Task Force for the UN convention on the right of persons with disabilities
Ahigh level task force was established to study and undertake preparation for ratification of the United Nation (UN) convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.
The first meeting of the members of the high level task force was held with an objective to initiate consideration of the state of national preparedness to move towards on the ratification of the convention in the capital last Wednesday.
The chairman of the committee foreign minister Lyonpo Damcho Dorji said that it is important for the stakeholder agencies to have an overview of the convention itself to know what it is and also have the fair identity of what the roles of the respective agencies will be as the provisions of the convention. “This committee is now come with a very comprehensive recommendation to the government as to what should be done in the stage wise. What basically is to come up with the comprehensive recommendation to the government before ratification,” Lyonpo said.
Lyonpo also said that all the stakeholder are to identify what are the infrastructure and facilities that needed to put in place in the various sectors and agencies.
The first article of the convention states that the purpose of the convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities.
Article 10 reaffirms people with disabilities have the right to life. Countries must take all necessary measures to ensure that people with disabilities are able to effective enjoy this right on an equal basis with others.
Article 15 of the convention further reaffirms people with disabilities have the right to be free from torture and from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. No one shall be subjected to medical or scientific experimentation without his or her free consent.
The minister explained that all the articles in the convention are important as persons with disabilities are vulnerable to many abuses, which will harm their lives.
He also focused on the important of ensuring the persons with disabilities to access to opportunities and lead a normal life as far as possible. “They should be given freedom of expression and opinion because unless we hear from them, we will not know what facilities they need.” Lyonpo added.
The chief programme officer with the National Commission for Women and Children, Chhoeki Penjor, said that the provisions mentioned in the convention on women and children issues, are already appearing in the country and also being translated into the national laws. However, there is much to do in terms of policy, services or providing infrastructure facilities for persons with disabilities, before the ratification. She suggested identifying the agency to manage the social protection for the people with disabilities.
Some of the challenges discussed during the meeting for the disabilities were lack of physical infrastructure, weak coordination among the stakeholders, lack of specialized and trained people to deal with persons with disabilities.
The 15th special session of the Lhengye Zhungtshog held on April 20 this year decided to defer ratification of the UN Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities.
However, the foreign ministry was directed to coordinate with relevant agencies and prepare a comprehensive paper for ratification of the convention by the Parliament in future.
The High Level Task Force comprises members from eighteen national stakeholder agencies including civil society which will be guided by the Rules of Procedure for Treaty Making 2016 for submission of the Convention for ratification by Parliament.
The stakeholder agencies of the High Level task force under the chairmanship of Foreign Minister will continue in next meeting to submit for ratification by Parliament. There will be a uniform presentation by the representative of each stakeholder.
The Foreign Minister will be chair of the High Level Task Force. Bhutan signed the convention on September 21, 2010.
GNH is enshrined in Bhutan’s Constitution, Article 9[2) as one of the Principles of State Policy. Promoting the conditions that enables the pursuit of GNH by all citizens, so that they, regardless of race, sex, language, religion, politics, or other status, may enjoy a good quality of life in a progressive and prosperous country is not only one of the objectives of government, but a moral obligation.
Article 7 further reaffirms Bhutan’s commitment to build an inclusive society, one that enables all Bhutanese, including those with disabilities, to lead fulfilling lives, to contribute, and to participate as full members of society