New York

02 December 2016

Secretary-General's remarks on the 10th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities [as delivered]

I am pleased to be with you today.
I thank the President of the General Assembly for his introductory remarks and for convening this important meeting.
And I welcome our distinguished Messenger of Peace, Mr. Stevie Wonder. I know that he is coming.
We -- and the world -- are grateful for his uplifting music and inspiring example.
Ladies and Gentlemen, today, we celebrate the adoption of 10th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
With 169 Parties, it is now one of our most widely ratified international human rights instruments.
Along with its Optional Protocol, the Convention has helped to promote the rights and advancement of persons with disabilities and bring them to the centre of development efforts.
This year, the world embarked on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.
With 17 integrated and interdependent Sustainable Development Goals, this is our global blueprint for a future of peace, prosperity, dignity and opportunity for all people, everywhere.
That is the future we all want.
To achieve it, we must end discrimination, remove barriers and ensure equal participation for all persons with disabilities.
In the past decade, we have seen much progress.  
But, persons with disabilities continue to face grave disadvantages.
They are still commonly denied fundamental rights, and are more likely to live in poverty.
Children with disabilities are less likely than their non-disabled peers to start school or complete a full education.
And adults with disabilities are less likely to be employed. 
Inaccessible work places, discrimination and negative attitudes are a major barrier.
People with disabilities also have more difficulty in accessing health-care providers with appropriate skills.
And they are more vulnerable to secondary health conditions and premature death.
So, ladies and gentlemen, it is clear that we have much to do in the coming years.
The Sustainable Development Goals are designed to reduce inequality and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all people of all ages and abilities.
They promise to leave no one behind.
In implementing them, we must secure the full inclusion and effective participation of persons with disabilities in society and development.
Disability is addressed throughout the 2030 Agenda.
It featured at the UN Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, in May, where I presided over the Special Session that led to a Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action.
And the discrimination faced by persons with disabilities is also addressed in the New Urban Agenda, adopted in October, at the HABITAT III conference in Quito, Ecuador.
Our duty now is to turn these commitments into action.
Tomorrow is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
I call on national and local Governments, businesses and all actors in society to intensify efforts to end discrimination and remove the environmental and attitudinal obstacles that prevent persons with disabilities from enjoying their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. 
Let us work together for the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in an inclusive and sustainable world that embraces humanity in all its diversity.
Thank you very much.