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Committee on the rights of persons with disabilities opens twenty-third session online

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The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities this afternoon opened its twenty-third session online, hearing statements by Ibrahim Salama, Chief of the Human Rights Treaties Branch of the Human Rights Council and Treaty Mechanisms Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Danlami Umaru Bashari, Committee Chairperson, and other stakeholders. The Committee also adopted its agenda for the session.

Ibrahim Salama, Chief of the Human Rights Treaties Branch of the Human Rights Council and Treaty Mechanisms Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, recognizing the Committee’s unyielding commitment to upholding human rights, said it demonstrated how treaty bodies could advance their crucial work through creative working methods despite the trials of the COVID-19 crisis. As reiterated in the Committee’s statements on persons with disabilities and COVID-19, the current situation had starkly exposed the heightened vulnerability and risks to persons with disabilities, underpinned by entrenched discrimination and inequality. 

Danlami Umaru Basharu, Committee Chairperson, noted that the pandemic continued to have a devastating impact on the lives of persons with disabilities and their families across the globe. In March 2020, in his capacity as Chair, and on behalf of the Committee, he had issued a joint statement in this regard, highlighting the tremendous impact of COVID-19 on persons with disability, as well as the specific situation of persons with disabilities facing deprivation and hardship.

The Committee also heard statements by the Chair of the Human Rights Council Task Force for accessibility for persons for disabilities, the Chair of the Committee on Victim Assistance of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, the Director of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, the President of the International Disability Alliance, a representative of the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, the Head of Accessible Books Consortium at the World Intellectual Property Organization, the Executive Director of the Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability Malta and Board member of the European Network of Equality Bodies, the Co-Executive Director of the Validity Foundation, speaking on behalf of the COVID-19 Disability Rights Monitor Coordinating Group, the President of the Centre for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry, a representative of the International Labour Organization, and the Chief of the Geneva Office of the United Nations Mine Action Service. 

At the end of the meeting, Harumi Fuentes of the Secretariat of the Committee said that there was no time left to show a video message by the Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions Working Group on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, but it would be available on the website of the session.

The online twenty-third session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is being held from 17 August to 4 September. The next public meeting of the Committee will be on Friday, 4 September at 3:30 p.m. for the closing of the session.

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