Countries committed to strengthen the rights of persons with disabilities

Countries committed to strengthen the rights of persons with disabilities

Hundreds of delegates and civil society representatives took part in the Third Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in New York, to discuss how to better implement the Convention and continue strengthening the rights of persons with disabilities, particularly in situations of humanitarian emergencies.

During the closing of the session, which was held from 1-3 September, the Ambassador of Mexico and President of the conference Claude Heller addressed the audience and said that “the number of signatures and ratifications continues to increase” and that ongoing efforts to promote the rights of persons with disabilities bear fruit.

The number of countries that have ratified the Convention, which came into force in 2008, increased from 66 to 90 in the past year and the signatories had risen from 142 to 146.

The convention asserts the rights to education, health, work, adequate living conditions, freedom of movement, freedom from exploitation and equal recognition before the law for persons with disabilities, estimated at 650 million people around the world.

Many of the discussions during the three-day conference focused on the right to education for persons with disabilities, the need for measures for greater inclusion of persons with disabilities in society, care provided during disasters and emergency situations, and the support given by several organizations to the disabilities perspective.

Ms. Aleksandra Posarac, Lead Human Development Economist of the World Bank, highlighted the close work with DESA and the contribution of the bank to the Convention’s implementation as a development instrument, by taking its human rights provisions into account.

“We can do more and we are going to do more as we go ahead with the implementation of the Convention… It is very important to raise awareness in countries and generate demand in the country level for the World Bank assistance that would include disability,” she said.

The United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) corporate plans and strategies reflect its commitment to the Convention, said Leyla Sharafi, Specialist on Gender Issues in the Gender, Human Rights and Culture Branch.

“UNFPA raises awareness and advocates for a gender perspective and reproductive rights on persons with disabilities. At the country level, it provides technical support for the incorporation of the disability perspective into healthy policies programmes and national development frameworks”.

The next conference of States Parties to the convention will be held in early September 2011.

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