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Considerable advances on making the rights of persons with disabilities a reality

Last updated: 27.06.2014 // The Human Rights Council held a panel discussion on technical cooperation and capacity building in advancing the rights of the persons with disabilities through legal and institutional frameworks, including public-private partnerships on 25 June in Geneva.

The annual discussion on technical cooperation and capacity building focuses on advancing the rights of persons with disabilities through legal and institutional frameworks, including public-private partnerships.

Deputy High Commissioner Ms. Pansieri listed in her opening statement thevarious activities that United Nations agencies and regional organizations have undertaken in support of efforts by States to promote and protect the rights of person with disabilities, like  national legislation, policies and programmes, and the work of mainstreaming the rights of persons with disabilities in developing efforts. “Our experience demonstrates that more technical capacity needs to be built, both within the UN system and at national level”. Ms. Pansieri also touched on the importance of including the private sector. “As a part of their obligations to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of persons with disabilities States should encourage businesses to adopt the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights and should hold them accountable”.

This was also highlighted by Norway “The Norwegian public employment service focus on active job-seeking, advice and close individual follow up. Some job seekers may need more assistance. It is our experience that the most effective measures to increase participation in the labour market for disabled people, is using labour market measures such as counselling, training, wage subsidies and participation in the ordinary labour market. These measures cover both the private and public sector. The “Telenor Open Mind program” is one of the providers of labour market schemes aiming at enhancing disabled peoples’ participation in the ordinary labour market.”

Ingrid Ihme, Head of Telenor Open Mind, talked about Telenors Open Mind Program and its benefits. “The program was started in 1996, and its based on creating win-win-win situations, win for Telenor that gains access to workers, win for the participants who is able to use their skills and participate in the working society, and also it’s a win for society, because persons with disabilities go from receiving benefits to paying taxes.” About 75 % of the participants is employed after participating in the program employed, and Telenor Open Mind has an ambition to include such a program in all countries where Telenor is operating.

In the debate States unanimously underlined that  technical cooperation and capacity building is key to implement full rights for people with disabilities, and that international cooperation between States, civil society, NGOs and UN-agencies is needed. Education and employment was also emphasized as important key-factors.

In general, most States have worked with providing services for people with disabilities so that they can enter the labour market. States and panellists underlined the need to include people with disabilities in the post-2015. Ms. Pansieri stated that “The post-2015 development agenda will provide new opportunities for inclusion of persons with disabilities. We continue to work to ensure that the future development agenda will include a strong commitment to the human rights-based approach to disability”.

  • Ms. Flavia Pansieri, The United Nations Deputy High Commissioner  for Human Rights held an opening statement.
  • An introductory remark was held by Ms. Mariclaire Acosta Urquidi, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights.
  • Mr. Maudelaire Ndong Ella, President of the Human Rights Council, chaired the meeting.
  • The expert panel were Ms. Maria Soledad Cisternas Reyes, Chair of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilitie
  • Prof. Wiriya Namsiripongpun, Former member of the National Legislative Assembly and advisor to the Senate Committee on Children
  • Youth and Social Development, Women, the Elderly, the Disabled and the Disadvantaged, Thailand
  • Ms. Rosangela Berman Bieler, Chief of the Disability Section, UNICEF
  • Mr. Yannis Vardakastanis, Chairperson of the International Disability Alliance
  • Ms. Ingrid Ihme, Head of Telenor Open Mind. Mr. Krerkpan Roekchamnong,
  • Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Thailand to the United Nations in Geneva moderated the discussion.

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