Change In Poli­cies For The Dis­ad­van­taged

Fiji Sun - - Parliament News - ARIETA VAKASUKAWAQA Edited by Ru­si­ate Mataika arieta.vakasukawaqa@fi­

Ex­plicit poli­cies need to be drafted in or­der to ac­com­mo­date peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties into the civil ser­vice, says Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary for Civil Ser­vice, Ber­nadette Welsh. Ms Welsh raised her con­cerns dur­ing the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on For­eign Af­fairs and De­fence meet­ing on the sub­mis­sions on rat­i­fi­ca­tion with­out reser­va­tions of the United Na­tion Con­ven­tions on the Rights of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties in Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day.

Ms Welsh said the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the con­ven­tion would give Fiji and the civil ser­vices as­signed work which would bring to life the rights of peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties in­clud­ing adap­ta­tion to en­able their full par­tic­i­pa­tion.

“I think the civil ser­vice in Fiji needs to lead by ex­am­ple and there are few things that we can do which will demon­strates our ac­tions to the rest of the com­mu­nity that it is pos­si­ble to put in place dif­fer­ent poli­cies that can en­able dis­able peo­ple to bet­ter par­tic­i­pate in the work force,” she said.

Ms Welsh said Fiji had still a long way to go com­pared to Aus­tralia.

“I have no­ticed in Fiji in com­par­i­son to Aus­tralia is that we have a lot to do and I don’t want to un­der­play that , we have a lot to do in terms of ac­ces­si­bil­ity , size of en­try ways and build­ings , dis­abled bath­rooms , trans­port and a whole num­ber of other things. “But the thing is we have to start from some­where and if we don’t rat­ify the Con­ven­tion than how we are go­ing to be able to start ex­plic­itly do­ing the things we need to do to en­able those rights that are en­trenched in the con­sti­tu­tion to be given to peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties,” she said. Ms Welsh said it was im­por­tant that poli­cies within the civil ser­vice were for­mu­lated in such way to pro­vide a work­ing en­vi­ron­ment suit­able for peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties and that they were treated with equal­ity. “The way we treat our dis­able peo­ple in the work place and civil ser­vice says a lot about us as a na­tion so I think it was very im­por­tant that Fiji does rat­ify the con­ven­tion and starts along the road to start mak­ing Fiji be able to sup­port dis­abled peo­ple to fully par­tic­i­pate in all as­pects of so­ci­ety,” she said. Com­mit­tee mem­ber, Op­po­si­tion Mem­ber, Roko Tupou Drau­nidalo said the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the Con­ven­tion should be im­ple­mented and not done to make us look good. Mean­while Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary for So­cial Wel­fare, Women and Poverty Alle­vi­a­tion, Dr Josefa Koroivueta who also made sub­mis­sions said they were work­ing to­wards com­pil­ing in­for­ma­tion that would help them iden­tify peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties in var­i­ous parts of Fiji.

Photo: Vil­imoni Va­ganalau

Front from left: Prin­ci­pal Youth Of­fi­cer eastern Ge­orge Fran­cis, Min­istry of Youth and Sports Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary Al­li­son Burchell, act­ing prin­ci­pal youth of­fi­cer for Re­search, Pol­icy, Plan­ning and In­for­ma­tion Unit Philip Hereniko dur­ing the For­eign Af­fairs and De­fence Stand­ing Com­mit­tee meet­ing yes­ter­day.

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