Endorsement: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Policy type
Policy categories

The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) endorses the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and encourages its member organisations to promote its implementation and monitoring.[1] The Convention promotes, protects and ensures the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities and promotes respect for their inherent dignity. It sets out in detail the rights of persons with disabilities and a code of implementation. The Convention and its Optional Protocol were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2006, and opened for signature in March 2007. The Convention entered into force on 3rd April 2008 after receiving its 20th ratification with the Optional Protocol entering into force 30 days later.

There are eight guiding principles (article 3) that underlie the Convention and each one of its specific articles:

  1. respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one's own choices, and independence of persons
  2. non-discrimination
  3. full and effective participation and inclusion in society
  4. respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity
  5. equality of opportunity
  6. accessibility
  7. equality between men and women
  8. respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities

There are a number of rights contained in the Convention:

  • Article 5 - Equality and non-discrimination
  • Article 6 - Women with disabilities
  • Article 7 - Children with disabilities
  • Article 8 - Awareness-raising
  • Article 9 - Accessibility
  • Article 10 - Right to life
  • Article 11 - Situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies
  • Article 12 - Equal recognition before the law
  • Article 13 - Access to justice
  • Article 14 - Liberty and security of the person
  • Article 15 - Freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
  • Article 16 - Freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse
  • Article 17 - Protecting the integrity of the person
  • Article 18 - Liberty of movement and nationality
  • Article 19 - Living independently and being included in the community
  • Article 20 - Personal mobility
  • Article 21 - Freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information
  • Article 22 - Respect for privacy
  • Article 23 - Respect for home and the family
  • Article 24 - Education
  • Article 25 - Health
  • Article 26 - Habilitation and rehabilitation
  • Article 27 - Work and employment
  • Article 28 - Adequate standard of living and social protection
  • Article 29 - Participation in political and public life
  • Article 30 - Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport

The remaining articles address implementation, monitoring, reporting and amendment processes.


Approval, review and related policy information
Date adopted:

Approved by the WCPT Executive Committee March 2008 and its update December 2009. 

Endorsed at the 17th General Meeting of WCPT in June 2011.

Endorsement re-affirmed at the 18th General Meeting of WCPT May 2015.

Date for review: Dependent on monitoring of UN updates
Related WCPT Policies:

WCPT endorsement:

WCPT policy statements:


  1. United Nations. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. New York, USA: United Nations; 2006.  (Access date 9th December 2009)