Jamaica committed to giving strong priority to persons with disabilitiesListen /
Even as the number of States signing on to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities continued to grow at an "exhilarating" pace, there remained a critical need for the United Nations to act as a "real, practical and daily advocate" for those who had once been all but invisible on the world stage, delegates stressed during the Fifth session of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The Executive Director of the Jamaica Council for persons with Disabilities Christine Hendricks told the conference Jamaica has made a strong commitment to give priority to issues pertaining to persons with disabilities and has made several advances in this area.
HENDRICKS: The Government is at an advanced stage of the drafting process which will allow us to implement the legislative framework to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities. Jamaica remains convinced that persons with disabilities should be provided the opportunities that will allow them to maximize their full potential. In this connection, the government amended the Road Traffic Act in May this year to allow persons with physical disabilities to obtain a drivers' license. This complements the decision taken in 2009 to amend the statutes and allow all deaf persons eligibility for a drivers' license.
NARR: Ms. Hendricks disclosed that with the assistance of a disability expert, the government is conducting a needs assessment and gathering socio-economic data on persons with disabilities to drive developmental planning.
HENDRICKS: Ultimately, this will result in the creation of an electronic database, which will be critical to national planning processes, especially in times of crisis, including disaster preparedness. The government has also engaged the services of a specialist to craft a 5-year communication plan to increase public awareness of the rights of persons with disabilities. The resulting public education programme is intended to significantly increase national registration of persons with disabilities.
NARR: Executive Director of Jamaica's Council for Persons with Disabilities Christine Hendricks. The Fifth Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was held under the theme "Making the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities count for Women and Children with Disabilities". Participants discussed, among other issues, inclusive education, accessibility, and the integration of the rights of persons with disabilities into development plans.
This is Donn Bobb reporting