New York, New York
November 15, 2022
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and my own country, the United States.
We would first like to commend the resolution’s co-facilitators, the Philippines and Tanzania, for their continued and considerable efforts on this text. Their consultative approach to negotiations embodied the dialogic spirit of the General Assembly.
This important resolution once again reaffirms that persons with disabilities are entitled to the same human rights as those without disabilities, without any discrimination, and we commend its consensual adoption. This year’s text makes crucial contributions to the pursuit of inclusive development for and with persons with disabilities with new language that reflects the international discourse on the topic.
However, we are disappointed that there has not been agreement over including language on a particularly crucial aspect of access to health services – sexual and reproductive health. This is especially disappointing given that we have consensus agreed language on sexual and reproductive health since 2017 that this committee adopted.
Women and girls with disabilities account for almost one-fifth of the world’s population of women. They have the same sexual and reproductive health needs as women and girls without disabilities. Due to discrimination on the basis of gender and disability, as well as disproportionate physical, social and attitudinal barriers, women and girls with disabilities cannot fully access comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services. As the Secretary-General reported this year, this lack of access has detrimental health outcomes and can put lives at risk. In fact, in many situations, women and girls with different types of disabilities are forcibly sterilized.
This resolution is only considered biennially, and we believe this year presented an opportunity to recognise this aspect of inclusive development. Our delegations, as well as others in the room, worked tirelessly to find solutions and compromise, including language verbatim from Article 25 of the CRPD, but to no avail. Women and girls with disabilities must be guaranteed access to comprehensive and quality sexual and reproductive health services; disability-inclusive development plays a critical role in making this a reality.
We look forward to seeing this vital reference in the next iteration of this important resolution.