The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities  was adopted in 2006. Ireland has signed the Convention. The purpose of the Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. It applies established human rights principles from the UN Declaration on Human Rights to the situation of people with disabilities. It covers civil and political rights to equal treatment and freedom from discrimination, and social and economic rights in areas like education, health care, employment and transport. States which ratify the UN Convention commit themselves to delivering civil and political rights to people with disabilities, and to progressive realisation of social and economic rights.

The European Union has adopted a European Disability Strategy 2010–2020 as a comprehensive framework committing the Commission to empowerment of people with disabilities to enjoy their full rights, and to removing everyday barriers in life. The European Union has ratified the Un Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Council of Europe Disability Action Plan 2006–2015 aims to bring about a better life for people with disabilities as full and equal citizens. The Council of Europe Disability Action Plan complements the UN Convention in calling on States to implement actions in key areas covered in the Convention. These include participation in political, public and cultural life, education, information and communication, employment, accessibility of the built environment and transport.