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India ratifies U.N.C.R.P.D. and then forgets!

D.N.I.S. News Network, India: On October 1, 2007, India ratified the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (U.N.C.R.P.D.), much before any other significant country in the world. However, two years down the line, its implementation is close to zero! U.N.C.R.P.D. in India has just been rendered to a paper that the President of India had put her signature on.

The Convention was seen as a significant step in the paradigm shift in India from charity and welfare to rights and empowerment of people with disabilities. But all that it has witnessed in the last two years is governmentís apathy. It is a sad fact that most State departments and officials are not even aware of the existence of this international law.

Moreover, there is no clarity on governmentís stand vis - a - vis the implementation of the Convention. Disabled rights activists have long been demanding the setting up of a focal point for its implementation in the Prime Ministerís Office but to no avail.

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (C.R.P.D.) was formed to monitor the implementation of U.N.C.R.P.D. It consists of 12 members, one each from Qatar, Jordan, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Chile, Hungary, Kenya, Australia, Spain, Ecuador, Slovenia and China. Though India was the 7th and the first prominent country to have ratified the Convention, it does not even have a representation on the Committee.

Onus now also lies on the Indian disability sector to raise the tempo for the implementation of the Convention in both letter and spirit.