IDA Attends UN Human Rights Coiuncil holds Annual Discussion on Human Rights and Persons with Disabilities

March 6, 2013
Source: IDA


Member Organisations:

Disabled Peoples' International, Down Syndrome International, Inclusion International, International Federation of Hard of Hearing People,

World Blind Union, World Federation of the Deaf,

World Federation of the DeafBlind,
World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry,

Arab Organization of Disabled People, European Disability Forum,

Latin American Network of Non-Governmental Organizations of Persons with Disabilities and their Families, Pacific Disability Forum



22nd Session of the Human Rights Council:
Annual Discussion on Human Rights and Persons with Disabilities


Geneva, 6 March 2013 – Today the Human Rights Council has held, from 12:00 to 15:00 at the Palais des Nations, its Annual Discussion on Human Rights and Persons with Disabilities, which was focused on the right to work and employment of persons with disabilities. 


The Office of High Commissioner (OHCHR), following resolution A/HRC/19/11 of the Human Rights Council (HRC), March 2012, produced a thematic study on the right to work and employment of persons with disabilities (A/HRC/22/25), which was discussed today.


The main objectives of this annual discussion have been to highlight good practices in promoting employment opportunities for persons with disabilities, to identify the main barriers that persons with disabilities face in the field of employment and to bring forth the challenges that States, employers and other stakeholders encounter in ensuring that persons with disabilities enjoy access to, retention of and advancement in employment on an equal basis with others.

Mr Yannis Vardakastanis, IDA Chair, represented IDA in this discussion and delivered an oral statement before the HRC, in which he highlighted that employment is for all persons in working age a key element towards combating poverty and to achieve social inclusion and participation on society.  This applies equally to persons with disabilities. “The post-MDG development framework needs to include nondiscriminatory social protection for persons with disabilities that makes it possible to transition to, and keep, employment”, he stressed. During the meeting there was a frank exchange looking at the different challenges and barriers to equal opportunity and what some countries and businesses have done to promote equal opportunity.

CRPD Committee Chair, Professor Ron McCallum, concluded: “To break down stereotypes we need to have dialogue between DPO leaders, business and trade union leaders, and government. And we need people to get to know persons with disabilities.”

At the end of this session, the Council will likely adopt a resolution (led by traditional co-sponsors Mexico and New Zealand) on this same topic.

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Side Event

Today, Mr Vardakastanis also represented IDA in the side event on “Including persons with disabilities in the labour market. Best Practices” organized by ONCE Foundation (Spain) in collaboration with Governments of Spain and Ecuador.


This side event which has taken place immediately prior to the annual discussion on human rights and persons with disabilities of the Human Rights Council was aimed to complement the discussion by: providing an opportunity to hear about examples on how organisations of persons with disabilities have contributed to the employment of persons with disabilities, both by becoming employers themselves as well as by making the labour market more open to persons with disabilities; exploring ways in which companies become champions of the employment of persons with disabilities and identifying the important contribution that public procurement and public funds can play to improve the employment of persons with disabilities.

During this event, Mr Yannis Vardakastanis gave examples from the right to work of persons with disabilities at European level, flagging the need for a range of measures. Mr Alberto Durán shared the unique experience of Fundación ONCE focusing 40% of its resources towards universal accessibility, and 60% on training and employment initiatives with funds from the national lottery.

Ms Jyoti Sanghera, Chief, Human Rights and Economic and Social Issues Section related the need to prohibit disability-based discrimination, including by defining that denial of reasonable accommodation is discrimination. She stressed the need to provide such accommodation to those who request it, provide access to the open labor market, accessible workplaces, and education and training opportunities, as well as adopting positive measures to increase employment of persons with disabilities in the public and private sectors alike.

Contact: Ellen Walker at
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