Statement presented by Paramdeep Mtharu, of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention Implementation Support Unit on the 9th Session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Geneva.
While many involved in the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities may be familiar with the obligations set out in the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention and the work of the Convention’s Implementation Support Unit (ISU), others may wonder why a representative of the secretariat of what many in Geneva consider a disarmament convention is addressing the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
I am because the 161 States that we serve have accepted not only that they shall eradicate anti-personnel weapons, but also that they shall provide for the well-being and guarantee the rights of women, girls, boys and men whose lives have been irreversibly changed by these insidious, indiscriminate and long-lasting remnants of war.
As United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said at the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention’s December 2012 Twelfth Meeting of the States Parties, “when survivors of mines and other explosive devices acquire a disability they fall under the scope of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”
In fact, based upon the experience of the implementation of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, the parties to all relevant conventional weapons instruments have accepted a non-discriminatory and rights-based approach.
We therefore share an agenda and should continue to work closely together.
The vast majority of States Parties to the CRPD are also parties to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, including 19 States which are responsible for significant numbers of landmine survivors.
The revised national action plan will enable Peru to formally integrate its efforts to assist landmine survivors into broader national efforts to equalise opportunities for persons with disabilities.
Aligning these two processes will ensure efficiency in the planning and delivery of services, reduce any duplication of efforts and thereby make the best use of scarce resources.
While not yet part to the CRPD, South Sudan has included in its National Mine Action Strategy the objective of acceding to the CRDP in 2013. Through its lead ministry on disabilities issues, the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, efforts have already commenced.
Mine action funding has been leveraged to enable the collection of disability data in a number of provinces across the country. The aim is that this data will inform the drafting of a national disability policy and thereby assist South Sudan in being able to comply with the CRPD once it accedes the Convention.
The ISU has been requested to support South Sudan in mapping out a path to CRPD accession and later implementation in a way that would incorporate its promise to landmine and other ERW survivors.
Improving the quality of daily life of survivors, their families and other people with disabilities will more likely be realized if we acknowledge that we have a common agenda.
States, persons with disabilities and their representative organisations, international agencies, NGOs, and the donor community must work together in a spirit of partnership and collaboration to achieve a common purpose recognised by the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: the full inclusion and effective participation of all persons with disabilities, including landmine and other survivors of explosive remnants of war, in the social, cultural, economic and political life of their communities.
Paramdeep Mtharu, Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention Implementation Support Unit (ISU).