L’Arche joins call for ‘rethinking inclusion’ at annual United Nations disability summit

This week, L'Arche is joining other advocates in New York to call for expanding inclusive programmes that remove barriers and create opportunities for people with disabilities. 

"We are here to make sure everybody's voice is heard,” Nicholas Herd from L'Arche said. Herd, a Canadian with Down Syndrome is a longtime inclusion advocate. He will anchor coverage of the Conference during a four-hour guest editorship of the UN News Blog, the first such takeover in UN News history. 

Ten L’Arche delegates from Lithuania, Canada and the U.S. will participate as part of the United Nations 17th Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The annual event is one of the most critical gatherings in the movement to remove the barriers that keep people from participating fully in society “so that we are equal people," delegate Mantas Karpavičius from Lithuania explained. 

In reaching for global goals and responding to crises, intentional focus on disabilities is critical.

Among its most pressing discussion points this year, the conference has elevated the need to expand inclusion for people with disabilities in situations of risk and humanitarian emergency. 

L’Arche's experience accompanying people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Ukraine, Palestine, Haiti, and Syria among other areas of instability testifies to the need for expanded efforts that reduce risk and promote inclusive response planning. 

L’Arche works in some of the world’s most fragile contexts, where crises further complicate the already challenging effort to promote inclusion and provide accompanying services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” L’Arche Interim International Leader, Sylvain Brabant said. “It is critical the global community works to reduce risks and direct resources to support people with disabilities, who are often forgotten in aid efforts.” 

The Conference theme, “Rethinking disability inclusion in the current international juncture and ahead of the Summit of the Future” brings disability leadership into greater conversation with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

“The call for dignity and rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities intersects with every one of the Sustainable Development Goals,” Brabant said. “A more inclusive approach to achieving them means the goals are more accessible to all – together, we can bring forward a transformed society, and achieve our Global Goals.”