RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES : EU RATIFIES UN CONVENTION.

On 23 December 2010, the European Union ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, thus becoming the first international organisation to do so.

This is "good news for the New Year and a milestone in the history of human rights as it is the first time ever that the EU becomes a party to an international human rights treaty" [of which there are nine - Ed], said the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, Viviane Reding, urging member states to follow the example of the European Union. Currently, only 16 of the EU's 27 member states have ratified the UN convention; Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania being the eleven countries that have not ratified it.

Negotiated by people with disabilities, the convention - which entered into force in May 2008 - promotes and protects the human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons with disabilities. Since its publication, it has been signed by all member states and the European Union, the latter having announced, in November 2009, its intention to ratify the text once the code of conduct' assigning competences between the various institutions had been signed by the 27 member states. This step prior to the ratification having been achieved, on 2 December 2010, the EU became the 97th party to the convention, on 23 December. "This...

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