Delivered on 3 March 2017

Delivered by Dr Hala Hameed, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations Office at Geneva

Thank you, Mr President,

Allow me to begin by thanking you for convening this debate today. My delegation welcomes and thanks the Special Rapporteur for the annual report.

We agree with the conclusion of the report: that participation, accountability, inclusivity;non-discrimination, and empowerment are fundamental principles of a human rights-based approach to disability.

Mr President,

The Constitution of the Maldives guarantees special protection and special assistance to all persons with disabilities. In 2010, the Maldives enacted the Disability Act to ensure this fundamental human right. Further, all registered persons receive a regular financial support from the State.

Despite these measures, and also as highlighted in the report, data collection on persons with disabilities remains an ongoing challenge. We as Member States, should work together in partnership with other stakeholders to strengthen collection, management, desaggregation, and analysis of information on persons with disabilities. This will foster inclusion and aid, addressing discrimination on the basis of disability.

The Maldives recently adopted a “No Child Left Behind” Education Policy which aims to ensure that students with disabilities receive equal opportunities in education. To encourage equal access and participation in the national workforce, the Government has begun awarding employment opportunities to persons with disabilities in state owned companies.

New building regulations ensure accessibility for persons with disabilities. We still have a long way to go, in terms of developing and implementing effective measures to ensure equal rights to persons with disabilities.

Mr. President

States should take proactive steps in all areas of law and public policy to include persons with disabilities in all policy plans and programmes. Persons with disabilities should also be included in all phases of program design, including emergency preparedness, assistance delivery, and recovery. Humanitarian actors should closely consult with and actively involve persons with disabilities, including children, through their representative organizations, in the development, implementation and evaluation of legislation, regulations and policies.

Our delegation strongly urges the Member States, the UN system, humanitarian agencies, and other relevant stakeholders, to work in partnership, to achieve the desired goals and outcomes for all persons with disabilities.

Thank you Mr. President