Navigate Up
Sign In

Focal Point Malta

Main objective of The Focal Points

Implementing the Convention does not only require appropriate legislation and policies; it also requires financial resources and institutions that have the capacity to both implement and monitor those laws and policies. Indeed, article 33 of the Convention requires States parties to establish specific mechanisms to strengthen implementation and monitoring of the rights of women, men and children with disabilities at the national level. The Convention requires States to:

  • Designate a focal point or focal points within government for implementation; 
  • Consider establishing or designating a coordination mechanism within government to facilitate related action in different sectors and at different levels; and
  • Establish an independent framework, such as a national human rights institution, to promote and monitor implementation of the Convention.

The Convention stipulates that civil society, particularly persons with disabilities and their representative organizations, should participate fully in all aspects of this monitoring process, just as they are to be involved in the development and implementation of policies, programmes and legislation to implement the Convention.

Meanwhile, national courts and tribunals will play a key role in ensuring that the rights enumerated in the Convention are protected under the law.

While the Convention requires States parties to designate one or more focal points within government to address matters relating to implementation and to consider establishing a coordination mechanism within government, the Convention does not prescribe either the form or the function of these entities. However, since some other international instruments have also called for the establishment of similar entities, many countries have already established or designated disability focal points or coordinating mechanisms.

Focal points could be a section or a person within a ministry or cluster of ministries, an institution, such as a disability commission, or a particular ministry, such as a ministry for human rights or a ministry for persons with disabilities, or a combination of the three. Even if these bodies or mechanisms already exist, they will need to be revised to oversee the implementation of the Convention and to coordinate efforts among various sectors at the local, regional and national level. 

Whatever its designated form, the focal point should not act in isolation, but play a leading role in coordinating the implementation of the Convention. It should be equipped with adequate human and financial resources; be established through legislative, administrative or other legal measures; be permanently appointed; and be located at the highest possible level of government.

The Work of Focal Points


  • Advise the Head of State/Government, policymakers and programme planners on the development of policies, legislation, programmes and projects with respect to their impact on people with disabilities;
  • Coordinate the activities of various ministries and departments on human rights and disability;
  • Coordinate activities on human rights and disability at federal, national, regional, state, provincial and local levels of government;
  • Revise strategies and policies to ensure that the rights of persons with disabilities are respected;
  • Draft, revise or amend relevant legislation;
  • Raise awareness about the Convention and Optional Protocol within the Government;
  • Ensure that the Convention and Optional Protocol are translated into local languages and issued in accessible formats;
  • Establish an action plan for ratification of the Convention;
  • Establish an action plan for implementation of the Convention;
  • Monitor the implementation of the action plan on human rights and disabilities
  • Coordinate the preparation of the State’s periodic reports;
  • Raise awareness on disability-related issues and the rights of persons with disabilities among the public;
  • Build capacity within the Government on disability-related issues;
  • Ensure and coordinate the collection of data and statistics for effective policy programming and evaluation of implementation;
  • Ensure that persons with disabilities participate in the development of policies and laws that affect them;
  • Encourage persons with disabilities to participate in organizations and civil society, and encourage the creation of organizations of persons with disabilities.



The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol was adopted on 13 December 2006 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, and was opened for signature on 30 March 2007. There were 82 signatories to the Convention, 44 signatories to the Optional Protocol, and 1 ratification of the Convention. This is the highest number of signatories in history to a UN Convention on its opening day. It is the first comprehensive human rights treaty of the 21st century and is the first human rights convention to be open for signature by regional integration organizations. The Convention entered into force on 3May 2008.

The Convention follows decades of work by the United Nations to change attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities. It takes to a new height the movement from viewing persons with disabilities as "objects" of charity, medical treatment and social protection towards viewing persons with disabilities as "subjects" with rights, who are capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active members of society.

The Convention is intended as a human rights instrument with an explicit, social development dimension. It adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. It clarifies and qualifies how all categories of rights apply to persons with disabilities and identifies areas where adaptations have to be made for persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights and areas where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced.

The Convention was negotiated during eight sessions of an Ad Hoc Committee of the General Assembly from 2002 to 2006, making it the fastest negotiated human rights treaty.


The Convention in Brief

Convention in Brief.pptxConvention in Brief.pptx

UNCRPD English format:

UNCRPD Maltese format:

UNCRPD Accessible format:

World Federation of Deaf (videos available):


Guiding Principles of the Convention

There are eight guiding principles that underlie the Convention and each one of its specific articles:

  • Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one's own choices, and independence of persons
  • Non-discrimination
  • Full and effective participation and inclusion in society
  • Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity
  • Equality of opportunity
  • Accessibility
  • Equality between men and women
  • Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities

For further information: