“Mainstreaming the rights of persons with disabilities in the post-2015 development agenda.”
Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Statement by: H.E. Mr. Ahmed Sareer
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations
New York, 9 June 2015
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, distinguished delegates and colleagues,
The delegation of the Republic of Maldives welcomes this opportunity to contribute to the Eighth Session of the Conference of States Parties on the rights of persons with disabilities. Let me take this opportunity to congratulate you and the Bureau members of the Conference as well as the secretariat for all their efforts, including the provision of background papers to facilitate round tables and panel discussions with regards to the fulfilment of the rights of persons with disabilities. We are happy to be here today and to contribute to the work aimed at improving attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities.
With around 15 per cent of the world’s populations subject to discrimination due to disability, the Maldives believes that strong policies and practices are essential to address the vulnerabilities of persons with disabilities.
The Constitution of the Maldives guarantees the full enjoyment of equal rights and fundamental freedoms to persons with disabilities. To further strengthen and ensure the provision of their rights, the Maldives enacted the Disability Act five years ago. Establishment of the Disability Council under the Disability Act has become a defining moment in advancing the rights of persons with disabilities. The Act established a Disabilities Register, providing persons enlisted with monthly subsidies. This allowance, together with comprehensive healthcare has eased their lives to a certain extent, especially for those living in poverty.
Currently, the Government is in the process of accepting a National Disability Policy in accordance with the Disability Act. This policy will go as far as to allocate social housing options to persons with disabilities, to ensure the provision of an accessible home to this vulnerable population. The Government has also finalized measures for special schooling accessibility for children with disabilities.
Despite these efforts, we recognize that our job is far from done. We still face challenges in developing and implementing effective measures to combat inequality among persons with disabilities. This is in part attributed to the unique challenges and vulnerabilities owing to the geography and size of the Maldives, making it extremely difficult to serve a highly dispersed population of persons with disabilities. Ensuring appropriate healthcare, mobility and accessibility of services to our 200 inhabited islands still proves to be extremely difficult, yet the Government of the Republic of Maldives remains committed in ensuring that this goal is achieved completely. In order to achieve this goal, the Maldives, like many developing countries, requires the assistance, expertise and support of the international community.
In the face of the numerous challenges faced by the Maldives, much also remains to be done for the international community. As we approach the post-2015 development agenda summit, we, as a global community, should acknowledge the remaining gaps and ensure that safeguards for the rights of persons with disabilities are incorporated into the new agenda, as the perspectives of the vulnerable and marginalized populations in society are of utmost importance. We must find a way to mainstreaming disability and realize a disability-inclusive 2015 development agenda.
The agenda should guarantee non-discrimination and it should include a policy approach that empowers those most in need. The Maldives believes that it is important to actively support vulnerable groups by empowering them and creating an enabling environment, which allows them to exercise their rights and responsibilities in order to be active members of their communities, that allows them to optimize their capacities, resources and opportunities to become productive and valuable partners in development.
One billion people live with disabilities. The international community needs to once again reinforce its commitment to a disability inclusive growth approach and therefore, we call for the full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in the elaboration, implementation and monitoring of the new agenda.