A group of four children of varying ages cluster together, smiling at the camera. One child makes the sign for "I love you".

Human Rights Instruments for Children with Disabilities, and Other Resources

Why Learn International Human Rights Laws?

Policy makers, advocates, and others can use different international human rights laws for Deaf children. They can use these laws to help them write better national laws.

Deaf children deserve human rights. But they experience discrimination because they are Deaf and also because they are young. Some national laws that protect the rights of children do not help Deaf children. And some national laws that protect the rights of Deaf people, or people with disabilities, do not help Deaf children either. 

At the international level, some international human rights laws mention children with disabilities. “International human rights laws” are known by different names. These names include “human rights instruments”, or sometimes “human rights treaties” or “human rights declarations”. International laws that mention children with disabilities can help Deaf children too.

International Laws for Children and International Laws for People with Disabilities

The Global Disability Rights Now wrote a web page, “Human Rights Instruments for Children with Disabilities.” This web page explains international laws that may help in writing better national laws for children with disabilities. Two important international treaties include the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The web page also lists other international laws for children. Visit the link to find many documents with more information about all of these international laws. Some of the documents are in English. Others are in Spanish, Vietnamese, or Armenian.

What about Deaf Children?

The following resources provide more detail about Deaf children. 

  • Position Paper on the CRPD, by the National Association of the Deaf in the United States. This position paper explains which parts of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) mention Deaf people or sign language. In a few places, the paper mentions Deaf children.
  • CRPD, by the World Federation of the Deaf. The World Federation of the Deaf explains how they helped write the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). They explain the parts of the CRPD that mention Deaf people or sign language.
  • Advancing human rights and sign language world wide, by the World Federation of the Deaf. This page explains the human rights needs of Deaf people, and how the World Federation of the Deaf helps. See particularly the sections on Sign Language Rights, Bilingual Education, and Accessibility. These three sections talk about Deaf children.
  • Also review the WFD toolkit entitled “Know and Achieve Your Human Rights“. This PDF file also mentions Deaf children.
  • WFD Position Paper on the Language Rights of Deaf Children. The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) explains the rights of Deaf children to access sign language. This paper provides source citations to support their arguments. A sign language translation of the WFD position paper is also available.
  • The CRC and Deaf Children, by the Jamaican Association of the Deaf. This page explains how the Jamaican Association of the Deaf used the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to protect the rights of Deaf children.

Sign Language Translations of the CRPD

The following two web pages both list national sign language translations of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Some sign language translations are listed on both pages. But each page has some languages not listed in the other.

Accessibility

The accessibility of the resources we list here varies widely. Most are partly accessible for people using screen reading software. But people using screen reading software may have difficulty with navigation or other barriers. Most of the resources are accessible for people who are literate and can see well enough to read print on a screen. A few of the resources are available in sign language video. We indicate these where relevant.

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