Statement in aThird Committee Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Ambassador Cherith Norman-Chalet
U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
October 21, 2019


The United States appreciates Special Rapporteur Devandas Aguilar’s work to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities, particularly her work to examine their human rights and fundamental freedoms at the intersection of disability and ageing. We appreciate the crosscutting nature of all of her work and believe this is critical to ensure that disability rights are integrated across the UN.

As the world population ages, the rate of disability is expected to increase significantly. More than 46 percent of older persons worldwide have a disability making them the majority of the overall disability population. As with the general population, persons with disabilities are also living longer.

We agree with the Special Rapporteur’s assessment that older persons with disabilities experience multiple imposing barriers to exercising their rights due to discrimination at the intersection of disability ableism and age. Denial of autonomy and legal capacity; institutionalization and lack of community services and supports; violence and abuse; and lack of social protection render older persons with disabilities invisible to Governments. This is particularly true for older persons with disabilities who are members of minority ethnic or racial groups and face discrimination at multiple levels.

We support the Special Rapporteur’s call for states to take immediate, effective, and appropriate measures to raise awareness of older persons with disabilities; make full use of existing resources including through international cooperation to promote the human rights of older persons with disabilities; and provide access to social protections and support services.

What do you believe are the most effective ways to combat stereotypes and prejudices against older persons with disabilities, particularly older persons with disabilities who are members of minority racial or ethnic groups?