UN Philippines chief bats for inclusive development at event for Little People
Mr. Gustavo Gonzalez addresses challenges facing persons with dwarfism
The following is the text of the message (as prepared) of UN Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez on 28 January 2023 at "Big Dreams for Little People: Stand tall and break the wall for little people," organized by Big Dreams for Little People – Philippines Inc. (AKA BDLPP), a non-profit organization that aims to enhance awareness and advocate for the protection of the rights and welfare of Little People in the Philippines as well as to promote equal opportunity for our sector. The event was organized in celebration of AKA BDLPP's 6th year founding anniversary and was a post-celebration of Dwarfism Awareness Month (DAM).
Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished guests,
I am delighted to be here with you at the Sixth General Assembly and Post-Celebration of Dwarfism Awareness Month.
Celebrated in October every year, International Dwarfism Awareness Month is not just about the height of a person and the challenges this may present. It is about a unique and talented community overcoming physical barriers, exclusion and stereotyping to seize opportunities and make progress for all members of the community. Today’s celebration reflects this. We are here to promote a fully inclusive society, and to raise awareness about how to work together to achieve this.
The United Nations promotes respect for the human rights of all people ensuring the fundamental principles of equality, inclusivity and non-discrimination are applied for the realization of economic, social and cultural rights, in the delivery of services for those in need and inclusive participation of people of all backgrounds in decision-making processes.
The Sustainable Development Goals emphasizes a commitment to “Leave No One Behind”, referring to creating opportunities for those who are most at risk of being marginalized or left out of development processes. Article 27 of The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) states that persons with disabilities have the same right to work and get jobs as everyone else.
In spite of commitments that all countries have made through the Universal Declaration on Human Rights to work for non-discrimination, persons with dwarfism, continue to experience challenges in many countries.
In the Philippines, some generic approaches have been initiated through legislation protecting and promoting the rights of persons with disabilities. However, there is still a long way to go in educating the public as well as sectoral service providers about the specific issues facing Little People. There is a need for public awareness-raising on non-discrimination. There is a need for doctors with specialized knowledge on different types of dwarfism; and for teachers who can implement anti-bullying initiatives in schools. There is a need for managers in public and private workplaces who value reasonable accommodation as essential to recruiting and keeping the best talent. Heightened awareness in these and other areas will pave the way for Little People and persons of average height to make meaningful contributions together.
The United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy adopted by the Secretary General in 2019, provides the foundation for progress on disability inclusion in the work of the United Nations. Through this Strategy, the United Nations system reaffirms that the full and complete realization of the human rights of all persons with disabilities is central to all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The strategy aims to systematically embed the rights of persons with disabilities, including those affected by Dwarfism, into UN work, both externally, through our programs, and internally through a workplace with an enabling environment for all.
The United Nations in the Philippines works to promote and protect the rights of all people without distinction. In this context, the UN in the Philippines has supported the Philippine National Disability Forum and other civil society organizations. Through such steps we advocate for the active participation of all groups so that they are able to play their part in development, have a voice, contribute to solutions and enjoy rights. I thank you again for this invitation, and I look forward to our continued collaboration.