Particularly affected by poverty, unemployment and social, economic and political exclusion, millions of differently abled persons are demanding that their situation no longer goes unnoticed, a demand that is gaining support within the United Nations.

According to UN statistics, 1.1 million people in the world – almost 15 percent of the total population - has some type of physical, psychic, sensory or mental disability. This situation must be taken into consideration if humanity aims to attain the goal of promoting well-being for all, one of the main goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development approved in September 2015.

Particularly affected by poverty, unemployment and social, economic and political exclusion, millions of differently abled persons are demanding that their situation no longer goes unnoticed, a demand that is gaining support within the United Nations.The UN sustains that eight in every ten handicapped people suffer the consequences of poverty, a situation that affects developing countries in particular and most specifically, women and adolescents.

During the 9th session of the State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, more than 1,000 delegates from all five continents debated the progress and challenges faced in implementing the instrument approved in 2006.

The document sustains that disabled people must enjoy all basic human rights, and refers to spheres where it is necessary to make changes so that they can actually have their rights respected.

According to South Korean ambassador, Oh Joon, president of the aforementioned 9th session, the threeday meeting facilitated an assessment of achievements attained and of the vast tasks still to be addressed.

He told The Havana Reporter during a press conference that the agenda advocates the principle of leaving no one behind, very appropriate in the case of disabled people, a particularly vulnerable sector.

Joon highlighted the importance of getting universal approval for the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, to which 165 countries have joined, and called for the remaining 30 others to also sign.


The president of the UN Committee on the Rights of People with Disabilities, María Soledad Cisternas, said the first thing to be done is to have the convention approved across the world.

The Chilean lawyer told The Havana Reporter, „there are many challenges, but that would represent a good start.”

Cisternas also called for respect for the human rights of people with any form of physical, psychic, sensorial or mental disability and stressed how important it is to promote legal recognition for disabled people and their right makes decisions about their economic status and their own bodies.

It is imperative to overcome problems like sterilization without consent, the lack of consultation on surgeries and treatments, violence and abuse.

The lawyer added that the challenge to ensure access to quality and inclusive education is of no less concern and she reiterated the obstacles faced by women and children in that sector.

Paul Deany, a UN official with responsibility for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Asia-Pacific region said that “The main challenge now is that people with disabilities be treated as equals in society, with due recognition in front of the law and the same rights as the rest of human beings.”

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