Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
New York, 13 December 2006
  • Introductory Note
  • Procedural History
  • Documents
  • Status
  • Photo
F o r t h c o m i n g
Introductory note by Don MacKay

30 March 2007. Signing Ceremony, General Assembly Hall, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Mr. Lenin Moreno, Vice-president of Ecuador, speaking at the Signing Ceremony. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was drafted by an Ad Hoc Committee, established by the General Assembly by its resolution 56/168 of 19 December 2001, which was mandated to consider proposals for a comprehensive and integral international convention to promote and protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities, based on the holistic approach in the work done in the fields of social development, human rights and non-discrimination. The Convention, and its Optional Protocol, was adopted by the General Assembly by its resolution 61/106 of 13 December 2006. The Convention entered into force on 3 May 2008, on the thirtieth day after the date of the deposit of its twentieth instrument of ratification or accession, in accordance with its article 45, paragraph 1.

By the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, States Parties undertake to ensure and promote the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities without discrimination of any kind on the basis of disability. The Convention outlines specific steps to be taken by States Parties, including the implementation of laws and administrative measures, to ensure the enjoyment of these rights and to promote awareness of the capabilities and contributions of persons with disabilities.

The Optional Protocol to the Convention, which recognizes the competence of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to receive and consider communications from or on behalf of individuals or groups of individuals subject to its jurisdiction who claim to be victims of a violation by that State Party of the provisions of the Convention, also entered into force on 3 May 2008.


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The issue of the rights of persons with disabilities had been on the agenda of various organs of the United Nations for many years before steps were taken to draft a binding instrument.

30 March 2007. Signing Ceremony, General Assembly Hall, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Mr. Jan Deboute, Directeur f.f. des Affaires multilatérales et de la Mondialisation of Belgium, signing the Convention.An early effort to codify the rights of persons with specific disabilities led the General Assembly to adopt a Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons by resolution 2856 (XVI) of 20 December 1971. Four years later, the Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons followed, which provided a definition for the term “disabled person” and formulated a corresponding set of rights (General Assembly resolution 3447 (XXX) of 9 December 1975). The General Assembly, by adoption of resolution 31/82 of 13 December 1976, entitled “Implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons”, recommended, inter alia, that all Member States should take account of the rights and principles laid down in the Declaration in establishing their policies, plans and programmes. During the same session, the General Assembly proclaimed 1981 the “International Year for Disabled Persons”, with the theme “full participation” (General Assembly resolution 31/123 of 16 December 1976; by resolution 34/154 of 17 December 1979, the General Assembly expanded the theme to “full participation and equality” and changed the name to the “International Year of Disabled Persons”).

By resolution 32/133 of 16 December 1977, the General Assembly established an Advisory Committee for the Year of Disabled Persons. On the basis of the work of the Advisory Committee, the General Assembly adopted the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons by resolution 37/52 of 3 December 1982. On the same day, the General Assembly proclaimed the period 1983-1992 United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons (resolution 37/53 of 3 December 1982). Ten years later, the General Assembly would proclaim 3 December as the International Day of Disabled Persons (resolution 47/3 of 14 October 1992).

With the conclusion of the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons approaching, the Economic and Social Council, on 24 May 1990, authorized the Commission of Social Development to consider the establishment of an ad hoc open-ended working group of government experts to elaborate standard rules on the equalization of opportunities for disabled children, youth and adults (Economic and Social Council resolution 1990/26). The resulting Standard Rules on Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the General Assembly on 20 December 1993 (resolution 48/96).

While recalling the Standard Rules, the Commission on Human Rights, on 25 April 2000, invited the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to examine measures to strengthen the protection and monitoring of human rights of persons with disabilities by its resolution 2000/51.

The World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, held in Durban, South Africa, from 31 August to 8 September 2001, recommended that the General Assembly consider elaborating an integral and comprehensive international convention to protect and promote the rights and dignity of disabled persons, including, especially, provisions that would address the discriminatory practices and treatment affecting them (A/CONF.189/12, Chap I, para 180).

Uniting all these strands, on 19 December 2001, under agenda item 119 (b), entitled “Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms”, the General Assembly established an Ad Hoc Committee to consider proposals for a comprehensive and integral international convention on the protection and promotion of the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities, based on the holistic approach of the work done in the fields of social development, human rights and non-discrimination, and taking into account the recommendations of the Commission on Human Rights and the Commission for Social Development, and the recommendation of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (resolution 56/168). The General Assembly renewed the mandate of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities four times from 2002 to 2005 (resolutions 57/229 of 18 December 2002, 58/246 of 23 December 2003, 59/198 of 20 December 2004, and 60/232 of 23 December 2005).

During its first session, held from 29 July to 9 August 2002, the Ad Hoc Committee set out procedures for the participation of representatives from non-governmental organizations and recommended a draft resolution to the General Assembly (A/57/357). At its second session, held from 16 to 27 June 2003, the Ad Hoc Committee decided to establish a working group with the aim of preparing and presenting a draft text, which would be the basis for negotiation by Member States and observers (A/58/118 and Corr.1).

The Working Group of the Ad Hoc Committee, which consisted of twenty-seven governmental representatives designated by regional groups, twelve representatives from non-governmental organizations and one representative of national human rights institutions, met from 5 to 16 January 2004. It produced a draft comprehensive and integral international convention on the protection and promotion of the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities, which it annexed to its report to the Ad Hoc Committee (A/AC.265/2004/WG/1).

At its third session, held from 24 May to 4 June 2004, the Ad Hoc Committee began negotiating a draft convention, on the basis of the draft text prepared by the Working Group, and commenced a first reading of the draft text (A/AC.265/2004/5, Corr.1 and Corr.2). At its fourth session, which was held from 23 August to 3 September 2004, the Ad Hoc Committee completed the first reading of the draft text and conducted a review of specific draft articles (Report of the fourth session of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, A/59/360). During its fifth session, which took place from 24 January to 4 February 2005, the Ad Hoc Committee continued its informal discussions on specific draft articles and proposed additional articles (Report of the fifth session of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, A/AC.265/2005/2). The Ad Hoc Committee continued its informal discussions during its sixth and seventh sessions, from 1 to 12 August 2005 and from 16 January to 3 February 2006, respectively (Report of the sixth and seventh sessions of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, respectively A/60/266 and A/AC.265/2006/2). At its eighth session, held from 14 to 25 August 2006, the Ad Hoc Committee concluded its negotiations and adopted the draft text of a convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, including an optional protocol, without a vote. It also decided to establish an open-ended drafting group to conduct a technical review of the draft (Report of the eighth session of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities A/AC.265/2006/4 and Add.1). At its resumed eighth session, on 5 December 2006, the Ad Hoc Committee decided to recommend to the General Assembly for adoption a draft resolution entitled “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”, to which it annexed the draft Convention and draft Optional Protocol (Final Report of the eighth session of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, A/61/611).

On 13 December 2006, the General Assembly adopted by consensus, without reference to a Main Committee, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol, as annexed to resolution 61/106. In accordance with its article 45, paragraph (1), the Convention entered into force on 3 May 2008, on the thirtieth day after the date of the deposit of its twentieth instrument of ratification or accession.

The Convention established a Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, whose first twelve members were elected during the first Conference of the States Parties on 3 November 2008, in accordance with article 34 of the Convention (CRPD/CSP/2008/4). Pursuant to article 34, paragraph (2) of the Convention, the Conference of the States Parties increased the membership of the Committee by six members on 1 September 2010 (CRPD/CSP/2010/3). The Committee held its first session from 23 to 27 February 2009, and continues to meet twice a year at the United Nations Office in Geneva.


Text of the Convention

Selected preparatory documents
(in chronological order)

General Assembly resolution 2856 (XXVI) of 20 December 1971 (Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons)

General Assembly resolution 3447 (XXX) of 9 December 1975 (Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons)

General Assembly resolution 31/82 of 13 December 1976 (Implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons)

General Assembly resolution 31/123 of 16 December 1976 (International Year for Disabled Persons)

General Assembly resolution 32/133 of 16 December 1977 (International Year of Disabled Persons)

Report of the Advisory Committee for the Year of Disabled Persons, 5 to 14 July 1982 (A/37/352/Add.1)

General Assembly resolution 34/154 of 17 December 1979 (International Year of Disabled Persons)

General Assembly resolution 37/52 of 3 December 1982 (World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons)

General Assembly resolution 37/53 of 3 December 1982 (Implementation of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons)

Economic and Social Council resolution 1990/26 of 24 May 1990 (Equalization of opportunities for disabled persons)

General Assembly, Verbatim record of plenary meetings Nos. 33 to 36 of the forty-seventh regular session, held from 12 to 13 October 1992 (A/47/PV.33, A/47/PV.34, A/47/PV.35, A/47/PV.36)

General Assembly resolution 47/3 of 14 October 1992 (International Day of Disabled Persons)

Third Committee of the General Assembly, Summary records of meetings No. 18 of the forty-eighth regular session held 28 October 1993 (A/C.3/48/SR.18)

General Assembly resolution 48/96 of 20 December 1993 (Standard rules on equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities)

Commission of Human Rights resolution 2000/51 of 25 April 2000 (Human rights of persons with disabilities)

Report of the World Conference against Racism, Racial discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (31 August to 8 September 2001, Durban, South Africa) (A/CONF.189/12)

Third Committee of the General Assembly, Summary records of meeting No. 55 of the fifty-sixth regular session, of 30 November 2001 (A/C.3/56/SR.55)

General Assembly resolution 56/168 of 19 December 2001 (Comprehensive and integral international convention to promote and protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities)

Report of the first session of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, 29 July to 9 August 2002 (A/57/357)

General Assembly resolution 57/229 of 18 December 2002 (Comprehensive and integral international convention to promote and protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities)

Report of the second session of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, 16 to 27 June 2003 (A/58/118 and Corr.1)

General Assembly resolution 58/246 of 23 December 2003 (Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities)

Report of the Working Group to the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, 5 to 16 January 2004 (A/AC.265/2004/WG/1)

Report of the third session of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, 24 May to 4 June 2004 (A/AC.265/2004/5, Corr.1 and Corr.2)

Report of the fourth session of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, 23 August – 3 September 2004 (A/59/360)

General Assembly resolution 59/198 of 22 December 2004 (Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities)

Report of the Third Committee to the General Assembly (A/59/503/Add.2, 9 December 2004)

Report of the fifth session of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, 24 January to 4 February 2005 (A/AC.265/2005/2)

Report of the sixth session of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, 1 to 12 August 2005 (A/60/266)

General Assembly resolution 60/232 of 23 December 2005 (Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities)

Report of the seventh session of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, 16 January to 3 February 2006 (A/AC.265/2006/2)

Interim Report of the eighth session of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, 14 to 25 August 2006 (A/AC.265/2006/4 and Add.1)

Final Report of the eighth session of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, 14 to 25 August and 5 December 2006 (A/61/611).

Documents of all the eight sessions of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities can be found at http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/adhoccom.htm

General Assembly, Verbatim record of the 76th plenary meeting of the sixty-first regular session, held on 13 December 2006 (A/61/PV.76)

General Assembly resolution 61/106 of 13 December 2006 (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities)

Report of the Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 31 October to 3 November 2008 (CRPD/CSP/2008/4)

Report of the third session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 1 to 3 September 2010 (CRPD/CSP/2010/3)

Text of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities


The Convention entered into force on 3 May 2008. For the current participation status of the Convention, as well as information and relevant texts of related treaty actions, such as reservations, declarations, objections, denunciations and notifications, see: 

The Status of Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General

16 January 2006. Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Overview of the meeting of the General Assembly Ad Hoc Committee for a second reading of the Draft Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 18 January 2006. Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Meeting of the General Assembly Ad Hoc Committee on a Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Mr. Don MacKay (New Zealand), Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee (second from right), speaking at the meeting. 27 January 2006. Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Meeting of the General Assembly Ad Hoc Committee on a Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Mrs. Louise Arbour, High Commissioner for Human Rights, addressing the Ad Hoc Committee. 3 February 2006. Press conference, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Mr. Lex Grandia (left), Secretary-General of the World Federation of the Deafblind and Mr. Don MacKay (New Zealand), Chair of the General Assembly Ad Hoc Committee on a Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, briefing journalists on the outcome of the three-week session of the Committee.
16 January 2006
Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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18 January 2006
Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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27 January 2006
Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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3 February 2006
Press conference, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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14 August 2006. Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Overview of the meeting of the General Assembly Ad Hoc Committee on a Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 14 August 2006. Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Meeting of the General Assembly Ad Hoc Committee on a Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 11 August 2006. Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Meeting of the General Assembly Ad Hoc Committee on a Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 18 August 2006. Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Meeting of the General Assembly Ad Hoc Committee on a Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
14 August 2006
Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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14 August 2006
Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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11 August 2006
Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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18 August 2006
Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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18 August 2006. Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Meeting of the General Assembly Ad Hoc Committee on a Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 18 August 2006. Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Meeting of the General Assembly Ad Hoc Committee on a Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 13 December 2006. 61st Session of the General Assembly, 76th Plenary Meeting, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Mrs. Maria Reina from Rehabilitation International speaking to the General Assembly after the adoption of the Convention. 29 March 2006. Pres conference, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Mr. Thomas Schindlmayr (left), United Nations Disability Expert, briefing correspondents.
18 August 2006
Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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18 August 2006
Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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13 December 2006
61st Session of the General Assembly, 76th Plenary Meeting, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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29 March 2006
Press conference, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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30 March 2007. Signing Ceremony, General Assembly Hall, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Mr. Jan Deboute, Directeur f.f. des Affaires multilatérales et de la Mondialisation of Belgium, signing the Convention. 30 March 2007. Signing Ceremony, General Assembly Hall, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Mrs. Louise Arbour, High Commissioner for Human Rights, speaking at the Signing Ceremony. 30 March 2007. Signing Ceremony, General Assembly Hall, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Mr. Lenin Moreno, Vice-president of Ecuador, speaking at the Signing Ceremony. 30 March 2007. Signing Ceremony, General Assembly Hall, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Mrs. Louise Arbour, High Commissioner for Human Rights (left) and Mr. Don MacKay (New Zealand) (center), Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

30 March 2007
Signing Ceremony, General Assembly Hall, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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30 March 2007
Signing Ceremony, General Assembly Hall, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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30 March 2007
Signing Ceremony, General Assembly Hall, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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30 March 2007
Signing Ceremony, General Assembly Hall, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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30 March 2007. Signing Ceremony, General Assembly Hall, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Overview of the General Assembly Hall. 17 May 2007. Signing of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Mrs. Isabelle Donald Sikawonuta, Minister for Social Welfare and Justice of Vanuatu (second from left), signing the Convention. 14 June 2007. Signing of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Ms. Caroline Ziade, Chargé d'Affaires, Deputy Permanent Representative of Lebanon (left), signing the Convention. To the right, Ms. Annebeth Rosenboom, Chief of the Treaty Section, United Nations Office of Legal Affairs. 25 September 2007. Signing of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Mr. Omar Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon, signing the Convention.

30 March 2007
Signing Ceremony, General Assembly Hall, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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17 May 2007
Signing of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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14 June 2007
Signing of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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25 September 2007
Signing of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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26 September 2007. Signing of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Mr. Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi, President of the Union of the Comoros, signing the Convention. 27 September 2007. Signing of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, United Nations Headquarters, New York. 17 December 2007. Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Mr. Claude Heller Rouassant, Permanent Representative of Mexico (second from right), depositing the instruments of ratification of the Convention to Ms. Annebeth Rosenboom (to the right), Chief of the Treaty Section, United Nations Office of Legal Affairs. Mr. Zelijko Sturanovic, Prime Minister of the Republic of Montenegro, signing the Convention. 8 February 2008. Signing of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Mrs. Mariam Mohammed Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of Social Affairs of the United Arab Emirates (left), signing the Convention. In the center Ms. Annebeth Rosenboom, Chief of the Treaty Section, United Nations Office of Legal Affairs.
26 September 2007
Signing of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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27 September 2007
Signing of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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17 December 2007
Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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8 February 2008
Signing of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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8 February 2008.Signing of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Mr. Jean-Marie Ehouzou, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Benin (center), signing the Convention. To the right Ms. Annebeth Rosenboom, Chief of the Treaty Section, United Nations Office of Legal Affairs. 12 February 2008. Signing of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Mrs. Mariam Mohammed Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of Social Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, signing the Optional Protocol to the Convention. To the right Ms. Annebeth Rosenboom, Chief of the Treaty Section, United Nations Office of Legal Affairs.    

8 February 2008
Signing of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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12 February 2008
Signing of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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