Can a convention on the rights of people with disabilities really make a difference?
Yes. Once completed, the Convention requires participating countries (called “States Parties” for UN treaties) to periodically report to the U.N. on their progress in implementing and enforcing the treaty obligations. Treaties are a powerful tool, and are used by advocacy groups to monitor, highlight, and promote human rights. A convention on the human rights of people with disabilities will help increase public awareness of barriers faced by people with disabilities, spur law and policy changes at the national level; provide redress in individual cases of rights violations or abuses; and channel resources into programs that support the rights of people with disabilities.
Integrating disability into the global human rights framework and creating international legal standards will strengthen domestic disability rights movements in individual nations. The CRPD requires nations to recognize that the human rights of people with disabilities deserve the same level of commitment that governments demonstrate toward the rights of people without disabilities and society as a whole.
Does it make economic sense for countries to adopt the Convention?
Yes, for two reasons:
First, the United Nations has never allowed nations to enforce human rights only when they can afford to do so. Human rights are guaranteed regardless of cost.
Second, human rights are cost effective. Absent discrimination, children with disabilities become tax-paying employees and entrepreneurs, and they support the economy as consumers. Without equal rights, people with disabilities are barred from opportunities, and forced to subsist on government charity and private hand outs.