Nordic Statement on the rights of persons with disabilities

Statement delivered on 7 March 2018.

As delivered by Finland.

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland.  We thank the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights and the distinguished panellists for their insightful interventions.

Equal access to justice for all is essential for the realisation of all other human rights. Unfortunately, persons with disabilities are often in a more vulnerable position to claim their rights.

Women and girls with disabilities are victims of violence more often than other women and girls.  However, men with disabilities are more often victims of violence in public environments than women with disabilities. 

When it comes to protecting persons with disabilities from violence, major challenges in access to justice [remain and] need to be addressed.  [An important step is to integrate a rights-based approach in efforts to prevent and eliminate violence against persons with disabilities.]

The Nordic Council of Ministers commissioned an expert report[1] on gender-related violence and disability.  This report highlights that victims of violence should have access to information about what violence is and where to turn for help.  It also recommends that training of key actors, like police and social services, should inter alia have a special focus on how persons with different communication disabilities can be understood when they communicate abuse.

A question: to ensure participation by persons with disabilities in the administration of justice and to also ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy access to justice on an equal basis with others, what elements need to be taken into account in the training of police and the judiciary?

Thank you.

[1] When society does not see, hear or understand: gender-related violence and disability; Nordic centre for Welfare and Social Issues. May 2016 (