9 December 2010
UN Special Rapporteur discusses the rights of persons with disabilities at Commonwealth Secretariat multicultural event
The UN Special Rapporteur on Disability, Shuaib Chalklen, has called on the Commonwealth “to lead the world in the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”, at the Commonwealth Secretariat’s headquarters in London on 8 December.
Mr Chalklen was speaking at a multicultural event at the Secretariat highlighting the rights of persons with disabilities, ahead of Human Rights Day on 10 December.
He advocated the mainstreaming of disability in all development work so that policy-makers and those working on country assistance programmes considered the impact of their work on the human rights of disabled people. He also highlighted the critical role of the media, good governance and a vibrant civil society to the successful realisation of the rights of people with disabilities.
Parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are required to promote, protect, and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities and ensure that they enjoy full equality under the law.
The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the body of independent experts which monitors implementation of the Convention.
“It would be difficult to fully realise the purpose of the Convention without the commitment to accountability, transparency, participation of a vibrant civil society, and a commitment to provide the resources to meet the provisions of the articles of the Convention,” Mr Chalklen said.
Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Ransford Smith echoed his words: “Persons with disabilities not only have a contribution to make to development – they have a right to participate in, enjoy and benefit fully from development. It is only when persons with disabilities realise their full potential that we can say we have achieved equality.
“There is much more we in the Commonwealth and also in the Secretariat need to do to promote and ensure fulfilment of the rights of persons with disabilities. We are proud in the Commonwealth that 24 of our member countries embraced the Convention – the speed at which countries have ratified this relatively young Convention should be applauded.”
The event, organised by the Human Rights Unit (HRU) of the Commonwealth Secretariat, also saw the launch of a new video, Human Rights: More than Words, as well as a publication, Human Rights in the Commonwealth – A Status Report 2010.
Dr Purna Sen, Head of HRU, said: “The publication is designed to record where the Commonwealth stands in its commitment to human rights, to celebrate its achievements and to highlight where further work needs to be done.
“This publication includes some of the positive stories of work being done across the Commonwealth to highlight the rights of persons with disabilities.”
A seminar on disability rights will be held on 9 December at the Commonwealth Secretariat headquarters in London, where Mr Chalklen and members of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - Edah Maina and Monsur Choudhuri - will share their work with Secretariat staff.