Press Conference on Conference of States Parties to Disabilities Rights Convention

16 July 2013

Press Conference on Conference of States Parties to Disabilities Rights Convention

16 July 2013
Press Conference
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Press Conference on Conference of States Parties to Disabilities Rights Convention


The international community must to do everything possible to improve the living standards and employment of the world’s more than 1 billion people living with disabilities, correspondents heard today at a Headquarters press conference. 

The call was made by Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations and President of the sixth Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, set to run through Friday.

As the three-day meeting got under way in New York, the Ambassador said that it had become clear that the fundamental human rights of people “cannot in any way, shape or form be violated and [that] it is imperative that we reach out and make the world a much more inclusive place to live in”.  Inclusiveness, he said, meant that everything must be done to ensure that persons with disabilities had the same opportunities for success as everyone else.  (See Press Release HR/5150.)

The Kenyan envoy, who was flanked at the press conference by Daniela Bas, Director of the Division for Social Policy and Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs; Javed Abidi, Chairperson of Disabled People’s International; and Maria Soledad Cisternas Reyes, Member of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, declared that if the world was to achieve its full potential and societies were to maximize their full capabilities, it was imperative that they reached out to everyone in society.

In her remarks, Ms. Bas said it was both impressive and encouraging that the Convention, in just a few years, had managed to get so many signatories and that its Optional Protocol, allowing for an individual complaints mechanism, had been adopted by so many countries.  That was an indication that the millions who had been silent until now, not because they wanted to, but because of the circumstances, were finally, through the treaty and other tools available now, making their voices heard.

Mr. Abidi and Ms. Cisternas echoed the Conference President’s envoy’s sentiments on the need for the international community to act decisively to include people with disabilities in all decisions and policies that affected them.  Ms. Cisternas reminded the international community of the Convention’s promise to promote and ensure the full and effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms for persons with disabilities and to respect their inherent dignity. 

Mr. Abidi lauded Kenya’s efforts, in particular, in empowering persons with disabilities, as demonstrated by its recent constitutional changes, which had enabled the participation of people with disabilities, and had made that country a genuine leader and a role model, not just for the African continent, but for the whole of the global South.

This week’s meeting comes two months before the General Assembly is scheduled to convene a high-level meeting on disability and development on 23 September, under the theme “The way forward:  a disability inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond".

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.