New UN disability envoy appointed

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UN Disability Envoy

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Ecuador’s Lenín Voltaire Moreno Garces as his Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility on December 19.

“In spite of the remarkable advances toward accessible and disability-inclusive societies an enormous gap remains between the commitments made and the daily experiences of persons with disabilities,” the UN announced in a news release.

Moreno, a former Nobel Peace Prize nominee, served as the vice president of Ecuador from 2007 to 2013. He currently serves as Chairperson of the Committee for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities of the Organization of American States.

The U.S. Senate held hearings in early November on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which narrowly failed to achieve the two-thirds vote necessary for ratification by the Senate in 2012. The treaty, modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act, was signed by President Obama in 2009 and has been signed by more than 140 countries worldwide.