UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) says that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The UNCRPD requires change, from viewing people with disabilities as receivers of charity, medical treatment, and social protection to viewing people with disabilities as

  • people with rights, who are capable of claiming those rights,
  • people who are capable of making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent and
  • people who are capable of being active members of society.


The UNCRPD identifies 26 important rights that impact the lives of persons with disabilities. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted in 2006 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York and came into force in 2008.

Our mission is to champion the rights of people with an intellectual disability in Ireland through securing the full implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

What are the rights of persons with disabilities?

  • Equality and non-discrimination – The right to enjoy equal protection and benefit of the law (article 5)
  • Women with disabilities – The right of women with disabilities to full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms (article 6)
  • Children with disabilities – Children with disabilities enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other children (article 7)
  • Awareness-raising – A commitment by the state to raising awareness, to encourage respect for the rights and dignity of the person, to combat stereotypes and to promote awareness of the capabilities and contributions of persons with disabilities (article 8)
  • Accessibility – So that people with disabilities can live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life. Accessible – Buildings – Roads – Transport – Schools – Hospitals – Workplaces – Businesses – Services – Public spaces – Information – Communication systems -Technology (article 9)
  • Right to life – “Every human being has the inherent right to life, and we shall take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.” (article 10)
  • Situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies – In times of risk, conflict, emergency or natural disaster, all necessary measures are taken to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities. (article 11)
  • Equal recognition before the law – A right to recognition as persons before the law, to enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others, to own property and to control their financial affairs, with safeguards to prevent abuse (article 12)
  • Access to justice – A right to effective access to justice for persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others with appropriate accommodations in all legal proceedings and training for those working in the field of administration of justice (article 13)
  • Liberty and security of the person – The right to liberty and security on an equal basis with others – “The existence of a disability shall not justify a deprivation of liberty.” (article 14)
  • Freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment – No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This is a right for persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others. (article 15)
  • Freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse – Persons with disabilities, both within and outside the home, shall be protected from all forms of exploitation, violence and abuse. Protection includes providing information and education on how to avoid, recognize and report instances of exploitation, violence and abuse. All services to persons with disabilities are effectively monitored by independent authorities. (article 16)
  • Protecting the integrity of the person – A right to respect for his or her physical and mental integrity on an equal basis with others (article 17)
  • Liberty of movement and nationality – The right to liberty of movement, to freedom to choose their residence and to a nationality, on an equal basis with others (article 18)
  • Living independently and being included in the community – The right to live in the community, be included and participate in the community, the opportunity to choose their place of residence and where and with whom they live, with support and responsive community services (article 19)
  • Personal mobility – Ensuring personal mobility with the greatest possible independence for persons with disabilities, in the manner and at the time of their choice and at affordable cost (article 20)
  • Freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information – The right to freedom of expression and opinion, including the freedom to look for, receive and pass on information and ideas. (article 21)
  • Respect for privacy – The right to the protection of the law against arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, or communication or to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation. (article 22)
  • Respect for home and the family – On an equal basis with others, the right to marry and found a family, decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and access to reproductive and family planning education and to retain their fertility
    Respect for home and family also includes the right to services and support to prevent concealment, abandonment, neglect, and segregation of children with disabilities. A child shall not be separated from parents on the basis of a disability of either the child or one or both of the parents. (article 23)
  • Education – The right of persons with disabilities to education without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity and the right to an inclusive education system at all levels, in the communities in which they live, and lifelong learning (article 24)
  • Health – We recognize that persons with disabilities have the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health without discrimination on the basis of disability. We shall:
    Provide the same range, quality, and standard of free or affordable health care and programmes as provided to other persons
    Provide those health services needed by persons with disabilities specifically because of their disabilities, including early identification and intervention and services designed to minimize and prevent further disabilities, all as close as possible to people’s own communities
    Provide care of the same quality to persons with disabilities as to others, including on the basis of free and informed consent.
    Prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities in the provision of health insurance, and life insurance and prevent discriminatory denial of health care or health services or food and fluids on the basis of disability.(article 25)
  • Habilitation and rehabilitation – The right to attain and maintain maximum independence, full physical, mental, social and vocational ability, and full inclusion and participation in all aspects of life through comprehensive habilitation and rehabilitation services and programmes, particularly in the areas of health, employment, education and social services. (article 26)
  • Work and employment – Recognition of the right of persons with disabilities to work, on an equal basis with others; this includes the right to the opportunity to gain a living by work freely chosen or accepted in a labour market and a work environment that is open, inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities. We shall:
    Have effective access to general technical and vocational guidance programmes, placement services, vocational and continuing training.
    Ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided to persons with disabilities in the workplace
    Ensure that persons with disabilities are not held in slavery or in servitude, and are protected, on an equal basis with others, from forced or compulsory labour (article 27)
  • Adequate standard of living and social protection – the right to an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families, including adequate food, clothing, and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions The right to social protection without discrimination on the basis of disability
    Equal access to clean water services, appropriate and affordable services, devices and other assistance for disability-related needs, social protection programmes and poverty reduction programmes, public housing programmes and retirement benefits and programmes
    For persons with disabilities and their families living in situations of poverty we must ensure access to assistance from the State with disability-related expenses, adequate training, counselling, financial assistance, and respite care. (article 28)
  • Participation in political and public life – A guarantee of political rights and the opportunity to enjoy on an equal basis with others. This includes the right and opportunity for persons with disabilities to vote and be elected and the right to participate in non-governmental organizations and associations and political parties. (article 29)
  • Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport – The right of persons with disabilities to take part on an equal basis with others in cultural life including access to cultural materials (TV, theatre etc.), participation to the fullest extent possible in mainstream sporting activities at all levels and an opportunity to organize, develop and participate in disability-specific sporting and recreational activities. (article 30)
  • More Information – Inclusion Ireland UNCRPD Leaflet

For the full UNCRPD and more information visit the UNCRPD webpage