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Fiji ratifies international disability agreement

© UNICEF Pacific/2008/Hing
Hilton Special School Students in Fiji

Convention to protect children and adults with disabilities from discrimination and promote their inclusion in society

SUVA, 15 June 2017 – UNICEF welcomes Fiji’s ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), making Fiji the eleventh country in the Pacific to do so.

With the ratification of the Convention, Fiji has committed to align all national legislation with the provisions of the CRPD.  With the aims of the CRPD in mind, the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill was introduced in Parliament last year. In addition to laws, other measures have to be taken to ensure that the rights of all children and adults with disabilities is protected, promoted and fulfilled.

“This is a very encouraging step especially for children and young people living with disabilities. By ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Fiji government commits to improving their lives,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Sheldon Yett. 

The Convention aims to protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all children and adults with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. UNICEF and its partners are working to encourage all countries to ratify the Convention. This will protect children and adults with disabilities from discrimination and promote their inclusion in society. 

Minister of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mereseini Vuniwaqa said “In our society there is no place for prejudice of any kind, yet it was not that long ago when people with disabilities were often not given equal rights and opportunities. Whether this was because of ignorance or indifference, it is not acceptable. Therefore, as you can see we take this opportunity to make a commitment to the nation and show the Pacific that we are a country where all citizens are now able to exercise their rights and fully contribute to the development of their country.”

“This international agreement promotes the full participation of persons with disabilities in all areas of life, challenging stereotypes, biases, and harmful practices and stigma relating to children and adults with disabilities,” said Mr Yett.

Since it was first introduced in 2006, the Convention has been one of the most quickly ratified of all the international human rights treaties. Most Pacific Island Countries have ratified the Convention except for Tonga, Solomon Islands and Niue. In December 2016, Samoa and the Federated States of Micronesia ratified the Convention.

“UNICEF congratulates Fiji and stands ready to assist the government in ensuring its full implementation,” said Mr Yett

The Convention comes into force on July 7, 2017.

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do.  Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicefpacific.org.  

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UNICEF published a document titled ‘It’s about Ability’ that was created for and with the participation of children to explain the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, why it was created and how it can help people with disabilities realize their rights.  https://www.unicef.org/publications/index_43893.html

For more information, please contact:

Donna Hoerder, UNICEF Pacific, +679 3236 100, +679 9265 518, dhoerder@unicef.org

 

 

 
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