UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- In a "landmark" move, the U.N. General Assembly Wednesday adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The 50-article convention addresses a host of issues on the protection of disabled individuals against marginalization in society.
The first of its kind, it covers aspects spanning "civil and political rights, accessibility, participation and inclusion, the right to education, health work and employment and social protection," a U.N. statement said.
Adopting the treaty took time as "countries reached agreement on the landmark convention" after four years of negotiations.
If a country ratifies the treaty, in effect, it agrees to do away with discriminating practices against disabled persons and has to pass domestic laws guaranteeing their rights.
Outgoing U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a statement, "For 650 million persons around the world living with disabilities, today promises to be the dawn of a new era -- an era in which disabled people will no longer have to endure the discriminatory practices and attitudes that have been permitted to prevail for all too long."
However, the head of the world body also said, "It will not happen overnight. Much work remains to be done to produce the results that are aspired from the convention."
Annan urged countries to ratify and implement treaty features "without delay."