Available languages:
Inclusion can’t wait - Forum on Business and Human Rights 2019
27 Nov 2019 -  Inclusion can’t wait. The business case for the inclusion of persons with disabilities
Session organized by OHCHR, ILO, the International Disability Alliance, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities and the EU funded Bridging the Gap Project.

With respect to the world of work, persons with disabilities have historically faced serious challenges and barriers impeding their access to employment. This represents a violation not only of their rights, but a loss for our societies and economies. Many persons with disabilities continue to face discrimination with respect to opportunities and outcomes in the world of work.

As a result, there is disproportionately low representation of persons with disabilities in the global labour market. Across all regions, on average, persons with disabilities are employed at a 25% lower rate than others. In Africa and India, about three out of four persons with disabilities are excluded from the labour force.

And where they are employed, they face obstacles in their working environment and conditions with poor promotional prospects. In Chile, 20% of persons with disabilities report that their workplace is not accessible, while in Cameroon it is 50% and in Sri Lanka, 45% of employed persons with disabilities.

Businesses have a primary responsibility to ensure that recruitment processes and workplaces are barrier-free to ensure that all potential employees, including persons with disabilities, have equal opportunities to be hired and included in the workplace. Accessible and inclusive work environments not only ensure that employees with disabilities can contribute and advance in their careers on an equal basis with others, they also serve to promote staff engagement and retention for better business results. Governments have a key role to guide businesses in fostering inclusive workplaces which embrace diversity and strengthen respect for human rights.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, among other instruments, guide States in these commitments – both with respect to businesses within their borders and those beyond in the framework of international cooperation.

Aim of the session
This panel session, organised by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Disability Alliance (IDA), the Office of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the EU funded Bridging the Gap Project- Inclusive Policies and Services for Equal Rights of persons with Disabilities, seeks to present good practices to promote the employment of persons with disabilities and to consolidate the business case for inclusion.
Format of the session
The panelists will share their unique perspectives from government, the private sector, the disability movement, national business and disability networks, and international cooperation agencies, on how they are working to fulfil this common goal.

Lene Wendland - Chief of the Business and Human Rights Unit, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

• Eleni Theodorou - Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Engagement Consultant
• Carla Bonino - CSR and Sustainability Head of Unit, Fundación ONCE
• Dylan Winder - Counsellor and Team Leader Humanitarian, Protracted Crises and Migration, UK Mission to the UN and WTO
• Firehiwot Siyum - Independent Expert, former coordinator of the Ethiopian National Business and Disability Network
• Thierry Fiquet - European Union Expertise on Social Protection, Labour and Employment, SOCIEUX+
• Berhanu Tefera - African Disability Forum - Executive Director, International Disability Alliance
• Catalina Devandas Aguilar - UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

(Forum on Business and Human Rights)