Our commitment to global disability rights and inclusion

Delivered by Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson:

Distinguished delegates,

The United Kingdom strongly supports the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

We are committed to improving the lives of disabled people and will soon publish the National Disability Strategy. It will focus on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects of life. The strategy will take into account the impacts of the pandemic and include commitments which tackle barriers and increase opportunities.

We welcome this conference’s focus on COVID-19 response and recovery. The UK Government is fully committed to supporting disabled people. We regularly engage with disabled people to ensure their needs are considered in the Government’s COVID-19 response. We are ensuring that disabled people continue to have access to financial and other support, and accessible communications.

Furthermore, we are actively working on policies to prevent health-related job losses and are already helping disabled people stay in, and enter work. In response to the pandemic, we have provided specialist employment support remotely, and made programmes easier to access.

We will publish a Health and Disability Green Paper informed by the views of disabled people. This will explore how our welfare system can better meet the needs by: improving claimant experience of our services, enabling independent living and improving employment outcomes.

The UK remains committed to global disability rights and inclusion. The UK’s Integrated Review, setting our international priorities, reaffirms our work to protect human rights for all throughout our diplomacy and development activities. The second Global Disability Summit monitoring report demonstrates excellent progress against the 170 sets of global disability commitments, including by the UK.

In 2021, the UK will launch an enhanced Disability Inclusion Strategy, expanding to include new pressing global issues, such as responses to COVID-19 and climate change. It will reflect our wider global footprint allowing us to work with more partners across the world. To support implementation, we will: create a new External Disability Board, deliver new commitments at the 2022 Global Disability Summit and work across UK government to embed disability inclusion considerations across our entire Official Development Assistance spend.

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