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The Preamble reminds countries of other international human rights agreements and summarises the reasons for creating this Convention. It does not contain any obligations for countries to put into practice; the obligations are contained in the Articles of the Convention.

Article 1: Purpose

The aim of the Convention is to make sure that people with disability enjoy human rights, freedoms and respect like other people.

‘Persons with disabilities’ (referred to in this guide as ‘people with disability’) include people who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which may hold them back from doing things or sharing in society in the same way other people do.

Article 2: Definitions

In this Convention:

  • ‘Communication’ means all types and formats of communication, including spoken languages, sign languages, written text, Braille, touch, large print, audio, plainlanguage, human-reader, accessible information and communication technology and other types of communication.
  • ‘Language’ includes spoken languages, sign languages and other forms of non-spoken languages.
  • ‘Discrimination on the basis of disability’ is when a person is excluded, prevented from doing something or treated differently because of that person’s disability, in a way that prevents that person from exercising or enjoying all human rights and freedoms in the same way other people do. This includes denying the person reasonable accommodation.
  • ‘Reasonable accommodation’ means appropriate changes or adjustments that need to be made in order to allow a person with disability in a particular situation to exercise or enjoy all human rights and freedoms in the same way other people do. The changes or adjustments cannot be too hard to carry out.
  • ‘Universal design’ means designing products, places, programs and services in a way that allows all people to use them, as far as possible, without having to make changes. However, assistive devices for particular groups of people with disability can be made where needed.

Article 3: General principles

The general principles of this Convention are:

  • Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy and independence;
  • Non-discrimination;
  • Full and effective participation and inclusion in society;
  • Respect for difference and acceptance of people with disability as part of humanity and human diversity;
  • Equality of opportunity;
  • Accessibility;
  • Equality between men and women;
  • Respect for the capacities of children with disability and their right to preserve their identities.