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Speech by Akiko Fujii, UNDP Deputy Country Director (on behalf of the United Nations in Viet Nam) at the International conference “Promoting the Implementation Monitoring of the UN Convention on Persons with Disabilities”

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Date: 18 April 2017 (8:30am)
Event: International conference “Promoting the Implementation Monitoring of the UN Convention on Persons with Disabilities”
Venue: InterContinental Hanoi, No.5 Tu Hoa Street, Tay Ho

Excellencies

  • Vice chairman Do Manh Hung, National Assembly Office
  • Vice chairwoman Le Thi Nguyet, National Assembly’s Social Affairs Committee
  • Ms. Dang Huynh Mai - Chairperson of Viet Nam Federation of Disabilities (VFD)
  • Mr. Michael Greene,  Mission Director, USAID Viet Nam
  • Government Representatives
  • Representatives of Organisations of Disabled People, Civil Society Organizations
  • Development partner and UN colleagues
  • Ladies and gentlemen

I wish to extend a warm welcome to all participants.

Let me especially welcome our special guest, Mr. Monthian Buntan, a member of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities who has travelled all the way from Geneva where he attended the 17th session of the CRPD Committee to join us for this conference, and who undoubtedly is one of the most prominent experts on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and in the field of international human rights. Through his engagement as a Committee member and a social activist from Thailand, he not only brings normative insight but also practical expertise on how to transform the words of the Convention into concrete policies and follow-up.

As Viet Nam prepares initial report on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, this Conference is very timely to reflect on the progress made in the implementation of the Convention Viet Nam, as a signatory to this Convention since 2015. Such reflections will lay the foundation for a greater inclusion, human rights and quality of lives of the estimated one-in-seven adults and children who live with some form of disability.

Nearly two year has passed since world leaders at the United Nations endorsed the new global development agenda to help “Transform our World”. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with 17 Sustainable Development Goals is a commitment to eliminate poverty, exclusion and violence. To achieve the SDGs in Viet Nam, the specific needs of people with disabilities must be considered in each and every goal. In June last year, the Government approved the National Plan of Action to implement the Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities. Such progress is ground-breaking for Viet Nam to follow through its commitments under the Convention and the SDGs.

Since the ratification, the UN in Viet Nam has been working closely with the relevant Government agencies to develop the National Plan of Action, and to strengthen monitoring mechanisms, including the development of monitoring indicators ahead of the country’s first review on the implementation of the Convention. Human rights monitoring can play a key role in supporting States to effectively implement the Convention at national level.  Effective monitoring will also help persons with disabilities to become increasingly aware of their rights, therefore bringing about positive change in the lives of persons with disabilities.

Human rights work requires preparation, technical skills and substantive knowledge in order to be effectively conducted. Therefore, I hope our discussion at this conference will facilitate knowledge sharing, open discussion, and assist Disabled Persons Organizations, Persons with Disabilities and other human rights monitors—including from Governments, non-governmental organizations—to engage in monitoring the rights of persons with disabilities, in line with the Convention.

Women and children with disabilities are too often amongst the most marginalized in all societies and face unique challenges in the enjoyment of human rights. For a long time it was assumed that such challenges were the unavoidable consequences of their physical, mental, or sensory impairment. I hope the discussion will pay special attention to the unique challenges that women and children with disabilities are faced, and facilitate positive solutions.  

Disabilities rights are human rights. Looking ahead, the UN stands ready to provide support in a number of areas to remain a committed partner in helping to “make rights real” for persons with disabilities in Viet Nam. UN is committed to provide support to the Government of Viet Nam to make policies and programmes to align with Convention and support achievement of related SDG targets. That includes the support to have accurate data on adults and children with disabilities for effective policy development and programming of interventions; and develop standards for inclusive services for persons with disabilities among them early identification and interventions of children with disabilities is crucial. Monitoring the inclusion, non-discrimination and protection of rights with participation of Organisations of Persons with Disabilities will remain a central part of our collective efforts.

Let me finish by underlining the UN’s continued commitment to work with the Government, CSOs and all other stakeholders for Viet Nam where everyone has the right to live full, productive and meaningful life. I hope the discussions will be fruitful toward our collective action to protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities.

Thank you.