The International conference on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was sponsored by several leading disability rights groups in Ireland, both North and South. It examined how to best use an international treaty to strengthen the rights of people with disabilities. The conference brought together disability groups, activists, academics, state bodies, policy makers and others seeking to learn and explore the possibilities offered by this important rights mechanism.

The UK (including Northern Ireland) has ratified the Convention and so have the EU and all its member states except the Republic of Ireland. Ratification would mean greater accountability by the Irish government 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 meeting its obligations under the treaty. The number of countries which have ratified the convention now stands at 174.

The Social Change Initiative is committed to improving the effectiveness of activism for progressive social change. Significant insights were generated at the conference and we believe they have a value well beyond those who attended. In order to share the learning more widely we have put together The UNCRPD: A Tool for Change, a new online resource which brings together interviews, speakers videos, pictures, tweets and blog posts in one location.