Codes of practice to protect the disabled

Saturday, December 15, 2018

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THE Codes of Practice to protect persons with disabilities (PWDs) are to be completed in the upcoming 2019/2020 financial year.

Meanwhile, the Disability Regulations are to be completed by the end of December.

This was announced by Minister of Labour and Social Security Shahine Robinson at the launch of a 'Situational Analysis of Persons with Disabilities' report on at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston, recently.

The launch was held as part of the commemorative activities for the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), observed annually on December 3. The theme for this year was 'Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality'.

Minister Robinson said the ministry is working assiduously to ensure that the codes are completed as quickly as possible, as implementation of the Disabilities Act is contingent on the corresponding codes of practice.

“Going forward, the ministry is dedicated to implementation of the Disabilities Act. The codes of practice currently being drafted will provide practical guidance to our stakeholders in education, training and empowerment on how to ensure inclusion of persons with disabilities,” Robinson said.

She encouraged members of the private and public sectors, as well as civil society, to be “more deliberate in engaging the community of persons with disabilities”.

“The Government remains committed for the long term to guarantee full inclusion. Consequently, it has been working through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to ensure that persons with disabilities are constantly empowered. We recognise, however, the need for strengthened capacity, and so the organisational review currently taking place will provide many of the solutions to the issues and challenges raised in the situational analysis,” she noted.

The codes and regulations follow the passage of the Disabilities Act in 2014 and will set the minimum standards on how the public is to interact with individuals with disabilities.

They will also guide the participation of PWDs in society and will state the penalties for discrimination.

Also launched at the event was the 'I Am Able' disability awareness media campaign, which seeks to promote the empowerment and inclusion of children with disabilities.

The report and the campaign are the main outcomes of a two-year partnership between the ministry and Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD), which began in 2017.

The main purpose of the report is to provide evidence-based recommendations for the implementation of the Disabilities Act, which was passed in 2014, but is yet to be fully enforced.

It underscores that people with disabilities are often overlooked and marginalised, and tend to face discrimination and social exclusion.

The initiatives are being spearheaded by the JCPD, in partnership with Digicel Foundation and United Nations Children's Fund.

— JIS


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