SI PM SAYS SUPPORTING PEOPLE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS IS EVERYONE’S BUSINESS.
Quoting an article in the Solomon Star published on 7 January 2018.
“Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela says supporting people with special needs is everyone’s business.
This includes the Government, families, relatives and the society as a whole.
“The Prime Minister expressed this during a meeting with the Solomon Islands Deaf Association (SIDA) at the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (OPMC) last Friday.
“We must accept people with special needs and provide them with the love and care they deserve,” he said.
“President of SIDA Ali Barnabas, speaking through a sign-language interpreter, thanked the Prime Minister for accepting their humble invitation.
"According to Mr Barnabas, since the establishment of SIDA in 2013, it is the first time for any Prime Minister to accept their invitation.
“Mr Barnabas said the association has had its share of struggles for the past years due to the lack of support, stating that it is time the Government and the society take heed of to their concerns.
“The President informed the Prime Minister that there are a total of 59 SIDA members to date, and most of them have spent six years at the Solomon Islands Red Cross People with Special Needs School; and another 4 years at the San Isidro Rural Training Centre.
“The Prime Minister in response, acknowledged the President and his team for taking their time to share their stories with him.
“Every family, friend, and member of our communities must stand together with our fellow citizens who have special needs and to provide them the support to enable them to achieve their goals in life,” he said.
The prime minister said schools and institutions around the country should consider sign language as part of their curriculum.
“Sign language trainings should be practiced by families and all institutions such as medical and health centres, correctional institutions, local communities and schools.
“This will enable our people with special needs to feel part of our society, a fundamental right they deserve,” he said.
“The Prime Minister said as soon as the documents on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) are finalised, it will be ratified to make way for a possible platform where the issues such as those shared by Mr Barnabas can be dealt with accordingly.
“This convention clarifies and qualifies how all categories of rights apply to persons with disabilities and identifies areas where adaptations have to be made for persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights and areas where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced.
“This will be adopted to ensure that persons with disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms."
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