International Day for Persons with Disabilities-‘Eliminate barriers, empower people with disabilities’


Minister MeritonThe minister’s message reads: “This year’s theme to commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is: ‘Removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all’.
 This international day is an opportunity for our population to focus on what each and every one of us can do, in the work that we do and in the community where we live to remove all types of barriers in our society.

“Evidence and experience have shown that when barriers to inclusion are eliminated people with disabilities are empowered to participate fully in mainstream society, thus benefiting their entire communities. As a small island developing state, Seychelles needs all of its children to contribute to national development. And it has always been the goal of our government to ensure that we have an inclusive and fair society for all our citizens. In terms of gender, human rights, children’s rights and the rights of our disabled brothers and sisters, it has always been our policy to remove existing barriers – whether social or legal – to allow our people to live freely and participate fully in all aspects of life and development. 

“Inclusion and accessibility are two of the fundamental rights recognised by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. During this year we have seen a lot of actions locally aimed at improving outcomes for persons with disabilities through the promotion of these two rights. These include a study to identify standards on accessibility that are suitable for the local context, the translation of the convention on disability into the local language to facilitate sensitisation and the successful lobbying by the National Council for Disabled for the inclusion of accessibility provisions in the Town and Country Act.

“This year is also a landmark year for the Seychelles in regards to its reporting obligations vis-à-vis the Convention. The initial progress report on the implementation of the convention has been made public for comments during this week, after which subject to any amendments, it will be presented to the Cabinet of Ministers for approval for onward transmission to the UN committee on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

“As we embark on the journey of implementing the social renaissance plan of action let us also ensure that though persons with disabilities form only 3% of our total population they remain significant throughout, and that issues are integrated in all actions so that no one person or group of persons are left behind. Have we ever asked ourselves what can we do to make our environment friendlier for persons with disabilities?

“Let us be reminded that we are being asked to not only think of the right of inclusion and accessibility as goals to work towards, but a necessary pre-requisite for the enjoyment of other rights such as the right to education, the right to health and the right to live independently.
“I take this opportunity to pay homage to the Council for the Disabled and the many volunteers who work tirelessly for the betterment of the lives of our brothers and sisters with disabilities.

“We are all different in our own unique way. Let us, however, find inspiration and strength in the ability that we all possess and bring forth our contribution for the betterment of our community. Have a joyful International Day for Persons with Disabilities.”

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