Disabled want answers

National, Normal

The National, Thursday, June 9th 2011

NATIONAL Board for Disabled Persons chairman Brown Kapi wants Minister for Community Development Dame Carol Kidu and secretary Joseph Klapat to explain the status of signing and ratifying the United Nations Convention on Rights of Disabled Persons (CRPD).
He said so much had been promised, with Dame Carol and Klapat saying the CRPD signing had been endorsed by the National Executive Council would take place last month.
“To my knowledge, nothing has happened so I would like to ask ministers responsible to clarify to people with disabilities and the nation when the signing will take place,” Kapi said.
He said the Australian government “has already committed more than K8 million funding towards the signing and implementation of CRPD in PNG, they (ministers) should explain why this has not taken place”.
Kapi said he understood political disturbances and the tug-of-war in government might have caused ministers to overlook the convention signing and other important issues of national concern.
“My concerns, however, is on the K8 million funding and how this is being utilised to achieve its purpose,” Kapi said, adding it was coming closer to elections and he would like to see the convention signed and implemented by stakeholders before the end of the year.
“I raise the concern on behalf of all persons with disabilities in the country and call on the government to step in quickly and sign the UN document.
“It is time our rights are recognised because we have been left in the dark for so long. With the available funding I believe we can sign up to the convention,” he said.
The Department of Community Development and National Advisory Committee on Disability would not comment when contacted.
Klapat’s office was contacted but he was reportedly on a duty trip and could not comment either.
The Australian High Commission confirmed the money would come under AusAID programme to PNG but specifically targeted towards realising the rights of people with disabilities through CRPD signing.
“The A$3 million (K8 million) is with AusAID and will not be released until PNG signs up to the UN convention on the rights of people with disabilities,” AusAID’s first secretary for Public Affairs Michael Wightman said.