RI Global: Office of Communications
Contact: Adrian Brune, +1 347-759-9501
This morning, RI was one of only two disability organizations invited to the “Friends of CRPD Working Breakfast” hosted by ECOSOC President and COSP Bureau Chair Ambassador Oh Joon, held at the Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations. The meeting aimed to discuss measures to make the working environment of the United Nations (UN) more accessible and inclusive of persons with disabilities. Among those invited in the meeting were ambassadors and representatives of the Missions of Australia, the Philippines, Kenya, Italy, Jordan, New Zealand, Argentina, Sweden, Israel, Thailand, Sierra Leone, Mexico, Poland and Brazil, together with UN-DESA.
In his opening remarks, Amb. Oh Joon cited the need for the UN to work harder to serve as a leader in the inclusion of persons with disabilities and for its premises and practices to be a model of accessibility so that the 157 member states which ratified the CRPD will exert more effort to include disabled people in their own countries. He said that the UN still has to develop a comprehensive approach to accessibility as its efforts at the moment is still fragmented. He said that in consultation with UN SG Ban Ki-moon, Amb. Oh has sought the support of friendly states to come up with a draft resolution to be co-sponsored by the countries which attended the breakfast meeting, for the General Assembly to request the Secretary General to submit a comprehensive report to its 71st session in 2016, on how the UN has realized and actualized a disability-inclusive working environment in its facilities and its rules and regulations throughout the work of the UN at its headquarter office in New York and elsewhere around the world.
RI participated actively in the discussion, congratulating the UN for the efforts made to make its premises in New York more accessible and inclusive of persons with disabilities. RI made several recommendations, including that UN staff with disabilities should be made part of a committee that regularly monitors progress of the renovations work to ensure that all the new facilities are accessibility-compliant and meet the requirements prescribed by the CRPD. RI suggested that accessibility walk-through activities should be held in several phases during the renovation process as doing it at the very end of the construction work would leave no more chance for improvement. RI said it is a lot more expensive to do retrofitting than the amount to be invested if the right thing is done early on.
RI’s inputs was well received and appreciated. Both Daniela Bas and Amb. Oh thanked RI for its timely and relevant inputs and consistent and sustained contributions to various disability initiatives of the UN.
RI Global: Founded in 1922, Rehabilitation International (RI Global) is a worldwide network promoting the rights and inclusions of persons with disabilities (PwDs) through advocacy, habilitation and rehabilitation to achieve an inclusive world in which all people can enjoy full human rights.
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