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UN Headquarters, New York, NY


Today at UN Headquarters in the General Assembly plenary room, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol were formally opened for signature, marking the first opportunity for States to become signatures and start the process to become States Parties.

The session began at 10am, and after initial statements by the President of the General Assembly, the Deputy Secretary General, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, countries who had played a leadership role in the Convention negotiations process (Mexico, Ecuador and New Zealand), and a representative of IDA and IDC, the official signing ceremony began.

It was previously predicted that approximately 45 States would sign today, but this number was more than exceeded!  81 States and the European Commission signed the Convention and 43 States signed the Optional Protocol.  All those signing today are considered the "first” to sign.  The UN Office of Legal Affairs noted that this represented the highest number of States ever to sign a human rights treaty on its opening for signature.  Jamaica also deposited its instrument of ratification, making it the first country to become a States Party to the Convention.  The list of those signing today is provided below.

The afternoon session involved a high level dialogue “"From vision to action: the road to implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities."  The dialogue was opened by statements by Ambassador Don MacKay of New Zealand and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour.  There then followed statements by numerous Member States, a representative of National Human Rights Institutions, as well as DPI Chair Venus Ilagan (speaking on behalf of the IDC).  She noted in her remarks that the “rights-based” approach to disability at the core of the Convention is a basic shift in the way that disability is viewed globally.  She said “we people with disabilities have very high hopes and expectations for the success of the convention in the future.”  (A full copy of the speech is posted on the DPI website, a link to which is at the bottom of this bulletin.)

The ceremony today marked the first opportunity for States to start the process to become States Parties to the Convention.  It is hoped that many more States will sign soon, and that those signing today will follow Jamaica's lead and ratify as soon as possible!

The following is a list of those who participated in the signing ceremony, provided in the order in which they participated.

Republic of Austria

Republic of Chile

Republic of Croatia

Kingdom of Denmark

Republic of Ecuador

Republic of El Salvador

Gabon

Republic of Indonesia

Italian Republic

Jamaica (also deposited its instrument of ratification for the Convention)

Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Republic of Lithuania

New Zealand

Federal Republic of Nigeria

Republic of Panama

Republic of Poland

Portuguese Republic

Republic of Korea

Republic of Slovenia

Republic of South Africa

Kingdom of Spain

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Kingdom of Sweden

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

People's Democratic Republic of Algeria

Antigua and Barbuda

Argentine Republic

Republic of Armenia

Australia

Kingdom of Belgium

Federated Republic of Brazil

Canada

Republic of Cape Verde

People’s Republic of China

Republic of Colombia

Republic of the Congo

Republic of Costa Rica

Republic of Cyprus

Czech Republic

Commonwealth of Dominica

Dominican Republic

Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Republic of Finland

French Republic

Federal Republic of Germany

Republic of Ghana

Hellenic Republic (Greece)

Republic of Guatemala

Republic of Honduras

Republic of Hungary

Republic of Iceland

Republic of India

Ireland

State of Israel

Republic of Kenya

Republic of Liberia

Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

Republic of Malta

United Mexican States

Republic of Moldova

Kingdom of Morocco

Kingdom of the Netherlands

Republic of Nicaragua

Republic of Niger

Kingdom of Norway

Republic of Paraguay

Republic of Peru

Republic of San Marino

Republic of Seychelles

Republic of Sierra Leone

Republic of the Sudan

Republic of Surinam

Syrian Arab Republic

Kingdom of Thailand

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Republic of Tunisia

Republic of Turkey

Republic of Uganda

United Republic of Tanzania

Republic of Yemen

European Commission


03.04.2007

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