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United Nations Commemorative Event for Entry into Force of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Optional Protocol

May 13, 2008
On Monday May 12 2008, a ceremony was held to celebrate the entry into force of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at UN Headquarters in New York. The meeting was attended by the Secretary General Ki Moon Bang, in addition to Ambassador Luis Gallegos of Ecuador, which was the first president of the Ad Hoc Committee, Mr Gilberto Rincon Gallardo, president of Comissão Nacional para a Prevenção da Discriminação – (the National Commission for the Prevention of Discrimination) - CONAPRED of Mexico , responsible in presenting the proposal that the UN should adopt a convention on the rights of persons with disabilities at the International Conference on racism, held in Durban, South Africa, 2001.

Among the many speakers from different countries around the world were the First Lady of Panama, H.R.H. Prince Ra’ad Bin Zeid of Jordan,  the Minister of Social Affairs of Ecuador, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr. Sha Zukang, a senior official of the Spanish government and civil society, Marta Lucia Osorno Posada, Colombia, representing the World Federation of the Deaf in the International Alliance of Disability. It is curious to note that, of all the speakers at that ceremony, a good number spoke Spanish, which highlights the fact that a large number of Latin American countries contributed their ratifications for the Convention’s entry into force.

The most curious fact at the function was the presence of several sign language interpreters. During the meeting it was observed that there were 3 sign language interpreters: American Sign Language, Colombian Sign Language for Marta Lucia, and Finnish Sign language for Mr. Marku Jokinen, the president of the World Federation of the Deaf. When someone was asked to speak and spoke in Spanish, ASL interpreters were unable to continue, and Martha Lucia’s interpreter had to come to the rescue and save the situation for all people who are deaf present there and to those who attended the ceremony via the Internet.
To read more on the UN Convention of the rights of People with Disabilities log on to: