- May 24, 2013

Geneva, 24 May 2013 - The meeting was held yesterday between Ms. Navanethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Chair of IDA, Mr. Yannis Vardakastanis, to discuss ways in which to increase the mainstreaming of the rights of persons with disabilities within the work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

In her opening words Ms. Pillay conveyed OHCHR’s commitment to promote the rights of persons with disabilities around the world and encouraged the idea to have bilateral meeting with relevant civil society organizations.

IDA Chair congratulated the increasing work of the OHCHR in mainstreaming disability rights through its Office and the recent appointment of Facundo Chavez as disability focal point, as well as on promoting political participation of persons with disabilities.

He explained that IDA is actively supporting the work of the CRPD Committee as well as of other treaty bodies, in order to include the rights of persons with disabilities, including by providing technical support to organizations of persons with disabilities to report before such bodies.

In order to advance the rights of persons with disabilities, the IDA Chair suggested that the OHCHR should establish a Disability Policy, with the aim to provide internal guidance on how to ensure that a disability perspective is reflected throughout all OHCHR policy formulation, programming development, implementation of actions and strategies, monitoring and evaluation.

Furthermore, it was proposed to include disability rights into the ongoing planning process for the next Management Plan 2013- 2017, as well as to include persons with disabilities in actions carried out by regional and country offices on access to justice and basic services.

Finally, the IDA Chair proposed to create a Fellowship programme for persons with disabilities which could lead to the employment of more persons with disabilities by the OHCHR. Ms Pillay welcomed IDA’s support and proposals, noting her concern to ensure more resources to the CRPD Committee. She expressed that she will call on her officers to pay particular attention to mainstream disability rights in to the ongoing OHCHR Planning Process.

Despite relevant budget cuts, Ms Pillay welcomed the idea to create a Fellowship programme for persons with disabilities and engaged her Office to closely explore the possibilities to implement such programme, welcoming IDA’s support in fundraising.

To conclude, Ms Pillay informed that her Office is developing, in collaboration with UN DESA, a UN wide policy on accessibility, which very soon will be submitted for stakeholders’ consultation.

Contact: Tchaurea Fleury at tfleury [at]
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