MRS CHRISTINE HENDRICKS
JAMAICA COUNCIL FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
FIFTH SESSION OF CONFERENCE OF STATES PARTIES TO THE CONVENTION
ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
12th SEPTEMBER 2012
Thank you, Mr Chairman,
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the delegation of Jamaica, to provide an update on the steps we have taken to implement the Convention at the national level, as well as our efforts to make a difference in the lives of persons with disabilities in my country.
I am pleased to advise that the Government has made a strong commitment to give priority to issues pertaining to persons with disabilities; and since the last meeting of States Parties, Jamaica has made several advances in this area. The Government is currently 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 of this year to allow persons with physical disabilities to obtain a driversí license. This complements the decision taken in 2009 to amend the statutes and allow all deaf persons eligibility for a driverís license.
I am also pleased to inform this gathering 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. 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 program is intended to significantly increase national registration of persons with disabilities.
Importantly, the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities has established a National Disability Awards programme; and the inaugural ceremony will be held in November 2012. The objective is to recognize those that truly demonstrate what it means to remove barriers and create access for persons with disabilities, and support the national agenda for inclusive development.
Finally, Mr Chairman, Jamaica remains committed to the advancement and implementation of the provisions of the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We are committed to improving the quality of life of these vulnerable individuals. We wish for this Conference all the success and encourage Member States who have not yet signed and ratified the Convention, to do so urgently.
I thank you for your attention.