Solomons PM urged to ratify UN disability convention
An organisation representing people with disabilities in Solomon Islands is urging the prime minister to ratify the UN treaty for the protection of their rights.
An organisation representing people with disabilities in Solomon Islands is urging the country's prime minister to ratify the UN treaty for the protection of their human rights.
People with Disability Solomon Islands made the call during a meeting with prime minister Manasseh Sogavare last week ahead of his upcoming trip to New York for the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
The organisation's president Casper Fa'asala says people living with disability in Solomon Islands are marginalized and have limited access to basic services like education, healthcare and clean water.
Mr Fa'asala believes ratifying the convention would mainstream ongoing work to make a more inclusive society for people with disabilities.
CASPER FA'ASALA: There is practical difficulties when we consider the situation in Solomon Islands. If I may simply say it is not a difficulty of giving support to the person but it we have difficulties in terms of infrastructure. In terms of allowing disabled being able to access to needs such as even for clean water. They won't walk to the nearest sort of source or a well to have baths or to have clean drinking water of their own. Even children cannot walk distances to get to the next school in less than hours and they will be quite a distance for them so access to education for them can be a problem. Even for light. I would like to say, of course acknowledge that there is some support given from the MPs giving solar to the people in the villages. I am confident of saying that not many disabled have lights in their homes. In terms of accessibility, the building codes here need to certainly look at inclusion. You hardly see a person on a wheelchair going freely into a bank to do his or her banking at the counters. The banks are not disability-friendly. Even at shops when there are no ramps built in front of the shops and even when people with disabilities enter into shops storekeepers are just staring at them.
KOROI HAWKINS: And what will ratifying the UN convention do for improving these things?
CF: Certainly we will continue by ratifying the convention the government is committed in that sense it will give us direct budget allocations annually so it will increase awareness and advocacy on these needs. Not only that, but our participation in terms of a lot of consultations at different levels with the government and other key stakeholders to advise on policies and to advise on implementation of those policies would give greater participation in government responding to the needs that were just expressed and therefore it will give us some room for improvements. Certainly in terms of livelihood, this is one area that we need to of course call for the government to see these different skills and abilities of persons with disabilities and surely there should be a scheme that would direct and empower people with disabilities to do their own business at their own level with the support of their families, the caregivers and the communities.
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