International conference on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

10.30am to 5pm – Wednesday 10th May 2017  at the Celtic Suite, Croke Park Conference Centre, Dublin 1

  • Several leading disability rights groups in Ireland, North and South, are sponsoring a conference in Dublin on Wednesday 10th May on how to best use an international treaty to strengthen the rights of people with disabilities.
  • The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has been ratified by 172 countries, including the UK, and by the European Union, but not by Ireland.
  • Ratifying the Convention would mean greater state accountability on how it protects, respects and fulfils the rights of people with disabilities. It would require the government to set up an independent body, mainly controlled by people with disabilities, to monitor whether the state is carrying out treaty obligations.
  • The event takes place at a crucial moment for people with disabilities across Ireland: The UK faces its first examination this August on how it is meeting its Convention commitments, and Ireland is preparing to finally ratify the treaty.
  • The conference will bring together disability groups, activists, academics, state bodies, policy makers and others seeking to learn and explore the possibilities offered by this important rights mechanism.


Keynote speakers include:

  • Diane Kingston OBE, prominent UK disability rights campaigner, ex-Vice-Chair of the UNCRPD Expert Committee
  • Juan Ignacio Perez Bello, Human Rights Officer at the International Disability Alliance.
  • Rhoda Garland, Executive Director of Maltese Commission for Persons with a Disability
  • Robbie Sinnott, who recently won his case against the Irish state on the right of people with visual impairments to vote independently and in private.
  • Other speakers include Senator John Dolan, CEO of Disability Federation of Ireland, Rhian Davies, Chief Executive of Disability Wales, Kevin Doherty, CEO of Disability Action Northern Ireland, Professor Gerard Quinn, chair of Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUIG & Deputy Caoimhghin O Caolain, chair of Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice & Equality.