UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Thursday called on all nations [press release] to ensure that people with disabilities are given equal "enjoyment of all civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights." Pillay's statements came at the Human Rights Council's annual discussion on rights of people with disabilities. Pillay noted that, although the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities [text] has been ratified by 109 states and its Optional Protocol has been ratified by 66 states, mere ratification is not enough. She mentioned that a study by the High Commissioner's Office showed that "in many countries persons with disabilities continued to encounter a number of legal, physical and communication barriers." She said the Council should be able to find the major problems and suggest possible solutions in countries struggling with the issue.
The UN General Assembly adopted the convention [JURIST report] in December 2006 as the first human rights treaty of the twenty-first century. It was approved in August of that year after running into some last-minute problems [JURIST reports]. Earlier that week, the committee that drafted the bill was given 150 proposed amendments to review. The US also caused frustration when the Bush administration said that it would not sign [JURIST report] the convention, claiming its Americans with Disabilities Act [home page] already provided adequate protection for its citizens with disabilities. President Barack Obama's administration, however, voiced support and signed the treaty [JURIST report] in 2009.