Development and human rights for all

Statement by Mr. Juan Carlos Ramiro (Spain)

Commemorative event: Entry into Force of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Optional Protocol, New York, 12 May 2008

Today, we celebrate one of the greatest achievements in the global efforts led towards the elimination of all discriminations against persons with disabilities.

The entry into force of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and its Optional Protocol, scored a milestone for the well-being of millions of people, stepping forward towards reaching the goal of enjoying a life of dignity, of inclusion and participation, and towards the achievement of their maximum personal autonomy.

The Convention and its Protocol have been a common project of persons with disabilities all over the world, the civil society, the Governments and the United Nations itself.

Those common efforts undertaken over the past years gave birth to the Convention of, and for, persons with disabilities, placing this issue in the realm where it belongs: the Human Rights. The Convention places disability under the prism of a social model, or a citizenship model, where the effectiveness of all rights must be ensured to all persons with disabilities, paying special attention to the specific situation of children and women with disabilities.

This implies the elaboration and amendment of legislations, the elimination of discriminatory practices and, above all, the fully establishment of guarantees for the effective enjoyment of  Human Rights.

The Government of Spain has been following very closely the process ever since it was launched, in close cooperation and permanent dialogue with the collective of disabled persons of Spain, which took part in the negotiations as a part of the Spanish delegation. We were one of the first countries to ratify the Convention and its Protocol, contributing thereby to its timely entry into force. The deposit of ratification instruments by the First Vice-President of the Government was carried out last 3 December alongside a delegation of the collective of persons with disabilities of Spain.

Spain has the firm intention to meet the expectations prompted by these two new instruments, and is looking forward to working further for its effective implementation.

The Spanish Government has launched a wide array of legislative norms which are aimed at guaranteeing the rights of people with disabilities, among which must be highlighted the Law for the Promotion of Personal Autonomy and Assistance to Persons on a Dependant Situation This norm has set a system of social assistance in Spain based upon the universal and subjective right of citizenship, hence ensuring the adequate care and backing to people that are not able to manage on their own, whether they are elder people or disabled people, so they may enjoy daily life basic activities. 

In the context of the European Union, Spain is actively involved, along with the other State Members, in the efforts undertaken to implement and keep track of the European Convention. The Council of the EU has adopted a resolution in which State Members agreed to engage in ensuring “that people with disabilities may fully enjoy their Human Rights through the ratification and implementation of the United Nations Convention”.

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities can also be promoted and protected through international cooperation. In this regard, I would like to make a brief reference to the Ibero-American Intergovernmental Network for Technical Cooperation. It is an instrument of technical cooperation for the implementation of comprehensive policies directed to elder and disabled persons between countries within the Ibero-American Community. Its purpose is to encourage the development of comprehensive policies of Ibero-American countries by sharing experiences and collaborating towards reaching those policies.

Social policies have an impact on the distribution of essential opportunities, the improvement of quality of life, and the personal wellbeing of every citizen. The Convention of the United Nations on the Rights of People with disabilities, and its Optional Protocol, are fundamental instruments to reach those goals.

 Statement by Juan Carlos Ramiro [WORD]