NEW YORK, 30th March, 2016 (WAM) – The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities opened its fifteenth session, hearing an address by a representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Committee adopted its agenda and programme of work for the session, which includes the consideration of seven reports: Portugal, Thailand, Chile, Slovakia, Serbia, Lithuania and Uganda.

Opening the session, Orest Nowosad, Chief of the Groups in Focus Section, Human Rights Treaties Division of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that as disability was reference in various parts of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities should be considered the key guiding document to achieve the 2030 Agenda for persons with disabilities. He referred to the ninth Conference of States parties to the Convention, to be held in June 2016 in New York, and which would focus on “implementing the 2030 Agenda for all persons with disabilities”, and presented the Office’s activities in relation to the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities.

Maria Soledad Cisternas Reyes, Chairperson of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, said the Committee had been preparing a draft General Comment on women with disabilities. It had engaged in interactive dialogues at the Human Rights Council in relation to Article 11 on humanitarian emergencies, and would hopefully engage in the forthcoming Humanitarian Summit in Turkey. She stressed the need for the independence, impartiality and transparency of the Committee’s work.

Catalina Devandas Aguilar, Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, valued the important cooperation between her mandate and the Committee, as well as with other United Nations agencies. She underlined the fundamental importance of collecting disaggregated data and better statistical information to inform policies that addressed the needs of persons with disabilities.

The Committee heard statements from other United Nations bodies, specialized agencies, non-governmental organizations and organizations representing persons with disabilities. The discussion focused largely on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the need for data collection and indicators, on the forthcoming World Humanitarian Summit and the vulnerability of persons with disabilities in the event of natural disasters, and on the tenth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Representatives of the following United Nations organizations and bodies made statements: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations Inter Agency Support Group for persons with disabilities, UN Women, United Nations Children’s Fund, World Intellectual Property Organization, World Health Organization, International Telecom Union, and United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.