Great news! Last night, the Dáil approved ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, UN CRPD. The Government will give special documentation to the United Nations in March. 30 days later, the UN CRPD will become law in Ireland.
We wish to acknowledge and thank all our members and supporters who campaigned for the ratification for the last eleven years. However, while this is a historic occasion, it is important to note that there are many reforms needed before equality for people with disabilities becomes a reality.
We here at Down Syndrome Ireland will continue to work to promote and protect the human rights of people with disabilities.
There was unanimous support for the motion to ratify.
While introducing the motion, Minister Finian McGrath said: “The purpose of the Convention is to promote, protect and ensure 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. I also thank and commend all disability groups, their families and carers for their magnificent support and encouragement to me over the last 12 months.”
Many important points were raised by TDs from all parties during the debate including the need for implementing the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 and enacting outstanding legislation such as the Disability/Equality (miscellaneous provisions) Bill, concern over proposed reservations, the need for increased funding and resources and the importance of people with disabilities being part of the monitoring process.
The transcript of the full debate is available here.
The CRPD will be monitored by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC).
Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated: “The UN Convention ratification represents a step-change in approach to one based on independence, dignity and self-advocacy for persons with disabilities.’’
“The Convention is, in its own way remarkably simple. It does not reinvent the wheel. It does not draw up or confer any new human rights. What it does is mark out in clear, unambiguous terms that the rights of persons with disabilities are human rights. It makes plain that our body of international human rights norms applies equally to persons with disabilities.”
Pictured is DSI member and National Advisory Council Chairperson Cian O’Connor who joined other disability campaigners at Leinster House last March to appeal to their public representatives to prioritise this international agreement. Cian is pictured alongside his Mum Siobhan.