Statement by Mrs. Jeannette Sánchez, Minister of Economic and Social Inclusion, Ecuador
Commemorative event: Entry into Force of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Optional Protocol, New York, 12 May 2008
Mr. President of the General Assembly,
Mr. Secretary General of the United Nations,
I feel highly honored to address this Assembly in this historic ceremony that marks the entry into force of the International Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol. Seven years ago we started working on a legal instrument that will ensure the effective enjoyment of fundamental rights for persons with disabilities and today we celebrate achieving said objective.
We must also celebrate the commitment shown by all Member States of this Organization in concluding this process and also recognize the invaluable contribution of persons with disabilities whose active participation has been crucial in our current success not only for the way the international community changed to treat this persons but also for the lessons of life that provided us with their positive attitude, constant effort and strong will power.
As a representative of the Ecuadorian government, I would like to praise all those who made this historic moment possible and to call upon to reaffirm our commitment as international community to ensure full enjoyment of human rights for all.
We must face up our challenges collectively away from forums and rhetoric turning politics and development programs into concrete meaningful ways of lives for the persons with disabilities as well as their communities. The future implementation of the Convention must be based upon a firm commitment to remove tangibles and no tangibles barriers imposed by societies to disabled persons and to promote politics aimed to protect, include and help develop this important part of our population.
The real and positive impact of our efforts depends entirely on how we fortify the capacity of our society and particularly the capacity of the persons with disabilities to use the new Convention as an effective tool in accordance with international, regional and national human rights systems. This requirement is a key not only to rectify past discrimination against disabled persons but also to create societies based on justice, inclusion and equity where individual differences in gender, age, disability, religion, political beliefs and social status, do not constrain the full enjoyment of universally recognized human rights.
The effective implementation of the Convention will require, in this context, to apply our human rights past experience and practice as applied in gender and children issues to a broader arena that will include wider knowledge and skills of disability issues. We need to build upon the capacity of our institutions, on disabilities’ experts, on our academic centers and other civil society actors, and fundamentally foster an open dialog that will highlight the need to count on closed communities where disabilities perspectives are duly included in their agenda for development.
My country will continue to work actively in favor of the persons with disabilities and towards achieving the common objective we are stressing today which is to obtain universality for the Convention and its Optional Protocol.
We must play different roles in this process towards the accomplishment of full enjoyment of human rights not only as individuals in our own decision making spaces but also as concerned citizens. Each one of us must try to answer the best way how we incorporate disability policies in our legislation, politics and daily life.
Every step of our way we must try to incorporate disability perspectives in all our actions in order to obtain the dream goal of a more just and equal society not only for some but for all. That is our true challenge.
Thank you very much.