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COUNCIL HOLDS INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE WITH EXPERTS ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES AND ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH ALBINISM

6 March 2018

The Human Rights Council this afternoon held a clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Catalina Devandas Aguilar, and the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, Ikponwosa Ero.

Presenting her report, Ms. Devandas Aguilar focused on the right of persons with disabilities to equal recognition before the law.  Although the right of people of disabilities to full enjoyment of legal capacity was explicitly acknowledged by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in practice persons with disabilities had been subjected to grave violations of their rights.  Still, States had undergone legal reforms and had established support systems for persons with disabilities.  Thus, some good practices were in place.  Ms. Devandas Aguilar noted that States had to guarantee access to justice on an equal footing; otherwise, inclusion policies would be redundant.  She spoke about her trips to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and to Kazakhstan.

In her presentation, Ms. Ero explained that her report focused on the right to health of persons with albinism, on challenges and issues regarding harmful practices emanating from witchcraft, and some good news on the development of a regional action plan to combat attacks and related human rights violations.  One of the most pressing health issues faced by persons with albinism was skin cancer, yet the remedies were simple.  Turning to witchcraft, Ms. Ero noted that of all the root causes of physical attacks against persons with albinism, such as poverty and ignorance about the condition, the issue of witchcraft was one that had not been developed or properly addressed at national and international levels.  She spoke about her trip to Uruguay.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kazakhstan and Tanzania spoke as concerned countries.

In the discussion on persons with disabilities, speakers agreed that the guarantees of the right to legal capacity and supported decision-making were essential for the realization of all other rights.  They affirmed that the report provided useful guidance concerning equal recognition under the law, and called on the international community to make further advances in the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities.   Speakers asked the Special Rapporteur to share best practices and offer examples of effectively ensuring the implementation of the principle of equality before the law.  They specifically asked about how low-income countries could move toward the adoption of new measures based on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Regarding persons with albinism, speakers condemned attacks and different forms of violence against persons with albinism, underlining the need to enforce laws to better protect persons with albinism against abuses.  Awareness raising and prevention strategies needed to be adopted to that end.  Speakers inquired about the role of international mechanisms in addressing the issue of witchcraft as a harmful practice, and noted that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provided an important policy framework for promoting the social inclusion of persons with albinism.

Speaking in the discussion were the European Union, Mexico on behalf of a group of countries, Togo on behalf of the African Group, Jordan on behalf of the Arab Group, Sierra Leone, Kuwait, Montenegro, United Nations Children’s Fund, Israel, Finland, Russia, Brazil, Pakistan, Egypt, Senegal, Tunisia, Spain, Libya, Paraguay, Singapore, United States, South Africa, Norway, Viet Nam, Italy, Togo, Hungary, Australia, Chile, Cuba, France, China, Myanmar, Morocco, Greece, Venezuela, Benin, Iran, Costa Rica, Thailand, Peru, Maldives, Algeria, Sudan, Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Kenya, Ecuador and Azerbaijan.

Russian Federation, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Israel spoke in a right of reply. 


The Council will resume its work on Wednesday, 7 March, at 10 a.m. when it will hear the presentation of the annual report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, to be followed by the continuation of the clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on violence against children, and with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for children and armed conflict.  The Council will then resume its clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, and with the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism.  At the end of the day, the Council will hold the annual debate on the rights of persons with disabilities.


Documentation

The Council has before it the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities (A/HRC/37/56).

The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities – mission to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (A/HRC/37/56/Add.1).

The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities – mission to Kazakhstan (A/HRC/37/56/Add.2).

The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities – comments by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (A/HRC/37/56/Add.3).

The Council has before it the Report of the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism (A/HRC/37/57).

The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism – mission to Uruguay (A/HRC/37/57/Add.1).

The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism – mission to Mongolia (A/HRC/37/57/Add.2)

Presentations by the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of Human Rights by Persons with Albinism

CATALINA DEVANDAS AGUILAR, Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, introduced her thematic study on the rights of persons with disabilities to equal recognition before the law, a right which was fully acknowledged by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  In practice, however, this right was subjected to grave violations – persons with disabilities were confined in institutions, subjected to guardianship and forced sterilization – and yet, such violations were receiving little attention.  Since the adoption of the Convention there had been much improvement in the recognition of the legal capacity of persons with disabilities, noted the Special Rapporteur; the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities had adopted a General Comment on equal recognition before the law, and a number of States had completed legal reforms and were moving toward the establishment of decision-making support systems.  Ms. Devandas Aguilar noted a whole range of measures that States could implement to recognize the legal capacity of persons with disabilities, starting with the extensive review of existing legislation, including family law, contract law, and mental health law, promoting an effective access to support mechanisms, and guaranteeing access to justice on an equal footing, including through training for the judiciary and awareness raising activities targeting public authorities and the private sector.  A cultural change had to come about in terms of how communities perceived persons with disabilities, stressed the Special Rapporteur.

Turning to the visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Special Rapporteur, welcomed the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Marrakesh Treaty.  Still, persons with disabilities were experiencing difficulties in access to education, health and employment; there was no access to public buildings for the disabled, and little efforts were being made to promote the autonomy of persons with disabilities.  Unfortunately, the Special Rapporteur was unable to visit psychiatric institutions in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  As for her visit to Kazakhstan, Ms. Devandas Aguilar recognized the growing commitment to addressing the rights of persons with disabilities.  She acknowledged the efforts to align the legislative framework with the obligations arising from the Convention, and the adoption of the national strategy on the inclusion of persons with disabilities and its action plan.  However, 80,000 children and adults with disabilities were living in special institutions and there had been no move toward their deinstitutionalization.  The educational system needed to be transformed to become inclusive, as currently children with disabilities were segregated.

IKPONWOSA ERO, Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, said it had been nearly three years since the mandate had been established at the United Nations Human Rights Council, and in this short period of time, a lot had been accomplished.  Her report focused on the right to health of persons with albinism and on challenges and issues regarding harmful practices emanating from witchcraft.  The report also contained some good news on the development of a regional action plan to combat attacks and related human rights violations, developed in open consultation and through collaboration between the mandate and the African Union’s Commission on Human and People’s Rights.  One of the most pressing health issues faced by persons with albinism was skin cancer, which was the cause of early death in a majority of the persons with albinism - most died by the age of 40 due to this preventable condition.  The remedies were simple, stressed the Independent Expert and included listing sunscreen on the national list of essential medicines, particularly where such products were not ordinarily available, and ensuring that sunscreen was provided both as a measure of reasonable accommodation under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as a measure of access to the highest attainable standard of health under the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights. 

Speaking on the issue of witchcraft, the Independent Expert noted that of all the root causes of physical attacks against persons with albinism, such as poverty and ignorance about the condition, the issue of witchcraft was one that had not been developed or properly addressed at national and international levels.  To enable greater understanding of witchcraft on the enjoyment of human rights, she had organized a workshop in Geneva in September 2017, where participants discussed the various manifestations of witchcraft, its scope, the difficulties associated with its definition, and its links to harmful practices as well as ritual attacks and killings.  The recommendations on the way forward were included in the report.  The good news was the Regional Action Plan on Albinism in Africa, which addressed attacks and related human rights violations against persons with albinism.  The plan had been adopted through open and broad consultations with representatives from the United Nations, the African Union, Governments and organizations of persons with albinism, civil society organizations, representatives from academia and national human rights organizations.  The Plan had been endorsed by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights in May 2017, and the implementation strategy was currently being finalized, said the Independent Expert. 

Finally, referring to her mission to Tanzania, Ms. Ero noted a serious challenge of attacks against persons with albinism beginning in 2006, which reportedly numbered between 100 and 200, but there was general consensus that the number of reported attacks had declined.  However, it seemed that it had become more complicated to publicly report and denounce such cases due, perhaps, to restrictions on what might be published or a growing sense of national shame round the issue.  Ms. Ero commended the Government for counting persons with albinism in the last census by including a specific question to that effect, as well as commending the progress in the prosecution of cases.  Many good steps had been taken, however, many of these were initiated by civil society, and renewed political will was necessary, concluded the Independent Expert.

Statements by the Concerned Countries

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, speaking as a concerned country, expressed hope that the discussions and interactions that the Special Rapporteur had during her visit had been very useful in getting first-hand information on the situation concerning persons with disabilities.  Some references contained in the report did not correctly reflect the reality on the ground.  Many developments had taken place since the visit, including the participation of the Government in the meetings of the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.  The initial report on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was being prepared as well as the report to the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review to be considered the following year.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continued to reject politicization, selectivity and double standards of human rights.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea highlighted the negative impact of Security Council resolutions on livelihoods and on the delivery of baby carriages and corrective and orthopaedic tools for persons with disabilities.

Kazakhstan, speaking as a concerned country, explained that Kazakhstan had started the process of gradual accession to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008.  It had adopted an action plan to improve the living conditions of persons with disabilities, and it was currently implementing its third stage.  Next, it would consider the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention and would align the definition of disability with the Convention.  Kazakhstan planned to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty by the end of the year.  According to the Constitution, no one could be subject to discrimination under any grounds, stressed Kazakhstan, and said that there was no need to introduce any amendments to the Constitution to address disability-based discrimination.  As for inclusive education, national laws stipulated that families could select schools for their children in consultation with relevant experts, and all persons with disabilities had their right to vote secured.

Tanzania, speaking as a concerned country, said that the visit by the Independent Expert had been facilitated by the Government, which was fully committed to the protection of human rights.  The Government had taken legal, political and administrative measures to curb discrimination against persons with albinism.  Education and awareness raising campaigns were essential in that endeavour.  The Persons with Albinism Act of 2010 ensured their rights and the Government continued to prioritize the prosecution of crimes against persons with albinism.  A special task force had been set up to that end.  As a result, the number of crimes against persons with albinism had declined.   The Government had decided to temporarily suspend licenses for traditional healers, to address witchcraft, and to involve persons with albinism in decision-making.  However, its efforts had been limited due to resource constraints.  Contrary to the report’s conclusion, the entire Government treated the rights of persons with albinism as a priority.

Interactive Dialogue

European Union said that the European Disability Strategy until 2020 was a strategy to build a barrier-free Europe, fully supplementing national policies to promote equality for all.  What could be the role of international mechanisms in addressing the issue of witchcraft as a harmful practice?  Mexico, speaking on behalf of a group of countries, recognized the change of paradigm concerning the legal capacity of persons with disabilities.  States which still had reservations concerning the equality of persons with disabilities were urged to abandon such reservations.  Jordan, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, reaffirmed that Islamic law guaranteed equality before the law and recognized the legal capacity of persons with disabilities.  The international community was called on to provide assistance to countries which had been exposed to terrorism.

Togo, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that the African Union declared in 2010 the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities.  Concerning persons with albinism, interregional dialogue was being promoted through the development of regional networks and regional action plans which had provided important guidance, particularly on the right to non-discrimination.  Sierra Leone said that with over 600 reported cases of attacks against persons with albinism in over a decade, there was a need to enforce laws to better protect against abuses.  Awareness raising and prevention strategies had to be established to ensure adapted health and medical interventions.

Kuwait agreed that there was a need to empower persons with disabilities by ensuring their equality before the law.  In 2010, Kuwait had adopted the Disability Act, which required the State to provide persons with disabilities with the same services as it did to other citizens.  Montenegro stated that the current substituted decision-making and guardianship regime for persons with disabilities had been identified as an area of concern.  Montenegro believed that introducing the human rights-based approach towards persons with disabilities was the only way towards their full social inclusion.  United Nations Children’s Fund voiced concern about the silencing of the voices of children and adolescents with disabilities, and about the violations of the rights of children with albinism.  It agreed that erroneous beliefs and myths perpetuated those violations. 

Israel noted that it had passed an amendment to the Legal Capacity and Guardianship Law, which brought the country closer to the supported decision-making paradigm.  On persons with albinism, Israel appreciated the study on the main health issues involved, including intersecting forms of discrimination.  Finland emphasized that persons with disabilities had to be treated equally with others, and there should be no restriction on their legal capacity.  Finnish law did not restrict the right of a person declared illegally incompetent to make decisions on employment relationships.   Russian Federation agreed that legal capacity should not be limited in any way.  Nevertheless, Russian law contained a provision on active legal capacity.  Only a court could declare limited legal capacity.

Brazil said that the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities had been incorporated in the national law.  The 2030 Agenda provided an important policy framework for promoting the social inclusion of persons with albinism.  Pakistan said it had established the National Council for Persons with Disabilities with the view to bring all stakeholders on board, including persons with disabilities.  Pakistan appreciated the finalization of a regional action plan on albinism in Africa to address attacks and human rights violations against persons with albinism.  Egypt affirmed that persons with disabilities were equal before the law under the Constitution and had access to public buildings; public servants had been trained in sign language.  Persons with albinism were often discriminated against in the labour market but the authorities were monitoring the situation closely.

Senegal said that persons with disabilities were full-fledged citizens and discrimination was prohibited under the Constitution.  Acts of witchcraft involving persons with albinism were strictly punished under the law and campaigns were regularly conducted to respect the rights of people with albinism.  Tunisia called on the international community to further promote the rights of persons with disabilities.  All forms of violence against persons with albinism were condemned.  Spain welcomed the guidance included in the report concerning equal recognition before the law of persons with disabilities.  What good recommendations could be shared by the Special Rapporteur for the further promotion of rights?

Libya confirmed the relevance of ensuring that persons with disabilities were part of development strategies.  Despite the transitional period in the country, Libya had given priority to the rights of persons with disabilities.  Paraguay stressed that the termination of legal capacity for persons with disabilities considerably reduced their capacity to participate in social life.  The Supreme Court had developed a protocol on access to justice by persons with disabilities.  Singapore clarified that its Mental Capacity Act provided the legal framework for empowering and protecting all citizens, including persons with disabilities, who lacked mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.  Such persons were provided support to enable them to make as many decisions of their own as possible. 

United States appreciated the ratification by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  However, there were still egregious policies and practices towards persons with disabilities that were consistent with the country’s overall abuses and violations of human rights.  South Africa noted that its Constitutional Court emphasized the primary role of the State in promoting the rights of persons with disabilities.  On persons with albinism, it reminded that it had been the first country to record the successful prosecution of a person who had planned and organized a crime against a person with albinism.  Norway did not agree that the Convention required States to repeal regimes of substitute decision-making or to abolish legislation that allowed for forced treatment of persons with serious mental disabilities, on an individual basis, when that was necessary as the measure of last resort. 

Viet Nam said it had established a national commission in 2015 to make recommendations on the rights and interests of persons with disabilities and assistance was being provided to persons with disabilities to exercise their legal capacity, in line with the law on the rights of persons with disabilities and the law on legal aid.  The principle of equality before the law was guaranteed by the Constitution in Italy, which had adopted in 2016 legislation to support persons with disabilities in decision-making on financial matters.  What could be done to more effectively ensure the implementation of the principle of equality before the law?  Togo outlined the national measures to guarantee legal capacity of persons with disabilities and asked which transitional measures could low-income countries take to move toward the adoption of new measures based on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities?

Hungary agreed that the guarantee of the rights to legal capacity and supported decision-making were essential to the realization of all other rights for persons with disabilities, and asked the Special Rapporteur to elaborate on how supported decision-making mechanisms worked in practice.  Australia acknowledged the importance of supported decision-making for persons with disabilities where this was possible; supported decision-making pilots were being undertaken at state and territory levels, and Australia asked the Special Rapporteur about best practice examples of such mechanisms and what made them effective.  Chile concurred that the recognition of legal capacity of all persons with disabilities underpinned the exercise of all human rights and said that since 2014, Chile had been consulting with all segments of the society, including persons with disabilities, with the view to reform the law toward the supported decision-making paradigm.

Cuba affirmed that the report offered solid guidance to States for promoting the rights of persons with disabilities.  The challenges facing persons with albinism were noted.  Discrimination against such persons had to be prohibited.  France said that access to the rights of persons with disabilities was one of the fundamental challenges necessary for social cohesion.  French authorities had taken into account the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur following her visit.  China highly valued the rights of persons with disabilities and had implemented a series of legislative changes.  People with albinism needed social recognition and care to promote public education and raise awareness of people with albinism.

Myanmar was committed to creating a favourable environment to ensure the enjoyment of fundamental rights for persons with disabilities through legislative and policy frameworks. National-level awareness and advocacy workshops, empowerment programmes and campaigns were held throughout the country. highlighting the importance of the inclusion of persons with disabilities.  Morocco said that public policy in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities were in place.  Fully aware of the importance of accessibility, a project on accessible towns had been launched and the Marrakesh treaty was part of this approach. 

Remarks by the Special Rapporteur and the Independent Expert

CATALINA DEVANDAS AGUILAR, Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, expressed thanks for the frank replies by the delegations regarding the legal capacity of persons with disabilities.  Reacting to Norway’s comment, she noted that it was possible to make progress towards supported decision-making.  Substituted decision-making did not constitute protection for persons with disabilities.  It was important to do away with the notion that persons with disabilities could not make the right decisions.  Instead of restricting their rights, it was important to allow persons with disabilities to express their will and views.  There were positive changes in legislation across the world in that regard.  Alliances with civil society were possible and were taking place.  As for the medical approach to disability, Ms. Devandas Aguilar explained that it could be avoided if persons with disabilities were allowed to express their preferences.  That also depended on the availability of appropriate services and technologies.  States feared that moving towards supported decision-making would strip persons with disabilities of protection.  However, that view was not supported by facts on the ground.  On the contrary, supported decision-making had led to better living conditions for persons with disabilities. 

IKPONWOSA ERO, Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, said that carrying out the mandate was very challenging, but challenges notwithstanding, a lot had been accomplished.  As for the continuation of the work on witchcraft, the Independent Expert stressed the need to apply the existing laws on the issues of witchcraft.  Several countries were reviewing their legislation but were stuck because they were not sure how to proceed, noted the Independent Expert and said that she would develop guidelines to assist States in this process.  Additionally, the Independent Expert would continue to work with the regions, particularly with the African Union, to support the search for African solutions to African problems.

Interactive Dialogue

Greece said it was in the process of enacting the new law, which provided for mainstreaming of the rights of persons with disabilities in all Government work and public policies, and it included a paradigm shift regarding legal capacity.  How could supported decision-making be best implemented?  State of Palestine said that its legislation guaranteed equality before the law and it provided for equality in employment for persons with disabilities, but Israel the occupying power continued to violate the rights of persons with disabilities, and its prisons were full of persons with disabilities.  Venezuela recognized the critical importance of the recognition of legal capacity as a precondition for the enjoyment of all other human rights by persons with disabilities.  Venezuela supported the recommendation that the right to health of persons with albinism be enjoyed without any discrimination and on an equal footing with other persons.

Benin believed that education and awareness raising among the general population was needed to ensure that people with albinism enjoyed life on an equal footing, and asked about good practices in that regard.  Iran said that the comprehensive law on the rights of persons with disabilities was at the latest stages of adoption, and noted an important legal disagreement concerning legal capacity of persons with intellectual disabilities at the international level.  More practical legal solutions were needed rather than a general juridical prescription.  Costa Rica highlighted the importance of raising awareness in society to ensure a paradigm shift toward seeing persons with disabilities not as beneficiaries but as rights holders, and said that it had adopted the law on the autonomy of persons with disabilities in 2016.

Thailand believed in the human rights based model to the empowerment of persons with disabilities.  The Special Rapporteur was asked to share best practices on legal guarantees on supported decision-making mechanisms to accommodate the diverse groups of persons with disabilities to enable their full exercise of legal capacity.  Peru made legislative advancements concerning recognition of persons with disabilities, promulgating norms in specific areas of health, education and labour.  Peru had been implementing inclusive policies for vulnerable groups.  Maldives introduced the Disability Act in 2010, allowing for remarkable progress in the care of persons with disabilities.  However, despite these efforts, providing health care and accessibility of services to a population dispersed over 187 inhabited islands continued to be a huge challenge.

Algeria shared concern related to discrimination against persons with albinism, noting that public health policies needed to be specifically adapted to this group of persons.  Algeria reiterated its invitation to the Special Rapporteur to visit the country.  Sudan stated that a national law had been promulgated concerning persons with disabilities.  The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities had praised the efforts of Sudan, following the review of the report.  Afghanistan noted that the issue of disability was predominantly the result of the conflict.  The delegation appreciated guidance provided in the report and extended an invitation to the Special Rapporteur to visit the country.  

India was committed to a system of joint decision-making which operated on mutual understanding and trust between guardians and persons with disabilities, and remained committed to eliminating barriers to the equal recognition before law with the view of promoting the welfare of persons with disabilities.  Nigeria commended the Independent Expert for the development of the regional action plan on persons with albinism and called for more concerted efforts to end the ill-treatment and attacks on this group.  Equal recognition before the law of persons with disabilities would strengthen their rights and enhance their participation in decision-making in societies.  Bangladesh stressed the crucial role of the cultural change in how persons with disabilities were perceived by their communities and said that it had put in place the Disability Information System Software which had registered and issued national identity cards to 1.5 million persons with disabilities. 

Kenya had taken concrete steps to meet the needs and rights of persons with albinism through the provision of sunscreen lotions, awareness raising against discrimination and misconceptions about albinism.  Kenya was establishing a mechanism to build the capacity of the judiciary on the barriers that persons with intellectual and psycho-social disabilities faced in the justice system.  Ecuador said that persons with disabilities participated in various mechanisms put in place to ensure access to justice, including in the development of a guide on access of persons with disabilities to justice, which called for training of police and justice operators and the removal of accessibility barriers from the beginning to the end of judicial proceedings.  Azerbaijan continued to improve its legal framework in key areas of interest to persons with disabilities and stayed focused on the implementation of international standards for the achievement of substantive equality of persons with disabilities in the area of access to justice.  What were the opportunities offered by the digital transformation of courts and the justice system for the participation of persons with disabilities on an equal footing with others?

Right of Reply

Russia, speaking in a right of reply, said it was extremely concerned by the number of victims in Donbass, including children.  Those murders had to be stopped.  Improvised explosive devices and mines were the reason for such high numbers and parties were called to end the hostilities and respect the Minsk Agreement.  Kiev was accused of ignoring human rights and implementing discriminatory policies, in particular the refusal to pay pensions and social benefits and compensate the loss of housing and property to people in Donbass area, putting people at the threshold of poverty.  Moreover, the education law directly undermined the rights of national minorities.  Ukraine was called on to fully comply with international law.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, speaking in a right of reply, strongly rejected remarks of the United States.  Their accusations stood against the spirit of the constructive dialogue and demonstrated the fanaticism of the United States.  The striking violations of the United States were well known to all, and they included State sponsored torture, mass killings of innocent civilians and attacks on sovereign countries.  The United States was called on to stop their rockets against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Israel, speaking in a right of reply in response to the comments made by Palestine, regretted that it had made politicized allegations against Israel.  In that way Palestine had missed an opportunity to tackle important issues and examine themselves.  Instead, Palestine had put all the blame on Israel.  On children in detention, Israel noted that the Palestinian leadership encouraged the Palestinian youth to carry out acts of terrorism and to take part in violent rioting.  Incitement to hatred was widespread in Palestinian schools.  Israel made every effort to protect minors arrested for crimes, and it had a rigorous system of investigation of miscarriage of justice in law enforcement activities.   It carried out a thorough analysis of all the claims presented to it.  As for Palestine’s reference to the 70 years of occupation, it was a sad testimony of the refusal to accept the reality that was the State of Israel.


For use of the information media; not an official record

HRC18/027E