Page last updated at 02:05 GMT, Sunday, 30 March 2008 03:05 UK

UK 'must adopt disability treaty'

A disabled man
So far 17 countries have ratified the UN treaty

The government has been urged by a charity to ratify fully an international treaty on disability.

In 2007, the UK became one of the first countries to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities after it was agreed.

But the disability charity Scope said it was worried ministers may opt out of parts of the treaty, including the right not to live in an institution.

The government said it hoped to ratify the treaty by the end of 2008.

'Seriously concerned'

Countries that adopt the treaty will have to get rid of laws, customs and practices that discriminate against disabled people.

The convention sets out the rights of disabled people, covering civil and political rights, accessibility, participation and inclusion, education, health, employment and social protection.

There cannot be a 'pick and mix' approach on this
Andy Rickell

Scope says this treaty could do a lot to improve the rights of Britain's 11 million disabled people - but only if the government ratifies all of it.

The charity's Executive Director, Andy Rickell, said he was concerned that the UK would opt out of several sections - including the right to attend a mainstream school, the right not to live in a residential home, and the right to be treated as someone with the capacity to make decisions on their own behalf.

"We are seriously concerned that the government will not ratify this treaty in its entirety," he said.

"There cannot be a 'pick and mix' approach on this. It will weaken the value of the convention and also undermine the government's record on promoting disabled people's human rights."

So far 17 countries have ratified the treaty including Spain, Cuba, India and Bangladesh.

But 20 states must do so before it becomes legally binding.


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