22 May 2012
Sueños: performance par des enfants équatoriens
Opening remarks by Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva
“Sueños: performance par des enfants équatoriens”
Palais des Nations, Room XX, E Building, 3rd floor
Tuesday, 22 March 2012 at 6:30 p.m.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is a pleasure to welcome you all for this special event. I am especially pleased that Vice-President Moreno and the Ministers from Ecuador are able to be here this evening. This only shows the importance that Ecuador accords to the protection and promotion of human rights, and specifically for those of persons with disabilities. I would additionally like to thank the Permanent Mission of Ecuador for its organization of this performance.
The human rights of persons with disabilities should be promoted for the same reason that human rights are promoted for all other people: because of the inherent and equal dignity and worth of each human being. Over 650 million people - close to 10 per cent of the world’s population - live with disabilities. They account for 20 per cent of the world’s poorest. In most countries, persons with disabilities have difficulty attending school, getting a job, voting and obtaining health care. Marginalizing persons with disabilities and encouraging them to remain dependent is costly, both for their families and for the general public. However, empowering persons with disabilities to live independently and contribute to society is both socially and economically beneficial. In the few countries that have passed comprehensive legislation aimed at promoting and protecting the basic rights of persons with disabilities, those individuals live fulfilling and independent lives.
The United Nations has worked for decades to ensure the well-being and human rights of all people. Since it opened for signature in 2007, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has been signed by 153 Member States. The Convention represents a paradigm shift in which persons with disabilities are no longer regarded as objects of charity and welfare, but as persons with equal rights and dignity who can make an enormous contribution to society in their own right. Its adoption, and number of signatories, show a unity of purpose of the international community on this issue. At the same time, it is also a reaffirmation that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
We are making progress. Ecuador, in particular, is making progress. And I am very pleased that we are able to showcase these achievements here at the Palais des Nations. Human rights belong to everyone. And it is through the protection and promotion of these rights – for everyone – that we build a better and more inclusive future for us all.
Thank you for your attention.