Barbadians living with disabilities are taking action to ensure that their own needs are met in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), president of the Barbados Council for the Disabled (BCD) Kerryann Ifill has said.
The SDGs commit Barbados and fellow United Nations member states to reducing inequality and promoting the social, economic, and political inclusion of all, including people with disabilities.
As she marked International Day of Persons With Disabilities (IDPD) today, Ifill said it was necessary for the disabled people to take this stance because in 2000 when the Millenium Development Goals were launched they were not formally recognised or included.
For 15 years, disability advocates campaigned to ensure that the community’s developmental concerns were not overlooked, said the former Senate president. But in 2015, with the advent
of the SDGs, people with disabilities were directly represented in several components; the goals, the targets and the numerous indicators, she said.
The disability community leader made the remarks as a workshop co-hosted by the BCD and the United Nations Development Programme opened at UN House.
Ifill said the workshop was designed to explore this year’s IDPD theme: Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda.
She said: “The workshop will focus our society of Barbadians living with disabilities on the SDGs and the leadership role we must and will take in ensuring that the wheels of development do not roll past us without our voice being raised.
“The SDGs live by the maxim ‘nobody left behind’ and we are ensuring that this is realised.”
UN Resident Coordinator Didier Trebucq told the participants the 2030 Agenda provides a blueprint for peace, prosperity, dignity and opportunity for all on a healthy planet.
He said: “As many of you know, the Barbados Government ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2013.
‘In doing so, it reaffirmed this country’s commitment to strive towards a society in which the rights of persons living with disabilities are fully realised.
“Persons living with disabilities are entitled to all the same rights and fundamental freedoms that others in this society enjoy: the right to education, the right to healthcare, the right to employment, and the right to enjoy the high standard of living that Barbados can provide for its people.”
The UN Resident Coordinator also noted that while the rights of people with disabilities will be incorporated into the 2030 Agenda was being examined, it was critical to remember that the rights enumerated in the CRPD were the same rights listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the same rights to which persons with disabilities have always been entitled.
Trebucq added: “I have personally committed to provide the Resident Coordinator’s Office to support in ensuring that the UN in the Eastern Caribbean region makes moves ahead in promoting and advocating greater inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities for their fullest development.”
About 50 members from the disabled community and UN officials participated in the one-day workshop.