The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. Michael McDowell, T.D., today announced that the Government has agreed to his proposal that Ireland should sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 

The text of the Convention which was negotiated over a five year period was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 13 December last.  It will be open for signature by Member States from 30 March 2007.  Ireland will sign the Convention on that date. 

Making the announcement the Tánaiste stated "There are an estimated 600 million people with disabilities around the world, many of whom are excluded from participation in mainstream society and from the benefits that participation brings.  This Convention represents a blue print for a significant improvement in the lives of these people. 

The Government will set up an implementation group to advise on any changes to the Government's Disability Strategy that may be required to enable Ireland to ratify the Convention as soon as possible.  The implementation group will consult with representatives of people with disabilities as it carries out its work."

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a major Human Rights Convention.  It joins the other Human Rights Conventions such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women and Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

28 March 2007