Lack of accessibility a key barrier to the full participation of persons with disabilities

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Maxine McClean

NARRATOR:  The internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), cannot be achieved without incorporating the rights and perspective of persons with disabilities in the mainstream development agenda.

That, according to Barbados' Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxine McClean. She told a High-level meeting on the Way Forward: A Disability-Inclusive Development Agenda that this is especially the case given the vulnerability of persons with disabilities. They experience disproportionately high rates of poverty, and are more likely to be marginalized and excluded from education, employment, health care, support systems, recreation, and the physical environment.

” Barbados, like other developing countries, faces formidable challenges in achieving its development objectives. The on-going impacts of the financial and economic crises are profound, and exacerbate already insufficient national capacity. Efforts to mainstream disability in development policies cannot be separated from these realities. Given the high priority which Barbados accords to the provision of strong social safety nets, every effort will be made to cushion negative impacts on persons with disabilities. The implementation of a 'Fully Accessible Barbados' programme, spearheaded by the Barbados Council for the Disabled, will be given high priority in the national post- 2015 Development Agenda.”

NARRATOR: Minister McClean said the lack of accessibility is one of the key barriers to the full participation of persons with disabilities. Accessibility is both a means and a goal of inclusive and sustainable development, and is essential to social integration and the full enjoyment of human rights.

Barbados established the National Disabilities Unit in the late 1990's. In 2002, the White Paper on Disabilities made provision for subventions to civil society organizations working on disability rights issues. A National Advisory Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was established in 2005.

Barbados ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in February of this year.

This is Donn Bobb reporting.

Duration:  1’58″




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