Government urged to ratify UN convention on disability rights


THE GOVERNMENT was urged yesterday to ratify a UN convention on rights for people with disabilities if it is to deliver real support to people with disabilities at home and around the world.

International Service Ireland, a new development organisation with a focus on disability issues, said the convention was an important channel through which people with disabilities could safeguard their rights.

“It is the first convention to enshrine the rights of people with disabilities in international law,” said Aidan Leavy, director of the institute. “The sooner it is ratified by Ireland the better for people with disabilities here and in developing countries.”

While Irish officials played a key role in drafting the convention, the Government has yet to say when it will ratified it.

The Department of Justice says it must first change the law on legal capacity of vulnerable adults to comply with the convention. This Mental Capacity Bill is due to be published soon, according to the department.

At the official launch of International Service Ireland yesterday it also called on Irish development and aid agencies to mainstream disability into their programmes to make a difference to the lives of people with disabilities. An estimated 80 per cent of people with disabilities around the world live in developing countries.

Mr Leavy said the group’s “putting the world to rights” initiative aimed to increase awareness about the convention and disability issues in the developing world.

It is a partnership with the Disability Federation of Ireland and the Disability Equality Specialist Support Agency.

As part of the initiative, the group plans to host seminars across the State in coming months with local organisations from the disability, community and voluntary sectors.