The commitment to protect the rights of persons with disabilities and promote their effective participation in the social life has occupied a central position in the United Nations Development Agenda since 1982, when the international community adopted the World Programme of Action (WPA) concerning Disabled Persons.1 A number of instruments, frameworks and resolutions have followed at international and regional levels to support the main theme of WPA, namely, equalization of opportunities; and to advocate a rights-based approach to disability. With the entry into force of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 3 May 2008, which constitutes the first legally binding human rights treaty that is specific to disability issues, a turning point was reached in the lives and status of persons with disabilities.2 Globally and regionally, countries are gradually amending existing disability laws, policies and services, or are enacting new ones aimed at protecting the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities and at ensuring their full and equal opportunities in terms of education, health, training, employment and participation.

Author Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia