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                                                                              CHAPTER ONE


According to the United Nations Convention on persons with disabilities, the term disability summarizes a great number of different functional limitations occurring in any population, in any country of the world.

People might be disabled by physical, intellectual or sensory (senses) impairment, medical conditions or mental illness. Such disabilities are maybe permanent or transitory in nature. It is in this light that the United Nations adopted a convention on the right and privileges of persons with disability.

“This UN convention had been ratified by 153 countries by 12th April 2012” As of November 2020, it has 163 signatories and 181 parties, which includes 180 states and the European Union (which ratified it on 23 December 2010 to the extent responsibilities of the member states were transferred to the European Union).

Persons with disability are protected both under common law and civil law in fact protection of persons with disability is guaranteed both under international instruments such as the universal declaration of human rights, international convention for the protection of persons with disabilities covenant on civil rights, the charter of the united nations and even domestic legislation, Such as law of April 2010.

This chapter is going to address the legal issues associated with this research, a definition of key terms to be employed and the relevance of the study                                                                                                                  


Disabled people are the world’s largest growing minority, until very recently, they were invisible in international human right law. Disabled persons are not listed among the group explicitly protected against discrimination in the post-war-human rights instrument that makes up the international bill of rights.

The European Court of human rights only made its first-ever finding of disability discrimination in 2009 on Glory v Switzerland,Kantz argues that this invisibility extended into the international human rights community itself, including mainstream human rights scholarships and many non-governmental organizations.

The UN convention of the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) United Nations 2006 was developed in response to concerns that existing Human Rights instrument had yet to create a significant impact on improving the lives of people with disabilities: and a commitment by disabled persons and their representative organizations to “to strive for a loyalty binding international convention on the rights of people with disabilities to help participation and equality in the society”

The CRPD enhances the visibility of disabled people in international human rights law. The CRPD is a remarkable legal instrument representing a culmination of many different strands of disability activism over the last few decades.

According to Kanter, this represents the first time in which the UN invited the people directly affected by the proposed treaty to participate directly in its drafting (40).

As a participant, it is fair to say Kantar can provide an interesting and detailed account of the issues and disagreements that arose during the drafting of the treaty

The 1970s marked a new approach to disability. The concepts of human rights for persons with disabilities began to become more accepted internationally.

Two major declarations on persons with disabilities were accepted by the general assembly in the new decade.

The declaration on the rights of mentally retarded persons of 20 December 1971 recorded a fame wok for protecting rights through national and international action.

The declaration stated that persons with intellectual disabilities had to the degree feasible, the same rights as others, including a right as officers, including a right to proper medical care and education, to economic security, to a qualified guardian, as required, to protection from exploitation and to access to legal procedures.

The declaration stated that if possible persons with intellectual disabilities should live with families or with foster parents and should participate in various aspects of community life essentially, the declaration paved the way for a future comprehensive set of principles that would eventually seek to integrate persons with disabilities into society.

The declaration on the rights of disabled persons adopted by the general assembly on 9th December 1975 encouraged national and international protection of the rights of persons with disabilities. Recognition was given to the fact that persons with disabilities were entitled to the same political and civil rights as others including measures necessary support.

The declaration reiterated the rights of persons with disabilities to education, medical service and placement service.

It further recognized their rights to economic and social security to employment, to live with their families, to participate in social and creative events, to be protected against all exploitative abuses or degrading behaviour and to avail themselves of legal aid realizing the need to promote the full participation of persons with disabilities in social life and development of their societies on to December 1976, the general assembly declared the year 1981 international year of disabled persons (IYDP) stipulating that it be devoted to integrating persons with disabilities fully into society

In Cameroon, there exists no constitutional definition of disabilities. However, a particular law fills this vacuum. Moreover, it should be noted that these texts constitute an excellent legal background for the protection of persons with disabilities in Cameroon.

This law which contains in all 12 articles has been subject to criticisms. This law despite its weaknesses helped to put the State away from criticisms and to fill the gap that existed as far as the protection, promotion and socio-economic integration of persons with disabilities.

As such, the law defined a person with a disability as, someone who, stricken by physical or mental, congenital or accidental deficiency, experiences difficulties to carry out his/her duties as any normal person.

It should be noted that the law of 1983 concerned all the categories of disabilities that exist in Cameroon, most especially; the blind, deaf, dumb, dwarfs, retarded, etc. The Cameroon constitution guarantees the rights of all its citizens among which are persons with disabilities.

However, they are practically relegated to the second rank in many domains in our society such as employment, education, environment, health, infrastructure etc. Again the law forbids all forms of discrimination towards persons with disabilities.

This measure has been criticised for its ambiguity because its practice is uncertain; for example families and sometimes the society in general, show little concern towards persons with disabilities.

To conclude, most international conventions obligate state parties to take certain measures with regards to the provisions contained therein, whether by domestic legislation or domestic legislation or otherwise, besides, the committee on economic, social and cultural rights accused above requires state parties to make periodic reports.

Nine have the competence to consider individual communications; seven may consider interstate complaints while six have the competence to inquire into allegations of grave or systematic violations.


Irrespective of all the programs put in place to protect disabled persons in law this group of persons have remained largely neglected.  Disable people are the world’s largest growing minority, yet until very recently they were invisible in the international human rights law.

Disabled persons are not listed among the groups explicitly protected against discrimination in the post-war human rights instruments that make up the Bill of rights, nor under the European court of human rights only made its first-ever finding of disability discrimination only in 2009 in Glor v Switzerland.

Persons with disabilities face discrimination and barriers that Barr them from participating in society on an equal basis with others every day. Persons with disabilities have, however, remained largely invisible, often sidelined in the rights debate and unable to enjoy all the full range of human rights.

This discrimination often includes physical or mental disability in various aspects such as employee participation in sports and other abilities. There’s therefore a need for the law to enforce these rights.

It is based on the foregoing that this researcher has embarked on this research to make policy recommendations that shall help in solving the problems highlighted.


  • Whati s disability?
  • Are there any legal framework and Institutions for the protection of the rights of disabled persons in the world?
  • How effective are laws and institutions in the protection of the rights of disabled persons in the world?
  • What policy recommendations can be made to address this problem?


This research has both general and specific objectives;

1.4.1 General objective

  • To critically examine the legal framework for the protection of the rights of the disabled in the world.

1.4.2 Specific objectives

  • To discuss the international mechanisms and framework for the protection of the rights of disabled persons in the world.
  • To discuss the laws protecting disabled persons in Cameroon.
  • To discuss the effectiveness of the law protecting the rights of disabled persons.
  • To make policy recommendations that can address the issue.
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