International Day of Families

15 Mayo 2007
Author: UNFPA

Today as we commemorate the International Day of Families, the focus is on “Families and Persons with Disabilities”.

For persons with disabilities, the environment within the family is extremely important to their quality of life. Families create opportunities that support persons with disabilities to achieve their full potential. And persons with disabilities and their families need the support of other social structures and institutions—from schools, to public transport, health services and justice systems—to ensure equal opportunity in health, education and employment. Persons with disabilities also have the right to start their own families, a choice that has often been denied through such coercive measures as forced abortion and forced sterilization.

The world’s 650 million persons with disabilities and all of us can take heart in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2006. The Convention reiterates the human rights of persons with disabilities and paves the way for corrective action.

In Article 23 of the Convention, Governments agreed to protect persons with disabilities against discrimination in matters relating to marriage, relationships and the family.

They agreed to protect the rights of persons with disabilities to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and to have access to age-appropriate information, reproductive and family planning education. They agreed to provide the means necessary to enable persons with disabilities to exercise these rights.

Governments also agreed that persons with disabilities, including children, have the right to retain their fertility on an equal basis with others.

In article 25 of the Convention, Governments agreed to provide persons with disabilities with the same range, quality and standard of free or affordable health care and programmes as provided to other persons, including in the area of sexual and reproductive health.

UNFPA has pledged its support to protect the reproductive rights of persons with disabilities and ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health. Today, I call on all Governments to sign and ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and put its provisions into practice. By dedicating ourselves to the promotion and protection of the human rights of all persons, including persons with disabilities, we will strengthen families and create a better world for all.