71 UNGA: Cuba at the general debate of the 10th session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Mr. President,

We note with satisfaction that the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has entered its second decade with 174 States Parties. My delegation encourages all States not yet party to the Convention to accede it or ratify it, as appropriate.

Cuba holds the view that protection and attention to the specific needs of persons with disabilities are an essential component of social development and a moral imperative to be resolved by the international community; particularly considering that the world has the resources to do so. However, we are concerned that a significat part of these resources are misused, especially destined to rather ethically reprehensible military purposes.

Mr. President,

The ratification of the Convention, less than a year after its adoption, reaffirmed Cuba's commitment to the rights protected by this instrument and is consistent with the priority given by Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro, the unquestinable leader of the Cuban Revolution, to build an inclusive, supportive society based on social justice and the recognition of the full and equal enjoyment and exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Cuba has paid particular attention to the issue of disability in the context of the hardships resulting from the inhumane economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States government against our country for over 50 years, of its economic and financial constraints as a developing country and of the devastating impact of climate events.

We are convinced that people with disabilities play a fundamental role in implementing the Convention, as well as in designing and executing policies and actions. For this reason, non-governmental organizations that bring together persons with disabilities are permanent guests to the National Council for Attention of Persons with Disabilities, coordinated by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

In our country, three non-governmental associations bring together this population segment: the Cuban Association of Disabled People (ACLIFIM), the National Association of Blind and Visually Impaired Persons (ANCI) and the National Association of Deaf People of Cuba (ANSOC). These organizations are an essential part in the defense, counselling, promotion, respect and exercise of the rights of persons with disabilities, including not only their members but society in general.

Mr. President,

Cuba reaffirms its willingness to maintain and promote the inclusion and full participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Thank you very much.