76 UNGA: Statement by the Cuban delegation at the general debate of the 15th Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. New York, 15 June 2022.

Mr. Chairman;

The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously impacted on economic and social development. Within this challenging context, the vulnerability of persons with disabilities heightens, and therefore our commitment to their protection should be enhanced.

Further progress on a global scale in the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities will depend on strengthening international cooperation and transferring resources and technologies to the South. Addressing better the needs of these people often requires material and technological resources to which the developing world has no access at all. Priority must therefore be given to development.

The materialization of the letter and spirit of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will not be possible as long as a group of developing countries remain under the impact of unilateral coercive measures.

In addition to COVID-19, Cuba has also coped with the opportunistic and unprecedented toughening of the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the United States against our country, which has been in force for more than 6 decades. The blockade violates the Charter of the United Nations and International Law; it is the main hindrance to our development and directly hampers the lives of Cubans with some form of disability.

The Secretary-General's report A/76/405 contains several examples. One of them is that visually impaired individuals cannot benefit from the "Jaws" screen reader, which would allow them to interact with computers, since Cuba cannot purchase and use this software, developed by a U.S. company.

However, despite the criminal blockade by the United States, we have continued to make strides in the implementation of the Convention, to which we remain fully committed, as part of our system of justice, assistance and social protection. In pandemic times, we have not neglected the protection of this population group and the attention to their needs.

We have made achievements such as the development of "Infantix", a screening system for one-month-old infants for early detection of hearing and vision disorders. This has made it possible for these children to attain at the age of five the same neurodevelopmental milestones as a non-hearing impaired child, and to be incorporated into the general education.

Under the premise of achieving full justice, we will continue to make headway in the construction of an increasingly inclusive society for people with disabilities.

Thank you very much.