Fourteenth Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Joint Statement by the Group of Friends of Persons with Disabilities delivered by New Zealand Permanent Representative, H.E. Craig J. Hawke, 15 June 2021.

I am honoured to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of Friends of Persons with Disabilities.

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact globally, and has exposed and heightened inequities across populations. This year’s theme urges consideration of how we, as an international community, can build back better.

We must work together to understand and address the impact of the pandemic on persons with disabilities while fully respecting and protecting their rights. Efforts should be supported to remove barriers to inclusion, and ensure that the rights of persons with disabilities are realised without discrimination. This includes the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, without discrimination on the basis of disability, as recognised in Article 25 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Developing communications and education that is inclusive and accessible for persons with disabilities is critical to keep populations informed. There is a need to be flexible in the provision of services for persons with disabilities and their families to ensure that changing needs are met.

As we respond to COVID-19, there is a need to build the capacity of all stakeholders in the delivery of technical expertise in implementing the Convention and the 2030 Agenda. We encourage efforts to further mainstream these practices including by improving the collection of disaggregated data. The integration of age-sensitive, gender-responsive, and other inclusive approaches into all COVID-19 responses is also important in meeting the multiple needs of persons with disabilities and protecting their rights.

We welcome the continued efforts undertaken by the UN. These include the recommendations on a disability-inclusive response to COVID-19, as well as the UN Disability Inclusion Strategy.

The full implementation of the Convention needs to be done in partnership and with the full and meaningful participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations. We all are in this together, if we truly mean “no one is left behind”.

We call on all States Parties to ensure a disability-inclusive response to COVID-19 and beyond, and to enhance implementation of the Convention for all.

Thank you.


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