United Nations

Convention on the Rights
of Persons with Disabilities

Distr.: General
26 April 2018
Original: English

Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

General comment No. 6 (2018) on equality and nondiscrimination*
I. Introduction
The aim of the present general comment is to clarify the obligations of States parties
regarding non-discrimination and equality as enshrined in article 5 of the Convention on the
Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The Committee is concerned that the laws and policies of States parties still
approach disability through charity and/or medical models, despite the incompatibility of
those models with the Convention. The persistent use of such paradigms fails to
acknowledge persons with disabilities as full subjects of rights and as rights holders. In
addition, the Committee notes that the efforts by States parties to overcome attitudinal
barriers to disability have been insufficient. Examples include enduring and humiliating
stereotypes, and stigma of and prejudices against persons with disabilities as being a burden
on society. In response, it is critical that persons with disabilities, through their
representative organizations, play a central role in the development of legal and policy
The broadening of anti-discrimination laws and human rights frameworks has led to
extended protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in many States parties.
Nevertheless, laws and regulatory frameworks often remain imperfect and incomplete or
ineffective, or reflect an inadequate understanding of the human rights model of disability.
Many national laws and policies perpetuate the exclusion and isolation of and
discrimination and violence against persons with disabilities. They often lack a recognition
of multiple and intersectional discrimination or discrimination by association; fail to
acknowledge that the denial of reasonable accommodation constitutes discrimination; and
lack effective mechanisms of legal redress and reparation. Such laws and policies are
commonly not regarded as disability-based discrimination because they are justified as
being for the protection or care of the persons with a disability, or in their best interest.

II. Equality for and non-discrimination against persons with
disabilities in international law
Equality and non-discrimination are among the most fundamental principles and
rights of international human rights law. Because they are interconnected with human
dignity, they are the cornerstones of all human rights. In its articles 1 and 2, the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that everyone is equal in dignity and rights, and
condemns discrimination on a non-exhaustive number of grounds.
* Adopted by the Committee at its nineteenth session (14 February–9 March 2018).


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