Rights of people with disabilities

Graphic: Shot of boy in a wheelchair in a hospital


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Hundreds of millions of people in the Asia Pacific region have a disability. Many live in poverty and suffer prejudice, discrimination and exclusion.

People with disabilities are routinely denied opportunities for work and education and face barriers in accessing places and services others in the community take for granted. Too often, they are victims of violence, sexual abuse, forced sterilisation and institutionalisation.

In 2008, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities came into force. It sets out 50 articles that aim to counter discrimination and transform the lives of people with disabilities.

The challenge is to make the rights set out in the Convention a reality in the day-to-day lives of people with disabilities.


Graphic: Photo of boy with disability and girl on sailing boat

National institutions need to respect the principle that people with disabilities brought to the drafting of the Convention; nothing about us, without us.

Rosemary Kayess
, President, Disability Studies and Research Institute

Across the Asia Pacific, national human rights institutions (NHRIs) work closely with disabled peoples' organisations, government, employers and other groups to build understanding of disability issues and to address the structural barriers that lie at the heart of discrimination.

A number of NHRIs – including Australia, the Maldives, New Zealand and Palestine - have run national inquiries to improve access for people with disabilities to work, study and public transport.

NHRIs also have an important role – set out in article 33 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – to promote, protect and monitor the rights of people with disabilities. They do this in partnership with disabled peoples' organisations

Promoting and protecting the rights of people with disabilities is a priority issue for the APF. We played a positive and constructive role when the Convention was being drafted.

We will shortly publish a manual for NHRIs on promoting and protecting the rights of people with disabilities, which will be used in a blended learning training course for staff of APF members.


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More resources

Image credits

  1. Shot of boy in a wheelchair in a hospital - engelsmannen, Flickr; http://bit.ly/1MMClfp
  2. Photo of boy with disability and girl on sailing boat - Sailors with disABILITIES, Flickr; http://bit.ly/1KPiYju