ€”have ratified it.
The Optional Protocol to the Convention has been signed by 64 countries. The Protocol will come into force when the Convention does, and after 10 ratifications or accessions.
Home to an estimated 70 million disabled people, India is looking at ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities thereby "reaffirming that every human being has the inherent right to life and shall take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others."