UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
In January 2011 the European Union (EU) ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). It is the first time that the EU becomes a party to an international human rights treaty. The Convention is the first internationally legally binding instrument defining minimum standards for the protection of a full range of civil, political, social economic and cultural rights of persons with disabilities. For the EU, this means ensuring that all legislation, policies and programmes at EU level comply with the Convention's provisions on disability rights, within the limits of EU responsibilities.
Development cooperation is an area of shared competence between the EU and its Member States. By ratifying the Convention, the EU commits to "recognize the importance of international cooperation (…) in support of national efforts for the realization of the purpose and objectives" of the Convention, and to undertake "appropriate and effective measures in this regards, between and among States and, as appropriate, in partnership with relevant international and regional organizations and civil society, in particular organizations of persons with disabilities”. Such measures include: “ensuring that international cooperation, including international development programmes, is inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities" (Article 32).