26 October 2016, New York – European Union Intervention at the 71st United Nations General Assembly Third Committee Interactive Dialogue with the Chair of the Committee on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Ms. Maria Soledad Cisternas Reyes (GA res. 70/145, § 7)
Thank you Madame Chair,
The EU would like to thank the Chair of the Committee of the Rights of Persons with disabilities for her report and this opportunity to exchange with her.
The EU is proud to be the only International Organisation that is Party to the Convention. Let me recall that in August 2015, the EU went through its first ever review by a Treaty Body. We are very pleased with the outcome of this process and the good cooperation that followed.
In the context of the 10th anniversary of the CRPD, the European Union would like to underline the importance of the Convention as the most progressive and inclusive human rights treaty that has made a real paradigm-shift with regard to the human rights of persons with disabilities by recognizing the role of disabled organizations in its implementation. The EU also welcomes the 2030 Agenda which for the first time has included the human rights of persons with disabilities in development action at global level. The EU attaches great importance to the implementation of the SDGs from the perspective of the human rights of persons with disabilities in line with the CRPD and will actively engage on all initiatives related to the advancement of the human rights of persons with disabilities that will be presented in the Third Committee.
The EU welcomes the ongoing work of the Committee, and would like to refer to the two General Comments delivered this year on articles 24 (inclusive education), and 6 (women with disabilities).
The promotion of inclusive education is key to achieving the right to education for persons with disabilities. This entails not only integrating children with disabilities in mainstream education, but also providing accessible public spaces, and integrating a human-diversity approach in teaching methods and materials, as it is laid out in the General Comment. This is a challenging process because it is not only a question of funding, but of elaborating a complete new approach to teaching. There is evidence that when appropriate accommodation is implemented, children with disabilities have smaller dropout rates and feel more motivated.
We also stress the importance of the General Comment on women with disabilities. As figures show, women with disabilities face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination that constitute a major obstacle to the full realization of their Human Rights. We agree that “policies for gender equality have traditionally made disability invisible, and disability policies have overlooked gender”. The General recommendation gives important guidance and outlines how to make the human rights of women with disabilities more “visible”. In this vein, we would like to ask you whether you are aware of good practices implemented by regional organisations or national authorities that aim at making gender policies “disability sensitive”.
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