What is the UN Disability Rights Convention?

The ‘Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ was adopted by the UN General Assembly in New York in 2006, coming into force in 2008. It is an international treaty between 175 states.

The convention marks a crucial break with existing Human Rights conventions in that people with disabilities are no longer seen as ‘objects’ of disease, charity or medical treatment but as human beings equal to all others.

States that have signed the treaty – such as Austria – have committed themselves to promote, protect and guarantee the rights of people with disabilities.

Five main principles

A lot has happened in the last 10 years, but there is still a long way to go on our path to create a world free of discrimination for people with disabilities. To implement the convention into everyday life, five main principles serve as guides:


Respecting the inherent dignity of people with disabilities means no humiliation or violence.


To eliminate discrimination, we need to work against stereotypes, marginalisation and exclusion.


Autonomy means freedom of choice and the possibility to take responsibility for one’s own actions.

Respect for difference and acceptance of diversity

Respecting the diversity of people with disabilities requires that we leave behind any deficit-oriented approach. Diversity is a basic principle of life and reflects the fact that every person is competent.


Full and effective participation in society for all people.

These demands might seem obvious and contain expressions that we hear often, yet they are easily overlooked and ignored in everyday life. This is why it is important to explore their fundamental value for the everyday lives of people. To comprehend and understand them, so we can then consciously implement them. Be it politicians, companies or individuals – everyone can contribute to a better world!

UN Disability Rights Convention

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