Papua New Guinea is expected to be the latest country in the Asian and Pacific region to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability, the first ever disability-specific human rights treaty which entered into force in 2008.
The pledge by the Government that Papua New Guinea would ratify the Convention in May 2011 was made at the Stakeholders’ Meeting on Reviewing the Implementation of the Second Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons (2003-2012), held from 28 to 29 March 2011 in Port Moresby.
“Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has committed to ratifying the Convention”, Mr. Joseph Klapat, Secretary of the Department for Community Development noted during the Meeting. “I was told during a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs that this would take place sometime in May”, he added.
The Meeting was organized jointly by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Department for Community Development (DfCD) of the Government of Papua New Guinea, the National Advisory Committee on Disability (NACD), the National Board for Disabled Persons (NBDP), Papua New Guinea Assembly of Disabled Persons (PNGADP), the Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability (APCD) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). It was attended by over 80 participants, representing various ministries, international and civil society organizations.
Mr. Patrik Andersson and Ms. Aiko Akiyama of the Social Development Division, ESCAP, provided an overview of the implementation of the CRPD in Asia-Pacific and noted that the proclamation of a new decade for persons with disability was being considered by the governments of the Asian and Pacific region.
The Meeting adopted the “Port Moresby Recommendations to Make the Right Real” which are addressed to the Government of Papua New Guinea and all stakeholders working in the field of disability. It urges priority actions in 11 key areas. The recommendations support the existing proposal for the Asian and Pacific region to launch of a new disability decade for the period 2013-2022, to highlight the need to harmonize existing disability policy with the CRPD, to systematically collect disability data, to effectively share good practices and lessons learnt on disability mainstreaming in the country at all levels and to implement the “Make the Right Real” campaign with concrete and measurable outcomes.
Launched by ESCAP in October 2010, the “Make the Rights Real” regional campaign aims to accelerate the implementation of the CRPD in the Asian and Pacific region. Currently 20 out of some 50 ESCAP members have ratified the Convention.
Papua New Guinea will become the fifth country to ratify the Convention in the Pacific. Pakistan, which announced its intention to ratify the Convention in January 2011, also launched a national campaign supported by ESCAP to “Make the Right Real”.