Statement by Ms Anneli Vares, Deputy Permanent Representative, Mission of Estonia to the United Nations at the Seventh Conference of the State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)
Mr. President, Excellences,
distinguished members of delegations and the civil society,
aligns itself with the statement made on behalf of the European Union, and
would like to offer some additional remarks in our national capacity.
ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the
optional protocol in May 2012 and we are proud to take part in the conference
of this important convention. We all know that people with disabilities are one
of the most vulnerable groups of society, whereby women and children with
disabilities often experience multitude forms of discrimination. As noted in
the preamble of the convention, women
and girls with disabilities are often at greater risk, of among others
violence, injury or abuse, maltreatment or exploitation.
I can assure
that Estonia is attentive to the rights of persons with disabilities and we
have come a long way in this regard since regaining our independence 23 years
ago. Still, much remains to be done and we are glad that this convention serves
as a road map for us as well as for the rest of the world. We also hope that
the resolution, agreed on the treaty body reform this spring, will benefit for
the increasingly effective work of the CRPD committee to which we have just
elected new experts.
I would like
to stress our support to the idea, voiced in the EU joint statement, that disability matters must be addressed in an effective
way in the post 2015 agenda.
would like to concentrate on 2 areas where Estonia has made some significant
steps concerning advancing the opportunities for people with disabilities so
that they could fully and without discrimination participate in the society: namely
education and ICT solutions.
Firstly, education: inclusion
is a fundamental principle in our education system and it is included as an
inseparable part in all legal acts as well as policies related to education
which have been drawn up proceeding from student`s needs.
legislation provides different measures for regular schools in order to
effectively integrate students with special educational needs. Special
competence-centres at local government`s level provide support and counselling
to children with disabilities, their parents, specialists and schools. The
general principle is that every child has the right to be educated at a local mainstream
school unless it is judged that the conditions for their schooling cannot be
met and it is not beneficial for the children themselves. Estonia has foreseen
additional state funding for local governments in order to support their
efforts in providing inclusive education.
would like to touch upon the ICT solutions. Estonia is the country with one of the highest level of Internet freedom and
highly advanced e-solutions. Our e-solutions help people with disabilities like
everyone else in the public. Almost
any activity can be taken care of over the internet in just a few clicks and
people must therefore not worry about physical access to several important
state and private institutions.
As to education, for example, via e-School can parents
follow the marks given to students, their absence from classes, the content of
lessons, and homework and assessments given to students by teachers at the end
of the study period. As to the
decision-making processes, since 2005,
everyone in Estonia has had the opportunity to vote
electronically via the internet. Using an ID card or mobile ID, a voter may
cast his vote from home. Also, for ten years now, Estonians have not been
required to physically visit the bank since the internet bank is open 24 hours
a day. Noteworthy is also the fact
that in Estonia, recurrent prescriptions can be renewed online with medication
to be picked up in any pharmacy in the country and since January 2010, Estonia also began using a medical
information system with which people can securely view their own digital
medical history online.
The list of examples of e-solutions goes on with the common trait helping
to reduce barriers and building a more inclusive society - so that also people
with disabilities are able to participate in the society and decision-making
processes on equal footing with other members of society and without discrimination.
Participation is important on national as well as international level. Therefore
we would like to stress the importance of participation of
Organizations of persons with disabilities also in this very conference and we
firmly believe that their active involvement, being one of the general
obligations of the Convention, should be observed by the Conference of State
but not least I wish to highlight the importance of ratification of
the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and mainstreaming
disability issues into national policy-making in all areas. We should all aim
towards the goal of the convention:
to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights
and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote
respect for their inherent dignity.