Pakistan makes this statement on behalf of OIC member states. From the outset, let us congratulate and thank the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on compiling a thought provoking and comprehensive report on the topic of “Equality and non-discrimination under article 5 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”.
Islam is a religion of brotherhood, and equality and non discrimination are fundamental principles of Islam. The Prophet (PBUH) was very sensitive to the particular needs and circumstances of persons with disabilities.
OIC has actively been working on the rights of persons with disabilities. A 3 day Conference was held in Istanbul, Turkey on 26-28 October 2016 on the “Employment of Persons with Disabilities in OIC Member Countries”. The recommendations compiled from this Conference have been submitted to the relevant OIC forum. The First Ministerial Session on Safeguarding the Wellbeing and Social Security of Elderly and People with Special Needs in The Islamic World is going to be held in 2017.
We believe that equality constitutes the principle of human rights, together with human dignity and universality as rightly pointed out in the report of the High Commissioner. We believe that education is the biggest enabler for strengthening the role of persons with disabilities in the society and we need to develop inclusive education curricula as well as information. This also requires a gender sensitive approach. The rights of persons with disabilities should be added both in general policies as well as developing specific ones so that we can ensure their societal integration.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the slogan that “No one is left behind” provide us with a unique opportunity to work for the rights of “Persons with Special Needs.”
We must recognize that disability in and of itself is not necessarily a hindrance or disadvantage. I would end by quoting Ms. Stella Young, an inspirational comedian, journalist and disability rights activist that, “My disability exists not because I use a wheelchair, but because the broader environment isn’t accessible.” Now it is upto us to make the broader environment accessible to all.
I thankyou Mr. President.