5 March 2019
Statement by Iceland
Iceland thanks the Special Rapporteur and the Independent Expert for their latest reports.
Mrs. Devandas-Aguilar, we find your focus in your report on disability-specific forms of deprivation of liberty most welcome and agree with you that depriving people of their liberty on the basis of their disability represents a violation of human rights.
We take particular note of your conclusion that persons with disabilities are systematically incarcerated, imprisoned, detained or otherwise physically restricted across the globe, regardless of the economic situation of the country or its legal tradition.
This conclusion, while worrying in itself, invites somewhat contradictory deductions. On the one hand, it would indicate that the problem is so deep-rooted that it will be difficult to address. On the other hand, it could also offer an opportunity, in the sense that if the same applies to all or most states, then perhaps some unity of purpose may be achieved.
We would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this.
I would also like to ask you how one can tailor into the debate the passage of time, of progress that has taken place in recent years and decades. I will presume you agree that in many countries the situation has improved very considerably in fifty years, maybe even in just twenty years.
But what does that mean on a longer time-scale; can we foresee a continuing gradual march towards elimination of such methods as described in your report, or is it your opinion that a drastic intervention is needed at this time, in all societies, in all corners of the world, in equal measure?
Lastly, I want to say that we share your view that children are particularly vulnerable to institutionalization on the basis of impairment and that if we are to start anywhere, we should start there.
I thank you.