[JURIST] The UN disability rights treaty [JURIST news archive] will take effect on May 3, 30 days after the 20th country ratified the treaty. Ecuador became the 20th signatory [press release; ratification list] of the pact Thursday after it opened for signature [JURIST report] last March. The treaty protects the 650 million persons living with disabilities worldwide [UN fact sheet] and is expected to be signed by more than 70 countries, albeit not the US [JURIST report], which insists that US domestic measures on the federal, state and local levels are already adequate for the purpose. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities [official website; text] holds that all disabled people should be treated as full-fledged citizens and completely integrated into society. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon applauded the treaty's ratification [statement text], saying the signatories are committed to combating the "dehumanizing practices" against people with disabilities.
The treaty also includes an Optional Protocol [Protocol text], which is expected to be signed by 40 countries; 13 have ratified it so far. The Protocol grants individuals the right to petition a committee of experts for violations of the Convention after all national procedures have been exhausted. Reuters has more. The UN News Centre has additional coverage.