Samoa Signs Convention On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities

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Advocates have been working on issue for some time

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Sept. 26, 2014) – Samoa yesterday signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (C.R.P.D).

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, signed on behalf of Samoa at the United Nations Headquarters in New York yesterday.

The Prime Minister is attending the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The signing of the C.R.P.D symbolizes the intentions of Samoa to become a state party to Convention.

This has been in the pipeline for some time now, and is the direct result of advocacy on the part of the Disabled Persons Organization and service providers in the disability sector.

"The ultimate aim for facilitating Samoa’s accession to C.R.P.D is to ensure we have an enabling environment that promotes and supports inclusive development at all levels as one of the key principles for sustainable development in line with the direction of the relevant regional and global instruments on development," a statement from the government said.

"Having signed the Convention, the next steps include the finalization of the Legislative Compliance Review of the Convention against our laws, the costing of an implementation plan for Samoa once it becomes a full state party for C.R.P.D, and ongoing awareness on what CRPD is about."

"The education and awareness activities have begun already through financial assistance from the Government of Australia and through strategic partnerships with the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat and the Pacific Disability Forum."

In 2013 a Disability Programme funded by Australia was launched and this is delivered through the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development as the national focal point for Disability.

The programme provides support for the government towards becoming a state party for C.R.P.D, which is anticipated to take place, once all the ground work has been completed through the assistance from the Government of Australia.

According to the W.H.O World Report on Disability, the number of persons with disabilities in Samoa translates to approximately 27,600 people, that is 15per cent of the population.

People with physical disabilities such as spinal injuries, visual or hearing impairments are those who have been most active within Samoa’s disability sector, which is made up of partners the public and private sectors, but it is likely that people with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities make up the largest proportion of people with disabilities, as is the case globally.

The signing of the C.R.P.D is the culmination of years of advocacy from the disability sector, for both disabled and able-bodied people to share and benefit from development processes, so that developmental outcomes are more likely to be achieved and the lives of all people will be improved.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the 5th international human rights instrument to be signed by government of Samoa.

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