Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Post-2015 Agenda

crpdTo fully implement and incorporate the provision of the Convention is indeed a long term process; it requires active cooperation and collaboration with all stakeholders, national and local authorities.  The United Nations called on Member States to review the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and to exchange related experiences and achievements. Representative of Saudi Arabia started off introducing its specialized agency called ‘’Saudi Human Rights Commission” (SHRC), which monitors the implementation of the rights of persons with disabilities and raises awareness on these rights. He reaffirmed the importance of strengthening international cooperation in order to optimize the benefits of persons with disabilities, enhances their self-confidence, and achieves their full partnership in their societies without any discrimination.

Similarly, Romania recently launched a new initiative called COMBAT – Counselling, employment Opportunities, changing Mentalities; eliminate Barriers, Accessibility and Training. This allows the persons with disabilities to contribute to the professional development, so as to create and consolidate a strong motivation for training and integration in the labour market. Canada also demonstrated a solid record on disability-inclusive laws, policies and initiatives to reduce barriers for persons with disabilities.

To promote inclusion and respect for diversity for all, Canada suggested a new development framework – prioritize poverty eradication and address the most marginalized first. Canada does invest on persons with disabilities, which mainly focuses on traditional health interventions, as well as inclusive education, community-based rehabilitation and access to employment. Speaking about inclusion, the first ever Iranian female gold medallist in Paralympics, Zahra Nemati was present at the meeting today. Representative of Iran shared Zahra’s story, she competed in Taekwondo before her paralysis. Her story not only inspires women and girls in Iran, but also all around the world. “Hope is the torch of life, never surrender to obstacles”, she said.

Meeting Title: Incorporating the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the post-2015 development agenda
Speakers: Representative of Saudi Arabia; Representative of Romania; Representative of Canada; Representative of Iran; Representative of Qatar; Representative of Chile; Representative of Nicaragua
Location: United Nations HQ, Conference Room 4
Date: 11 June 2014
Written By WIT representative: Samantha Kong

International Law and Crisis in Ukraine: A Roundtable Discussion

Recent events in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine have raised an array of challenging issues related to self-determination, secession, international intervention, and annexation. The panel aims to explore the legal and policy implications of these issues.

Note: It was recorded that no representative were present from the Russian Federation or from the 11 nation states that were against UN General Assembly Resolution 68/262 that was adopted on 27 March 2014, entitled “Territorial integrity of Ukraine”

In the pursuit of conducting a balanced debate on the issue of Crimea, participants were shown a video of the Republic of Nicaragua delegation providing the UN General Assembly their reasoning for voting against resolution 68/262. The main point highlighted related to the issue of self-determination. This Managua believed validated both – the referendum itself hosted in Crimea on March 16, 2014 and its outcome to join the Russian Federation.

H.E. Yuriy Sergeyev strongly posited that the referendum was illegitimate as it was inspired by Russia and the plebiscite took place while Russian soldiers occupied the peninsula. A similar view is shared by the 100 nations states that were in favour of resolution 68/262 on respecting the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

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Christopher Borgen, acting as a legal advisor on the panel, stated that Moscow’s rationale of categorizing the events, as humanitarian intervention too did not have any legal biases, as matters of intervention do not fall within the jurisdiction of the Crimean Constitution [Article 1] as granted by the parent state; Ukraine. Furthermore, he argued that even if the idea of self-determination is condoned in this scenario, it by no means gives any right to entirely dismember the state.

H.E. Ambassador Yuriy further denounced Moscow for violating the 1994 Budapest Agreement and for acting in a manner inconsistent with international law and thus “creating an imbalance in the international security environment”. As part of the agreement of ‘94, Ukraine had given up its nuclear weapons “on the basis of an explicit Russian guarantee of its territorial integrity”. However by breaching this guarantee, President Putin has undermined the foundational framework of the international order by disrespecting historical obligations that take expression in the form of treaties, pacts and agreements.

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Meeting Title:  International Law and Crisis in Ukraine: A Roundtable Discussion
Speakers: Bettina B. Plevan Proskauer Rose LLP, Chair, Council on International Affairs; Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations; Christopher J. Borgen, Associate Dean for International Studies and Professor of Law, St. John’s University School of Law; Mark A. Meyer, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Moldova in New York, Herzfeld & Rubin, P.C.
Location: The Council on International Affairs of the New York City Bar Association
Date: 4 June 2014
Summary by WIT representative: Apurv Gupta
Edited by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark