DEAR EDITOR, in a news bulletin broadcast today, January 8, 2018, Radio New Zealand International (RNZI) quoted the Solomon Islands Prime Minister as saying the Solomon Islands will ratify the UN Convention on Persons with Disabilities.
This is the text of the RNZI bulletin.
“Prime Minister Rick Hou announced this commitment during a recent meeting with the Solomon Islands Deaf Association in Honiara.
“According to the Solomon Star, Mr Hou said supporting people with special needs was everyone’s business.
“He said schools and institutions around the country should consider introducing sign language into their curricula and training.
“Mr Hou told association representatives at the meeting, Solomon Islands would ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as soon the relevant documentation was finalised.
“Speaking through a sign language interpreter, the president of the Solomon Islands Deaf Association Ali Barnabas thanked the prime minister for this commitment while also highlighting the struggles associations like his continue to face because of a lack of support for people with disabilities in the Solomons”
This commitment by the newly elected Prime Minister is welcomed and one must look forward to the Solomon Islands Government early ratification, but it should be recalled that in a press statement from the PM’s Press Secretariat in September 2015, Prime Minister Sogavare said, “Ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) can be done in Solomon Islands and transmitted to the UN.
“Furthermore any decision by the government to ratify this convention does not even need to be approved by Parliament.
“All we need is a Cabinet Paper for endorsement by Cabinet and we will proceed to be a signatory to the UNCRPD.”
The many persons with disabilities in the Solomon Islands have lacked support for their varied needs for a very long time and I personally urge Prime Minister Hou to finalise the relevant documents and to obtain Cabinet approval for ratification of the UNCRPD and submission to the UN as soon as possible.