Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has said the concerns raised by the Dominica Association of Persons with Disabilities (DAPD) will be addressed soon.
The DAPD’s most recent call came during its annual general meeting in May 2018, where the association’s president Irma Raymond-Joseph called for the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
The UNCRPD was adopted by the members of the United Nations in December 2006 and entered into force on 3 May 2008.
According to the UN’s website, with 82 signatories to the Convention, 44 signatories to the Optional Protocol and 1 ratification of the Convention, the UNCRPD received the highest number of signatories in history to a UN Convention on its opening day.
It is the first comprehensive human rights treaty of the 21st century and is the first human rights convention to be open for signature by regional integration organizations.
Dominica signed the UNCPRD on March 30, 2007 and ratified it on October 1, 2012 however it has not yet been legislated.
Mr. Skerrit, while speaking on a radio program on Thursday 21 June 2018 said the DAPD in consultation with the government has asked for the UNCRPD to be part of the 2018/2019 Budget statement.
“The implementation of the convention or certain articles of the convention…I can say off the bat that certainly we will be implementing those. We’ll be putting the administrative mechanism in place to oversee the implementation of the convention in a step by step process.”
He added that a number of recommendations have come from the DAPD and the government will consider implementing them.
Another concern raised by the DAPD’s president, Irma Raymond-Joseph was that the reconstruction of sidewalks along the ministerial building in the City did not make provision for wheelchair users.
Mr. Skerrit said this concern will be addressed as soon as next week.
“Minister McIntyre will get the folks to chisel it down and to allow for the access of people with disabilities.”
The sidewalks, he said, were built “not in keeping with the 21st century” and will therefore be reconstructed to the satisfaction of “the very important group of people in our country”.
The Prime Minister commended the DAPD’s leadership, particularly Mrs. Raymond Joseph and Executive Director Nathalie Murphy.
“They’re really solid advocates, they’re very hard hitting people, very articulate… these are two solid hard hitting people, they know how to negotiate. Having a disability does not mean you are dead, you have your life to live and you can live your life.”
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is intended as a human rights instrument with an explicit, social development dimension. It adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. It clarifies and qualifies how all categories of rights apply to persons with disabilities and identifies areas where adaptations have to be made for persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights and areas where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced.