Statement by Finland at 9th session of the Conference of the State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) Statement by H.E. Ms. Pirkko Hämäläinen Under-Secretary of State Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland On 14th of June 2016
Mr. Chair, Ladies and Gentlemen
Finland aligns itself with the statement of the European Union.
Let me start by congratulating the newly elected members of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Finland would also like to extend its warm thanks to the extensive work done by the Special Rapporteur Catalina Devandas.
This year Finland participates in the Conference of States Parties and celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Convention with particular pride and joy as the Convention and its Optional Protocol have entered into force in Finland last Friday, the 10th of June.
During the years leading up to this moment, Finland has tirelessly worked towards the ratification. It has meant several changes in our legislation. This work has been a common effort of different sectors of the Government and of the civil society. The ratification, in our view, strengthens the status of the rights of persons with disabilities as legally binding rights. And what is equally important, it reinforces the State’s responsibility to guarantee their realization.
The cooperation between various stakeholders and the full and effective participation of persons with disabilities is a key element for ensuring implementation and compliance with the Convention. Participation has – of course – also been key in the setting up of the different functions for the monitoring of the implementation of the Convention. In Finland, we are establishing a coordination mechanism, and the tasks of the independent framework have been given to the National Human Rights Institution.
At the same time, Finland continues its longstanding support for the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities in its international policy work. Finland is strongly committed in the cooperation with the UN disability actors as well as national and international DPOs. In addition to political advocacy, we will continue to financially support disability work both at international and local levels.
In humanitarian emergencies the plight of persons with disabilities is exceptionally dire. Therefore, Finland pays special attention to the needs of persons in vulnerable situations, including persons with disabilities, in its humanitarian policy. We warmly welcome the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities into Humanitarian Action, launched at the recent World Humanitarian Summit.
The Charter strives to ensure that persons with disabilities have proper access to humanitarian assistance and that their essential humanitarian needs are met in situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters. The Charter also promotes the protection, safety and respect for the dignity of persons with disabilities.
Finland has been actively engaged in the push for a human rights based approach to sustainable development, particularly in ensuring that the principle of non-discrimination is applied throughout decision-making and actions to implement the 2030 Agenda.
In our view, the adoption of the Agenda last September was a remarkable achievement in this respect. It clearly outlines that sustainable development can only be achieved when the human rights of all are respected and protected. The 2030 Agenda guides us to our ultimate aim of building inclusive societies and ensuring that no-one is left behind.
Let me once more assure you Finland’s strongest support for the UN disability work also in the coming years.