US General Statement on ‘Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol Thereto’

Sofija Korac
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 18, 2019


Thank you, Mr. Chair. The United States is proud to co-sponsor this resolution, particularly given its focus on accessibility this year. We thank New Zealand and Mexico for their good facilitation and their efforts to accommodate all delegations.

We do regret that the final text did not contain references to Security Council resolutions and in particular that we lost the direct reference to Resolution 2475. This groundbreaking resolution is a significant step forward to mainstream the

rights of persons with disabilities across the United Nations by bringing the issue here, an area of the UN where we have not done enough on this topic. It is regrettable that some delegations did not want this reference, particularly those who were part of the negotiations in the Security Council and voted in favor of Resolution 2475.

We are pleased with many elements of this resolution including particularly the references to the UN Disability Inclusion Strategy (UNDIS) and the Accessibility Steering Committee chaired by the Republic of Korea and Antigua and Barbuda.

We welcome the report this resolution covers. The topic of this year’s resolution was very fortuitous and timely and will enable us to evaluate the implementation of the UNDIS through the report. The steering group developed recommendations in June 2019 in order to increase accessibility across UN headquarters.

My delegation has also been proud to actively participate in these two initiatives. We know firsthand the challenges of mainstreaming disability rights across the UN system, including to improve physical access here at Headquarters.

The United States was also pleased to see the accessible seating proposal adopted within the General Assembly revitalization text passed in September. By creating a system to move delegations’ seats to an accessible location, we have

already seen firsthand the benefits of this proposal, which allows all members of our delegation to attend all UN meetings in a way that is accessible. Thank you to Mexico and New Zealand for also including this important development in their text.

We also support the extensive focus on this resolution to consider different types of disabilities and the diverse accessibility challenges they face. The decision-making paragraphs in this resolution are also critical: in the true spirit of “Nothing about us without us,” persons with disabilities need to be involved in all decision making processes including on accessibility.

While the United States cannot ensure the enjoyment of human rights, because non-state actors can affect their enjoyment, we recognize the importance of promoting and protecting the human rights of persons with disabilities, including children with disabilities. The United States supports enabling persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life. We emphasize that States should take appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities have access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical

environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas.

The United States understands references to the right to privacy to refer to those protections provided under Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and confirms the importance of respect for applicable data protection laws and regulations.

With regard to this resolution’s references to reaffirmation of international instruments to which the United States is not a Party and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, among other issues, we refer you to our previous statement on Third Committee resolutions delivered on November 7, 2019.

Finally, the United States calls on other countries to redouble their efforts and join us in continuing the positive work to mainstream persons with disabilities fully across the UN and the work of the international community.

Thank you, Chair.