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Konference om lancering af IASC-guidelines for inklusion af mennesker med handicap i humanitære indsatser den 15. juni 2020

Af Rasmus Prehn, minister for udviklingssamarbejde (S)

Det talte ord gælder

Thank you for inviting me today.

The world famous violinist, Itzhak Perlman, once said: “Every person with a disability is an individual.”

Suffering from polio in his childhood, Perlman needs leg braces and crotches to get around. His words hit me like a ton of bricks.

I’m afraid that many of us still tend to see the disabil-ity - before we see the individual.

We may have come a long way – but the work has just begun.

--oOo--

Today, we celebrate the new Guidelines for Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Crises.

They’re the result of a long process – and they’re much needed.

Persons with disabilities are among the most vulnera-ble in every society.

In crises, conflicts and natural disasters, their situation becomes even more challenging.

The present COVID-19 pandemic is such a situation. The examples are grave:

Under normal circumstances, persons with disabilities face marginalization and social exclusion. COVID-19 has made this disturbing tendency more severe.

Under normal circumstances, persons with disabilities are less likely to access health care, education and employment. COVID-19 has made access to these services and active participation in society even hard-er.

Persons with disabilities often require physical assis-tance. Due to COVID-19 physical distancing measures, this assistance have been made impossible in many cases.

And as always, also when it comes to disabled per-sons, women and girls are affected the most.

They’re now even more exposed to sexual and gen-der-based violence.

They now face even bigger challenges accessing sex-ual and reproductive health care services.

While Perlmans violin is comforting, his words must keep us alert – there’s still work to do!

--oOo—

The Government of Denmark is strongly committed to leaving no one behind.

Therefore, Denmark has supported a number of inter-national instruments:  

One example is the Charter for Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, which we aligned with in 2017.

Another is the UN Convention on People with Disa-bilities, which we signed in 2009.

The needs of persons with disabilities have also taken center stage in Denmark’s COVID-19 response, which we’ve allocated more than 152 million EUR for.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Denmark provided a sec-ond relief-package to respond to the socio-economic effects of COVID-19.

This package – which has a strong focus on persons with disabilities – has broad support in the Danish Parliament.

That broad support is needed if we want to lift this agenda further.

But words don’t get us far: We need to focus on im-plementation.

It’s my hope and expectation that with the guidelines we have before us today, the needs of persons with disabilities will be met to a much higher degree than before.

We’re lucky that Perlman did not succumb to polio – the violin he plays is so beautiful and his words so strong.

We must never forget that each person with a disabil-ity is an individual human being.

We must never forget to see the individual before we see the disability.

We must never think our work is done.

Thank you very much.