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Speech by Dr Pratibha Mehta, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam on the the International Day on Disability and Viet Nam’s ratification of Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

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Time: Wednesday, 3rd December 2014
Event: Celebrating the International Day on Disability and Viet Nam’s ratification of Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Venue: Lotte Hotel, Ha Noi

H.E. Mr. Vu Duc Dam, Deputy Prime Minister;
H.E. Mdm. Pham Thi Hai Chuyen, Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs;
Mr. Ngo Duc Manh, Vice-Chairman – Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly;
Mr. Youssouf Adel-Jelil, Representative of UNICEF Viet Nam;
Mr. Joakim Parker, USAID Country Director;
Mr. Akiie Ninomiya, Director of Asia-Pacific Development Centre on Disability;
Representatives of Vietnamese Government line sectors;
Representatives of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities;
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Every year on the 3rd of December we come together to celebrate the International Day of People with Disability. This is a UN sanctioned day that celebrates progress across the world in breaking down barriers, opening doors, and realizing a more inclusive society for all.

In Viet Nam, this year, we have even more to celebrate. As you know, last week the National Assembly ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

This is a major landmark in Viet Nam’s journey to realize human rights. It builds on a number of steps that Viet Nam has taken since signing the Convention in 2007 to improve the lives of the estimated one in seven adults and children in Viet Nam who live with some form of disability.

This Convention is a key international human rights treaty.
It is groundbreaking in the way it shifts our perception of people with disabilities as being dependent, to becoming key actors and decision makers in their own lives.

It transforms people with disabilities into “rights holders” and “subjects of law” – able to participate fully in all aspects of social, political, economic and cultural life. By ratifying the CRPD, Viet Nam joins the one hundred and fifty one countries that have taken this important step.

By ratifying, Viet Nam is fulfilling a key recommendation in the most recent Universal Periodic Review of Viet Nam’s performance on Human Rights.

On behalf of the United Nations in Viet Nam, I would like to congratulate the National Assembly, especially the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, and organizations of persons with disabilities for this landmark achievement. It reflects your combined leadership in advocating, preparing and supporting the complex ratification process.

By ratifying, Viet Nam is making a binding commitment to work tirelessly for inclusion, and to address the many barriers people with disabilities still face on a daily basis.

Over the past year, the United Nations in Viet Nam has strongly supported the Government and the organizations of persons with disabilities prepare for the ratification of the Convention.

Through our Joint Programme on Disability, with participation of ILO, UNDP and UNICEF continue to work closely with the Ministry of Labour, Invalids, Social Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Assembly.

Now that the Convention is ratified, as the UN, we stand ready to help with implementation.

In particular the UN will help Government and disability organizations to work together to continue strengthening the legal framework; to advocate for the setting up of an independent monitoring mechanism in which organizations of persons with disabilities can play a strong role; and continue helping Viet Nam to implement the policies and programmes that are needed to promote a fully inclusive society, including those with disabilities.

Only by working together as Government, Development Partners and Civil Society Organizations, can we help make Viet Nam a truly inclusive and equitable country for all.

As Ban Ki-moon said at the High Level meeting on disability at the General Assembly in New York late last year: “Everyone has the right to happiness … to score their own goals … to see the sun … and expand their horizons.”

Together, on this special International Day of People with Disability let us celebrate this historic achievement.

Let us continue working for a Viet Nam where everyone has the right to live full, productive and meaningful lives.

Thank you.