Swedish statement deliverd by Ambassador Charlotta Schlyter at the General Debate COSP14, “Building back better: COVID-19 response and recovery; Meeting the needs, Realizing the rights, and Addressing the socio-economic impacts on persons with disabilities”
Thank you, Chair.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, colleagues,
Sweden fully aligns itself with the statement made by the European Union and its Member States.
The overarching theme of the COSP 14 is about building back better after the pandemic. About the response and recovery by meeting the needs, realising the rights and addressing the socio-economic impacts on persons with disabilities.
In order to build back better, we must step up our efforts to ensure the rights of persons with disabilities and address the inequalities that have been highlighted or reinforced as a result of the pandemic. We should also analyse these inequalities to understand how they came about in the first place and make sure we learn from our mistakes.
The pandemic has impacted the lives of us all, but what have we learnt about the consequences for persons with disabilities, and how will we know which measures need to be taken? We have received reports of human rights violations and of increased mental health problems. And we know that many people, including persons with disabilities, have experienced reduced access to health care services, to education and work, and a lack of support measures in many areas of life. Many people living in vulnerable situations have been subjected to increased violence and abuse, and those whose economic circumstances were already difficult before the pandemic now face an even worse situation.
To shape our future policy and action to address these issues, and to live up to our obligations under the UNCRPD even during a pandemic, we must use the rights-based approach to disability enshrined in the CRPD and recognise persons with disabilities as both agents and rights holders. Persons with disabilities and their organisations should be involved throughout the process to ensure that policy and actions adequately address their needs.
We also know that accessibility is key. As the new EU strategy for the rights of persons with disabilities 2021-2030 points out, accessibility is an enabler of rights, autonomy and equality. And this work must be done by closely consulting with and actively involving persons with disabilities and their representative organisations.