UN General Assembly approves landmark disability rights treaty

[JURIST] The UN General Assembly Wednesday adopted by acclamation a new international treaty on the rights of persons with disabilities [official website; BBC summary] hailed [press statement] by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as "the first human rights treaty to be adopted in the twenty-first century; the most rapidly negotiated human rights treaty in the history of international law; and the first to emerge from lobbying conducted extensively through the Internet." The draft of the treaty was approved [JURIST report] in August by a special UN ad hoc committee in August after running a gauntlet of over 150 proposed amendments [texts] and disagreements about the scope of enshrined sexual and reproductive freedoms for disabled persons. The new treaty, which will be opened for signatures in March, is expected to take effect in 2008 or 2009 after the necessary minimal number of 20 ratifications has been reached. BBC News has more.

Only 45 countries in the world currently have disability legislation, including the United States, which adopted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) official website] in 1990. The US has indicated, however, that it will not sign [New Standard report] the new international accord, insisting that US domestic measures on the federal, state and local levels are already adequate for the purpose. Critics say the US position is a slight to the principle of international regulation and monitoring.

 

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