Thank you. The United States is pleased to co-sponsor this important resolution on Persons with Disabilities in Armed Conflict. We thank Poland and the UK for their tremendous and tireless efforts to conduct a thorough and transparent negotiation process. This groundbreaking resolution is a significant step forward in mainstreaming the rights of persons with disabilities across the UN by bringing the issue here, an area of the UN where we have not done enough on this topic.
Our delegation knows firsthand the challenges we face in mainstreaming disability rights across the UN system, including physical access here at Headquarters, so we are pleased to see a reference to the UN Disability Inclusion Strategy in this text. Persons with disabilities are already marginalized in times of peace – their vulnerability and further marginalization increases drastically in armed conflict. Persons with disabilities are disproportionately affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence compared to persons without disabilities. Support mechanisms for accessing basic services such as water, sanitation, food, shelter and health care may be disrupted as well as existing environmental, communication and attitudinal barriers in accessing services may further be exacerbated. Moreover, humanitarian services are often not adapted to ensure that persons with disabilities can access them, and as a result, persons with disabilities are too often left out and left behind.
This short but effective resolution addresses the challenges faced by persons with disabilities as well as concrete actions the Council and the international community can take to address them. The United States especially welcomes the paragraphs on data collection, capacity building, and the meaningful participation and leadership of persons with disabilities during all stages of conflict. We also look forward to more regular briefings by persons with disabilities and their representative organizations as well as humanitarian organizations and other stakeholders – our hope is that this becomes a regular part of the Council’s work, the way that we address other issues such as women and girls in conflict. Thank you very much.