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China, UN organizations co-host side event to promote protection of rights of persons with disabilities

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Zhang Jiasong Center A Teacher In Lingjiao Primary School
Zhang Jiasong (center), a teacher in Lingjiao Primary School in Dafang County, Guizhou Province in southwest China, gives a lesson to students. (XINHUA)

By Liu Zhonghua, 

A side event of the 55th session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council was held on March 12 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities.

The event was co-hosted by the Chinese Permanent Mission to the UN Office at Geneva and other international organizations in Switzerland, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities of the UN Human Rights Council, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Permanent Missions of Mexico, New Zealand and Finland to Geneva, and UN Women.

The event was joined by over 100 people both virtually and in-person, including diplomats from multiple countries, personnel of relevant international organizations and non-governmental organizations, and journalists.

Chen Xu, permanent representative of China to the UN Office in Geneva and other international organizations in Switzerland, said this year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities. China is willing to work with all parties to take relevant anniversaries as an opportunity to take practical measures to eliminate the difficulties faced by persons with disabilities and truly realize the goal of “no one should be left behind.”

He said China places high importance on the development of the cause of persons with disabilities. It has implemented more than 90 laws to protect the rights and interests of persons with disabilities, including the Law on the Construction of Barrier-free Environment, established a subsidy system covering more than 27 million persons with disabilities, and created “Beauty Workshops” to promote employment for women with disabilities.

He put forward three propositions of China on promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities, which are as follows:

First, promote social inclusion and eliminate prejudice and discrimination against persons with disabilities. Second, strengthen guarantees, speed up the construction of barrier-free and age-appropriate facilities, and establish and improve assistance system. Third, increase participation and promote the employment and entrepreneurship of disabled people and their equal participation in economic, social and cultural affairs.

Ambassadors of Mexico, New Zealand and Finland to Geneva delivered speeches. Former Special Rapporteurs on the rights of persons with disabilities of the UN Human Rights Council, chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as officials with the OHCHR, UN Women, UN Children’s Fund and International Committee of the Red Cross shared their views on protecting and promoting the rights of persons with disabilities. Participants to the event also had interactive dialogues.

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