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UN official calls for rights of persons with disabilities mainstreamed in new agenda

UNITED NATIONS, June 9 (Xinhua) -- UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson on Tuesday called for mainstreaming the rights of persons with disabilities in the post-2015 development agenda while addressing opening of a conference to the milestone convention on the group's rights.

"I am especially pleased to be here because I vividly recall when this landmark treaty was adopted here in New York in April 2006. At the time, I had the honour to serve as President of the UN General Assembly," said Eliasson at the Eighth Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which will be open from June 9-11.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an international human rights treaty of the United Nations intended to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. Parties to the Convention are required to promote, protect, and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities and ensure that they enjoy full equality under the law.

"Our fundamental message then and now is that all human beings are equal and that we constantly have to live up to this assertion of human dignity," Eliasson said.

"This is especially important in 2015, which the Secretary- General has, appropriately, called a time for global action," said Eliasson, "I welcome your focus on mainstreaming the rights of persons with disabilities in the post-2015 development agenda."

This year marks the end of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The post-2015 development agenda, also known as Sustainable Development Goals, will be a very important one for the humanity, targeting years starting 2016 till 2030. Also in 2015, a climate change deal is expected to be reached in Paris in December.

"We are working to shape an inclusive, accessible and sustainable society for all, guided by a new vision for development for the next 15 years that Member States will adopt in September," said Eliasson. "The next three days are our opportunity to take stock of past achievements and look ahead at strategies for the future."

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the General Assembly in the resolution 61/106 on Dec. 13, 2006. It came into force on May 3, 2008. Since then, seven sessions of the Conference of States Parties have been held at United Nations Headquarters, New York.

The theme of this year's Conference is "Mainstreaming the rights of persons with disabilities in the post-2015 development agenda".

"The Convention of 2006 marked a conceptual shift -- from a charity and medical approach to the human rights-based view of disability. This shift will guide us in the right direction going forward," said Eliasson. "The tragic fact is that persons with disabilities are among the most excluded and isolated in practically all regions of the world. We need urgent action to reduce exclusion, inequality and discrimination."

He urged signatories to give priority to addressing the vulnerability of persons with disabilities and called for intensified efforts to support those facing multiple discrimination, particularly to women and girls, disadvantaged youth, and older persons.

"The new vision for sustainable development should offer a framework for bold action, benefiting all," said Eliasson.

This three-day conference will focus on matters related to the implementation of the convention, according to him.

"Let us use this Conference to strengthen our cooperation and partnerships," said Eliasson. "We must now join forces to build a rights-based post-2015 development agenda that is inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities and their communities."

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