On the eve of the Paralympics in Vancouver, Canada ratified the UN Convention. Canada signed the convention in 2007 and ratified it on March 11, 2010. The US signed the Convention shortly after President Obama took office, but has not ratified it.
According to the UN Convention FAQ, "The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an international treaty that identifies the rights of persons with disabilities as well as the obligations on States parties to the Convention to promote, protect and ensure those rights."
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
In comments about a CBC article discussing the ratification of the Convention, Edmonton Bill wrote, "And then we'll ignore it, just like every treaty we've signed on climate change, human rights, child soldiers..."
I hope Edmonton Bill is wrong. If countries truly lived by the principles of the Convention, we would see a sea change in society in which people with disabilities would no longer be marginalized by the dominant non-disabled society and would participate more and more on an equal basis with other people.
Similarly, churches that choose to live by biblical principles on disability and inclusion will grow more and more to be what our Lord intends his church to be.