Fiji Signs Disability Rights Treaty and Optional Protocol

June 2, 2010

Fiji has become the 145th signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) as of June 2, 2010.  On the same day, it also became the 89th signatory to the Optional Protocol that accompanies the CRPD. 

The CRPD is the first international, legally binding human rights treaty targeted at protecting the human rights of people with disabilities.  A few examples of the human rights that the CRPD protects include, but are not limited to:

  • The right to be protected from abuse, violence, and torture
  • The right to live in the community, with one's family, without being institutionalized against one's will
  • The right to have access to education, transportation, and other public services
  • The right to access information and communication, including via sign language or Braille
  • The right to employment and a decent standard of living
  • The right to access social justice

The Optional Protocol gives people with disabilities in ratifying countries an additional avenue for pursuing justice if all other standard methods for pursuing justice within their country should fail.

Signing an international treaty is not the same as fully ratifying it.  Ratifying a treaty commits a country to implementing it.  This may mean the country needs to modify existing laws, or abolish old laws, to be more consistent with the treaty.  Signing a treaty does not yet commit the country to modifying its laws.  However, it is often a signal that the country may consider ratifying the treaty later.  Signing a treaty also commits the nation to avoiding new action that would conflict with the spirit of the treaty.

From among the 145 signatories of the CRPD, 87 have taken the next step by ratifying the treaty.  Of these, 54 also have ratified the Optional Protocol.

Learn more about the CRPD and Optional Protocol at the United Nations Enable website.  Learn more about efforts to ratify the CRPD in the United States by exploring the website for the United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD).