[JURIST] A ground-breaking UN disabilities rights treaty [JURIST news archive] opened for signature [UN press release] Friday. The treaty would protect the 650 million persons living with disabilities worldwide [UN fact sheet] and is expected to be signed by more than 70 countries. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities [official website; text] holds that all disabled people should be treated as full-fledged citizens and completely integrated into society. To come into force the Convention requires 20 state parties or countries to ratify the pact. Jamaica is set to be the first country to ratify the treaty, expected to pass by the end of 2007.
The treaty also includes an Optional Protocol [Protocol text], which is expected to be signed by 40 countries. The Protocol grants individuals the right to petition a committee of experts for violations of the Convention after all national procedures have been exhausted. UN News Centre has more.