Rights of Persons with Disabilities
"The purpose of the present 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." From the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The Convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 13 December 2006 and opened for signature on 30 March 2007. It was signed at that time by 82 countries, including Sweden. Since then, numerous other countries have signed the Convention. The purpose of the Convention is to reinforce the protection of human rights ascribed to people with disabilities in existing conventions. It focuses on non-discrimination and lists necessary measures to enable people with disabilities to exercise their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
The Convention serves as a continuation of the UN’s work to establish international rules concerning the right of persons with disabilities to participation and equal opportunities. The new Convention is one of the key human rights conventions but does not, in itself, create any new rights since persons with disabilities naturally enjoy human rights under the other conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Instead, the new Convention aims to eliminate obstacles that prevent people with disabilities from enjoying their human rights.
The optional protocol means that a state can opt to endorse that individuals or groups of individuals have the possibility to lodge a complaint with a monitoring committee if they feel their rights have been violated. Sweden has ratified both the Convention and the optional protocol.
Convention in effect since 2009 for Sweden
Sweden took a very active role in UN efforts to negotiate the terms of the Convention and, subsequent to the approval of the Riksdag, the Government decided on 4 December 2008 that Sweden would accede to the Convention. Sweden also adopted the optional protocol concerning individual complaints. The Convention entered into force in Sweden on 14 January 2009.
In 2011 Sweden submitted its first report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The Committee considered the initial report of Sweden at its 123rd and 124th meetings, held on 31 March and 1 April 2014, respectively. The Committee adopted concluding observations at its 140th meeting, held on 11 April 2014. The concluding observations is presently considered within the Governments Offices.
Prior to ratification of the Convention, the question of how well Swedish legislation corresponds to the Convention was tested in conjunction with drafting the bill Human rights for people with disabilities (2008/08:29). The Government was able to note/noted (in the bill) that accession to the Convention and the optional protocol do not give cause for any amendments to current legislation.
Read Government Bill 2008/08:29, Human rights for people with disabilities (in Swedish only)
The Delegation for Human Rights in Sweden has investigated whether the Swedish Agency for Disability Policy Coordination, the Office of the Equality Ombudsman or another public body should serve as national monitoring body for the Convention. The matter is currently being processed by the Government Offices.
Read the report Promote, Protect, Monitor – UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (SOU 2009:36). (In Swedish only)