|Statement by Mr. Zhou Ningyu of the Chinese Delegation at the Second Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities|
September 2nd, 2009
It is the shared responsibility of the international community to protect the legitimate rights and interests of persons with disabilities and improve the quality of their life. Being in a vulnerable position, persons with disabilities in all countries have suffered heavily as a result of the current international financial crisis. Their employment and living situation is greatly affected and they are in urgent need for the attention and help of the international community. It is therefore of important relevance for the participants of this conference to exchange experience in Convention implementation under the theme of “legislative measures to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” and discuss ways to increase cooperation. The Chinese delegation believes that in implementing the Convention, it is necessary to insist on the following two points:
First, a balance should be achieved between human rights protection and social development. The issue of persons with disabilities is both a human rights issue and a social development issue. Social development is the indispensable premise and condition for the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities as well as the due responsibility and obligation of the international community. Countries should incorporate the work relating to persons with disabilities in their national macro-economic and social planning and adopt concrete legislative, judicial, administrative and publicity measures to ensure the rights of persons with disabilities to participate in various levels of decision making and to have access to education and employment. At the same time, it is also necessary to increase resource allocation to eliminate social discrimination against persons with disabilities and increase infrastructure accessibility.
Second, attention should be paid to the special plight of persons with disabilities in developing countries. Over 80% of the global population of persons with disabilities are in developing countries, many of whom live in poverty and face severe shortages of fund, resources and infrastructure. In carrying out relevant cooperation, the international community should take into consideration the special condition and level of development of developing countries and pay attention to the special needs of persons with disabilities in developing countries. Currently, the focus should be on helping them weather the financial crisis. Developed countries and relevant international organizations should increase financial and technical assistance and help developing countries in capacity building.
China has 83 million persons with disabilities and the Chinese government has always taken the advancement of the well-being of persons with disabilities and the improvement of their situation as an important and urgent task in its endeavor to build a harmonious and moderately well-off society. My government has taken a series of measures and achieved remarkable results. The coverage of rehabilitation service for persons with disabilities has been rapidly expanded and has benefited more than 15 million people to varying degrees; considerable improvement has been achieved in the employment of persons with disabilities with 4.513 million employed in cities and towns and 17.171 million in rural areas; significant progress has been made in poverty reduction and development and more than 10 million persons with disabilities living in poverty in rural areas now have their lives’ basic necessities satisfied; and social security has been further enhanced with 7.386 million persons with disabilities enjoying the minimum life guarantee and 2.976 million having social insurance.
China attaches importance to further building up the legal system for safeguarding the rights of persons with disabilities. A series of laws and regulations have been enacted, including “Law on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities”, “Regulations on the Education of Persons with Disabilities” and “Regulations on the Employment of Persons with Disabilities”. Every province, autonomous region and municipality has also designed local measures to implement the Law on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities. As a result, we have basically established a legal system for safeguarding the rights and interests of persons with disabilities. The system has as its core our National Constitution, its basis the Law on the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its support administrative regulations and local rules. The court at various levels and legal service and assistance agencies have provided tremendous judicial help, legal service and legal assistance to persons with disabilities.
In June, 2008, the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress ratified the Convention, thus making a solemn commitment to the international community on the implementation of the Convention obligations. By amending its Law on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities in accordance with the Convention, China has aligned its domestic legislation with the international convention, added more provisions on the construction of an accessibility environment and on legal responsibilities and further reinforced the safeguard of the rights and interests of persons with disabilities. We have also set up quite a complete implementation and monitoring mechanism with the Working Committee on Persons with Disabilities of the State Council in charge of coordinating the implementation work and the National People’s Congress responsible for monitoring and inspection.
The Chinese government is highly concerned at the effect of the international financial crisis on persons with disabilities and has incorporated in its economic stimulus package measures to safeguard and improve people’s lives and enhance social security. It has further increased input in undertakings related to persons with disabilities to improve their living conditions. It has stepped up efforts to build up the social security system for persons with disabilities and to build a comprehensive and integrated service system in order to create better conditions for the equal participation by persons with disabilities in social life and for the realization of MDGs. My government will continue to take an active part in international exchanges and cooperation in this field, provide help to other developing countries to the best of its ability and work together with others to strive for the comprehensive and effective implementation of the Convention.
Thank you, Mr. President.