The government has declared its intention to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The Convention is an international human rights treaty of the United Nations intended to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.
South Sudan has not endorsed the treaty.
But the Ministry of Gender, Child, and Social Welfare said they are in the final stages of ascending to the UN instrument.
According to the Undersecretary in the ministry, the process of ratification begun in 2015.
“We started the process early in 2015 to ratify the convention but the final instrument got lost in the parliament,’’ Esther Ikere said at the opening of a 3-day General Assembly of the PWDs in Juba on Tuesday.
“We are now advocating to start the process from the start so that at least we can go through the process up to the end. Once we get the assent of the President, it can be deposited to the United Nations.”
The General Assembly of PWDs is currently discussing its 5-year Strategic Plan. The plan includes the development of an affirmative action for the persons with disabilities, establishment of the National Disability Council, establishment of Disability Enterprise Fund, development of regulatory framework for the person with disability, development of the Person with Disability Act and establishment of a Disability Resource Centers, among other economic and social empowerments.
Ikere urged the assembly to ensure persons with disabilities are actively involved in decision-making processes about policies and programmes, including those directly concerning them.
The UN Convention notes that Persons with Disabilities should play an active role in influencing the promotion, formulation and evaluation of the policies, plans, programmes and actions at the national, regional and international levels to further equalize opportunities for persons with disabilities.
Augustino Wudu, Chairperson of the South Sudan Union of Persons with Disability called for unity of purpose among all stakeholders to ensure the government ratifies the UN Convention.
”I am urging you to use these 3 days meeting diligently so that we can come up with a good result that will enable us to raise strong foundation for the union to meet the international standard, to raise persons with disabilities up and take us ahead for full inclusion of persons with disabilities to participate in all spheres of life,” he stated.
Both the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities [CRPD], and the South Sudan National Disability and Inclusion Policy state that “persons with disabilities have the same rights as any other person.”
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities further recognizes, among others, the inherent dignity and worth and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world.