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Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities

Purpose of the mandate

Persons with disabilities face barriers in their participation as equal members of society. This mandate was created to

  • Strengthen efforts to recognize, promote, implement and monitor the rights of persons with disabilities from a human rights-based approach, in line with the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the broader human rights framework
  • Recall the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of all human rights and the need for persons with disabilities to be guaranteed the full enjoyment of these rights without discrimination.

Learn more about the rights of persons with disabilities.

About the mandate

The Human Rights Council first established the mandate on the rights of persons with disabilities in 2014. The mandate was most recently renewed in 2020, through resolution A/HRC/RES/44/10.

Learn more about the mandate.

Current mandate holder

Photo portrait of Gerard Quinn, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities ©OHCHRMr. Gerard Quinn was appointed the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the Human Rights Council in October 2020.

He holds two research chairs at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute on Human Rights in the University of Lund (Sweden) and Leeds University (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). He previously held a chair at the National University of Ireland where he founded and directed the Centre on Disability Law & Policy. In Ireland, he served as a member of the Irish Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities, Ireland Human Rights Commission, and on the Council of State.

Mr. Quinn was the lead ‘focal point’ for the global network of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) during the negotiations leading to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and was head of delegation for Rehabilitation International during the UN Working Group (2004).

Read Mr. Quinn’s full biography.

Latest thematic reports

Disability-inclusive international cooperation: This report, submitted at the 75th session of the General Assembly in 2020, examines the importance of international cooperation to support the implementation of the rights of persons with disabilities and provides guidance to States on how to ensure that international cooperation is inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities.
View report page | View document A/75/186 | View easy-to-read format.

Impact of ableism in medical and scientific practice: The report, submitted at the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council in 2020, explores the impact of ableism in medical and scientific practice, as well as bioethical responses to disability. It discusses areas where potential tensions could emerge, including notions of normality and quality of life, prenatal diagnosis and disability-selective abortion, controversial and/or irreversible treatments, and euthanasia and assisted suicide. View report page | View document A/HRC/43/41 | View easy-to-read format.

Older persons with disabilities: This report, submitted at the 74th session of the General Assembly in 2019, examines the situation of older persons with disabilities, and provides guidance to States on how to promote, protect and ensure their human rights and fundamental freedoms, paying particular attention to the intersection between ageing and disability. View report page | View document A/74/186 | View easy-to-read format.

Latest country reports

Mission to Canada (1-11 April 2019)
View document A/HRC/43/41/Add.2 | View easy-to-read format 

Mission to Norway (2-11 October 2019)
View document A/HRC/43/41/Add.3 | View easy-to-read format

Latest news


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Former mandate holders

Ms. Catalina Devandas Aguilar
(Costa Rica) 2014-2020