Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare said Solomon Islands Government’s ratification of the international human rights treaty of the United Nations for the protection of the rights of persons with disability can be done in Solomon Islands.
The Prime Minister made this remark when the President of People with Disability in Solomon Islands (PWDSI) Casper Fa’asala and members of his executive board met with him last Friday and urged him to ratify the Convention on the Rights of People with Disability (CRPD) when he attends the upcoming 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The CRPD is intended to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. The convention clearly identifies the rights of persons with disability and sets out obligations for state parties to promote, protect and uphold these rights.
Mr Fa’asala told the Prime Minister that, “Given the fact that you are leaving for the UN next week, our call to you today on behalf of all the people with disability in the country is to ratify the Convention on Rights of People With Disability. You can now strike an instruction to the UN and ratify that convention.”
He said the Solomon Islands Government had accepted the recommendation to ratify the CRPD in 2011 based on a report to various international institutions by the PWDSI on the situation of human rights of people with disability in Solomon Islands but no action has since been taken.
Mr Fa’asala said it is only by ratifying the convention that the Solomon Islands Government can be committed to protecting, promoting and upholding the rights of people with disability in Solomon Islands.
“It is only by ratification of this convention by the Solomon Islands Government that we can now use other instruments to implement the convention here in Solomon Islands.
“If we do not ratify that convention, it will be hard for us to domesticate the obligations therein. We cannot just wait until the instruments come before ratifying the convention. It does not fall in that protocol.”
In response, the Prime Minister thanked the PWDSI President and his executive for raising their concerns with him.
He said normally when it comes to the ratification of any convention by the government, it must fully understand its obligations as a signatory and be prepared to meet them before committing itself to it.
“I think with the CRPD, we can be comfortable with it. There is nothing we can fear about ratifying this convention because it basically commits us to promote, protect and uphold the rights of people in the country with disabilities,” the Prime Minister added.
Prime Minister Sogavare said hearing from the PWDSI delegation’s presentation to him, much work has already been done in Solomon Islands in anticipation of the ratification of the convention so his office (PMO) will liaise with the relevant Ministry for its report on the preparatory work done in order to get a balanced view on Solomon Islands preparedness.
He added that it is not necessary for the ratification to be done at the UN and be approved by Parliament.
“Ratification of the CRPD 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 CRPD.”
– PM’s Press Secretariat