The first thing to be said is that the CRPD doesn’t contain any new or different rights.
The CRPD is a guide to assist governments in respecting and realising the rights of all those affected by disability.
There are eight guiding principles that underlie the Convention and each one of its specific articles:
- Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons
- Full and effective participation and inclusion in society
- Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity
- Equality of opportunity
- Equality between men and women
- Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities
Whilst there are certain things governments are meant to achieve immediately, such as taking steps to eliminate disability-based discrimination and to raise awareness, within society, of disability and of the rights of persons with disabilities, full compliance will take many years.
The vision behind the Convention is that once full compliance is achieved, persons with disabilities will live and experience life as equally as possible with others.
This vision means that barriers to inclusion and participation in everyday activities, such as – going to the same school as your friends , or getting a job, or being mobile, getting on an aeroplane, or a taxi, enjoying the cinema, going shopping or to a restaurant, or taking part in the political, sporting or cultural life of the island, will be removed or reduced.
For some persons with disabilities, there will always be barriers which are insurmountable, but the CRPD explains how governments and societies can remove the barriers which may reasonably be removed – including perhaps the biggest barriers of all – attitude and stereotyping.