GIS – 19 June 2014: A validation workshop on the Disability-Inclusive National Development Strategy and Action Plan 2014-2024, an initiative of the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions, kicked off this morning at La Cannelle, Domaine Les Pailles.
The opening ceremony was graced by the presence of the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions, Mrs Sheilabai Bappoo.
One of the core recommendations of the Action Plan is to amend the Constitution so as to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. It is also advocates for a new Disability Bill which will be enacted to correct anachronisms in existing legislations and reinforce the rights of persons with disabilities.
Moreover, the Action Plan advocates the review of assessment procedures for entitlement to pensions and benefits for there is a need to streamline procedures and develop a fast track with regards to emergency cases, amongst others.
As regards training and employment, the Action Plan proposes the enforcement of the Training and Employment of Disabled Persons (Amendment) Act 2012 in its entirety. The setting up of a dynamic placement service with the assistance of the International Labour Office and the implementation of a Decent Work Country Programme are also recommended.
Concerning children with severe disabilities, the Action Plan suggests the amendment of the Early Childhood Care and Education Authority Regulations to allow these children to stay in pre-primary schools after the age of five.
In addition, with respect to Human Rights, the Action Plan addresses issues of violence and abuse against persons with disabilities. The provision for a number of ballot papers in Braille is also amongst the recommendations.
In her address, Minister Bappoo stated that the Disability-Inclusive National Development Strategy and Action Plan 2014-2024 outlines a ten-year outlook for the disability sector and reiterates the commitment of her Ministry towards improving the lives of persons with disabilities.
She recalled that the number of persons with disabilities amounts to approximately 59 200, representing 4.80% of the total population and the responsibility of her Ministry is to ensure that this section of the population has accessible and adequate services to live fulfilling lives.
Minister Bappoo also underlined that unless the social structure in terms of service delivery is brought in line with the specific needs of persons with disabilities, the concept of an inclusive society will remain a misnomer. It is important to reflect on the past, radically assess the present structure and prepare for a brighter future, she added.
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