Eleven-year-old Nyamet Steven who was born with cerebral palsy walks with a walker at Mahad camp for internally displaced people (IDP) in Juba on April 17, 2018. (Xinhua/AFP)
UNITED NATIONS, June 12 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday called for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which he said protects the rights of some 1.5 billion people around the world.
"Signing and ratifying the convention is not enough. Implementation is essential," said Guterres in his opening remarks to the 11th session of the conference of signatories to the convention.
In this light, he urged countries to apply the convention to their development policies, investment and legal systems.
The convention is one of the most widely-ratified international human rights treaties, with 177 ratifications since its adoption in 2006, and protects the rights of some 1.5 billion people around the world.
"We cannot afford to ignore or marginalize the contributions of 1.5 billion people," Guterres said, calling for all to do more to ensure people with disabilities have full access to opportunities and can participate fully in society.
Moreover, the UN chief noted a strong gender dimension to disability, saying women and girls are disproportionately affected, particularly in the poorest countries in the world.
"Every minute, more than 30 women are seriously injured or disabled during childbirth," he said.
He pointed out women and girls with disabilities face multiple barriers to accessing education, health services and jobs, calling for women's empowerment and gender equality.
A disabled girl participates in a dance competition during an art competition festival for disabled students from elementary schools and high schools in Jakarta, Indonesia. Feb. 28, 2018. (Xinhua/Agung Kuncahya B.)
With respect to the UN system, Guterres said he has initiated a comprehensive review of the UN's work in this area, which will look at all aspects of how the UN addresses disability, from accessibility, employment to mainstreaming disabilities across the UN's work.
He also said he will release the first flagship report on disability and development later this year. Enditem