H.E. Alice Amafo, MA
the Republic of Suriname
High - level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly
23 September 2013
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 15% of the World population lives with some form of disability. Between 110 million - 190 million adults have significant difficulties in functioning. Most of them face a lot of challenges in society. Disability is thus not just a health problem. It is a complex phenomenon, reflecting the interaction between features of a person's body and features of the society in which he or she lives. Overcoming the difficulties faced by people with disabilities requires interventions to remove environmental and social barriers.
The Government of Suriname is of the view that all persons with a disability, regardless of race, gender, sex or age are equal members of society and need to exercise the same rights as others. Therefore in its policy the Government places emphasis on:
1. Protection of children with disabilities, especially in care institutions;
2. Improving the quality of care and services to persons with disabilities,
including equal access to education and health care;
3. Supporting the emancipation and integrity of persons with disabilities by creating sport and recreational opportunities, improving transport for active and meaningful participation in society, creation of appropriate housing as well as job creation.
It is important to acknowledge the contributions of civil society organizations in the implementation of our policies.
Collaboration with persons with disabilities and their organizations as partners is crucial in our efforts to address the challenges faced by them.
Suriname stresses the need for increased regional and international cooperation on issues related to persons with disabilities. The leaders of the Caribbean Community recently recognized that global developments, such as climate change, the impact of the international economic and financial crisis, and natural disasters worsen the situation of poor and vulnerable groups in our societies. They agreed to the holding of a Regional Conference to start a regional dialogue to highlight and address the issues and challenges being faced by persons with disabilities.
Please allow me to state that gender equality and the empowerment of women should remain at the forefront of all our efforts, including the issue at hand, to achieve sustainable development.
In fulfilling our obligation to the needs of persons with disabilities and recognizing them as equals, the Government of Suriname will continue to promote their inclusiveness in all aspects of life!