Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Grenada to ratify Convention for Persons with Disabilities

Minister of Social Development, Delma Thomas.

By Linda Straker

SOCIAL Development Minister, Delma Thomas, has given the assurance that Grenada will be among member states of the United Nations that will ratify and implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the coming weeks.

The National Democratic Congress administration of Tillman Thomas signed the Convention in 2010, but failed to ratify the document whose purpose is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal
enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities.

“Our ratification of the treaty’s obligation will set the concrete policy framework for our adoption of policies that will ensure the full inclusion of persons with disabilities into our development process,” Thomas told the High Level Meeting on the Realisation of the Millennium Development Goals for Persons with Disabilities, which was held at the United Nations headquarters on Monday.

“Our Government is committed to increasing training and job opportunities for people with disability, as a key step towards empowerment,” she added, while informing the leaders at the meeting that the IMANI youth training and internship programme, which was launched earlier this year, includes a
number of people with disabilities. The Small Business Development Fund also has the particular mandate for special consideration for members of that community.

“Indeed it is the philosophical outlook of our Government that we will be unable to tap into our full potential unless we incorporate all of our citizens. Our work plan for the coming period also includes engaging the private sector to encourage them to adopt attitudes and approaches that will facilitate our compatriots with disabilities,” she said.

Minister Thomas said that the Government of Grenada is committed to continue funding the Grenada National Council for the Disabled, a largely non-governmental organisation that acts as the central point of co-ordination for development activities among disabled citizens of Grenada. The purpose of the organisation is to give the disabled community a voice in the decisions that affect their lives by empowering them to accept responsibility and to take action for their well-being.

Thomas said that her Government, which returned to office on February 19, 2013, is conscious of the urgent need as well, to facilitate easy access to all public facilities for all individuals with disabilities.

“The absolute commitment of the Government is there, in keeping with the Treaty’s obligation. It is an area in which we lag behind, and given the current economic challenge at home, for which we will seek international assistance through various agencies in the UN system,” she said.

According to Thomas, Grenada fully endorses the document put forward at the meeting entitled “The Way Forward: A Disability Inclusive Development Agenda towards 2015 and beyond”.

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