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Statement by Mr. Sven Jürgenson, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Estonia to UN at the 11th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD, 13 June 2018


Mr. President, Distinguished delegates, representatives of civil society,

Let me first congratulate the new and re-elected members of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

This year’s overarching theme of the session is very encouraging. The full implementation of the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) will reflect our common responsibility to leave no one behind. Further, Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals should be implemented within the framework of the Convention and in a disability inclusive manner.

Estonia, for its part, seeks to do its utmost to fully commit to the implementation of the CRPD. Its best reflection is a set of important legislative acts that are either currently in process or have already been adopted:

On the 3rd of June this year, a regulation of the Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology came into force that provides detailed requirements for buildings related to the special needs of persons with disabilities.

An amendment to the Chancellor of Justice Act under discussion in the Parliament at the moment aims to designate the institution of the Chancellor of Justice with the tasks of the framework indicated in Article 33 point 2 of the CRPD to promote, protect and monitor implementation of the Convention.

Moreover, in order to provide some support for careers of people with profound disability, last week the Parliament approved a legislative act granting these people a right for five additional paid care leave days per year. This law will enter into force already on the 1st of July.

I would also like to share with you information about Estonia’s first large scale integrated campaign created by the people with disabilities themselves. The goal was to show to the public that people with disabilities can cope in everyday life – on the streets, at the workplace and in the cafes. The main message of the campaign came from people with special needs, saying: “We are not so different. If you see a person with special needs and you don’t know how to communicate with him or her, don’t be afraid, just come and ask”. The campaign was launched by the Ministry of Social Affairs of Estonia last autumn and has had a very positive feedback, being also characterized as unexpectedly fun and easy to understand for a campaign initiated by a governmental structure.  

Mr. President,

Society should support individuals with disabilities at every stage that they pass through in life. The wellbeing of these individuals must be the common responsibility of everyone, and so, countries and organisations must implement integral approaches when developing policies. We must remember, that a committed community is one, that includes and considers the development of all its members as a shared obligation. It is an ethical imperative to leave no one behind – including most certainly, individuals with disabilities.

Thank you!


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