The following statement was issued today by Mr. Vernor Munoz, Special Rapporteur On The Right To Education :
11 APRIL 2007, Geneva: - - On Friday 30th of March 2007, the Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol were opened for signature. The Special Rapporteur would like to congratulate the States that have already signed the Convention -82- and its Optional Protocol -44-. He also would like to strongly encourage the States that have not yet signed to do so, hoping that in the near future all States would ratify the Convention and its Optional Protocol.
The Special Rapporteur considers that these international instruments constitute a fundamental mechanism for the realization of the right to education of persons with disabilities, since they crystallize the commitment of States to protect their rights, recognize the link between inclusive education and the right to education of persons with disabilities and lay down the legal bases to its implementation.
In his report to the Human Rights Council (A/HCR/4/29), presented in March 2007, the Special Rapporteur urged States to implement inclusive education, as a mean to combat discrimination and to eliminate the obstacles for persons with disabilities to enjoy their right to education. It is indeed possible for all children and young people, regardless of their situations or differences, to learn together.
The Special Rapporteur considers that the large number of signatures of the Convention and its Optional Protocol constitutes a very positive sign of change of attitudes towards persons with disabilities and will contribute to the fulfilment of their rights. Its signature and ratification will also help to raise awareness and to surmount the barriers of prejudice and stigma still existing regarding persons with disabilities.