The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is an international human rights treaty that protects the rights and dignity of all people with disabilities.

UN General Assembly
2016 United Nations Conference of States Parties on the CRPD

Under international law, countries that ratify the treaty consent to be bound to its contents, which champions equal status for people with disabilities in all aspects of life. The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities monitors countries’ implementation of the CRPD and issues reports on their successes and failures in upholding the rights of individuals with disabilities that are certified in the treaty.

The CRPD is one of the most widely supported major international human rights treaties in world, and 167 states are party to the treaty, including Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. However, the United States has not ratified CRPD, even though it is modeled on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and reflects many of the policy stances and principles championed by disability rights advocates in the United States.

Inclusive Employment and CRPD 

The CRPD is a seminal legally binding document in the efforts to recognize the concept of inclusive employment. Article 27 of the CRPD affirms the right of all people with disabilities to inclusive employment, requiring countries to “recognize the right of persons with disabilities to work, on an equal basis with others” wherein:

a) Prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability with regard to all matters concerning all forms of employment, including conditions of recruitment, hiring and employment, continuance of employment, career advancement and safe and healthy working conditions;

b) Protect the rights of persons with disabilities, on an equal basis with others, to just and favorable conditions of work, including equal opportunities and equal remuneration for work of equal value, safe and healthy working conditions, including protection from harassment, and the redress of grievances;

c) Ensure that persons with disabilities are able to exercise their labor and trade union rights on an equal basis with others;

d) Enable persons with disabilities to have effective access to general technical and vocational guidance programs, placement services and vocational and continuing training;

e) Promote employment opportunities and career advancement for persons with disabilities in the labor market, as well as assistance in finding, obtaining, maintaining and returning to employment;

f) Promote opportunities for self-employment, entrepreneurship, the development of cooperatives and starting one’s own business;

g) Employ persons with disabilities in the public sector;

h) Promote the employment of persons with disabilities in the private sector through appropriate policies and measures, which may include affirmative action programs, incentives and other measures;

i) Ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided to persons with disabilities in the workplace;

j) Promote the acquisition by persons with disabilities of work experience in the open labor market;

k) Promote vocational and professional rehabilitation, job retention and return-to-work programs for persons with disabilities.