About CRPD

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is the international human rights treaty which sets out the human rights of disabled people.  The treaty defines persons with disabilities as:

‘those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.’

— CRPD, Article 1

CRPD was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 13th December 2006 and has been ratified by 177 countries.  The UK ratified the CRPD in 2009.

CRPD and children’s rights

Both the CRC and CRPD explicitly address the need to protect the rights of children with disabilities. Article 7 of the CRPD states:

  1. States Parties shall take all necessary measures to ensure the full enjoyment by children with disabilities of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other children.
  2. In all actions concerning children with disabilities, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.
  3. States Parties shall ensure that children with disabilities have the right to express their views freely on all matters affecting them, their views being given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity, on an equal basis with other children, and to be provided with disability and age-appropriate assistance to realize that right.
— CRPD, Article 7

Similarly, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states in Article 23 that children with a disability have the right to enjoy a ‘full and decent life’ and lays out the actions State Parties can take to support this.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child published their General Comment No. 9 in 2006 on ‘the Right of Children with Disabilities’, which details steps that States should take to ensure the rights of disabled children are fulfilled.


The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities works to monitor the implementation of the Convention in the countries in which it has been ratified.

Two years after its ratification of the CRPD, the UK Government published their State report to the Committee in 2011.  The purpose of the first State report is for the UK Government to set out how they are implementing the Convention. 

The UK was reviewed for the first time by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2017.  Their Concluding Observations, published in August 2017, raised concerns on a number of issues relating to the discrimination of people with disabilities in the UK.  In particular, the Committee highlighted the negative impacts of austerity measures and welfare reform on disabled people.

Under article 7 of the CRPD which address children with disabilities, the Committee made recommendations on the following:

  • Reducing levels of poverty among families with disabled children;
  • Provision of adequate childcare for disabled children;
  • Taking action to stop bullying, hate speech and hate crime against disabled children;
  • Ensuring that laws and policies affecting disabled children take a rights-based approach;
  • Establishing a monitoring process to review the experiences of disabled children in school.
CRPD in Scotland

The Scottish Government published their Delivery Plan to 2021 for the UNCRPD in 2016.  The plan commits to a number of actions to support people with a disability living in Scotland, including looked-after children, disabled students, and families with disabled children.