PROTECTION OF THE ESCR OF DISABLED PEOPLE

REQUESTS the IEC to conduct a study into the economic, social and cultural rights of disabled people and to present its report at the next ICM.

Among others, the study should address the following points:

    • The integration of disabled people into society, including access to education and the labour market;
    • The status of disabled women and children;
    • Offences against the dignity of disabled people;
    • Measures to ensure recognition and protection of the economic, social and cultural rights of disabled persons.

Explanatory note

Disabled persons are to be understood as people who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others [1].

The fact that Amnesty International has not taken a position on the rights of disabled persons means that activists are unable to take action on the subject. Amnesty International should document the seriousness of violations of the rights of disabled persons, especially with regard to economic, social and cultural rights, and the discrimination they face.

In 2001, Amnesty International decided to work for economic, social and cultural rights. Given that Amnesty has long recognized that human rights are universal, these rights should also apply to disabled persons.

The public are often unaware of the situation of disabled people at both local and international level. However, statistics given by the UN are clear: disabled persons are more likely to suffer discrimination and violence, they have a lower than average standard of living, the percentage of them in full-time education is low, the unemployment rate is high, etc[2]. In addition, disabled people are often portrayed as victims, thus helping to reinforce the many existing stereotypes. Nevertheless, disabled people are, more than ever before, in a position in which they can and want to go forward and participate in the social, economic and cultural life of society. Amnesty International can play an important role in this regard in breaking down prejudices and in so doing enable disabled people to place an active role in society.

Amnesty International openly supported the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 13 December 2006[3]. The movement has thus recognized that there is discrimination towards disabled people and must now move from words to action in respect of economic, social and cultural rights.


[1] Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, article 1, second paragraph.

[2] UN “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – Factsheet on Persons with Disabilities” [on line]. http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?navid=34&pid=18 (page consulted 21 March 2008)

[3] Index AI : IOR 41/031/2006 (Public), 13 December 2006

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