22 September 2011

UNMIT Launches Ground-Breaking Report on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Timor-Leste

People with disabilities in East Timor
East Timor Legal News 22/09/2011 Source: United Nations Integrated Mission in East Timor UNMIT Press Release UNMIT Launches Ground-Breaking Report on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Timor-Leste - Dili, 20 September 2011 - The United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) launched the first public report by a peace-keeping mission on the rights of persons with disabilities. The report covers Timor-Leste’s achievements in fulfilling cultural rights and its efforts to create policies that respect the rights of persons with disabilities to education, healthcare and community-based rehabilitation.

Human rights violations against persons with disabilities are also documented in the report.

Women, children and persons with mental disabilities are the most vulnerable to discrimination on the basis of disability, according to the report. UNMIT recommends the government to take urgent action to protect these groups at high risk, and to raise awareness about the rights of persons with disabilities.

Joaozito dos Santos from Ra’es Hadomi Timor Oan, an organization for persons with disabilities in Timor-Leste, participated in the launch of the report.

“Change has to happen because there is not equality. There is not a balance of rights, and disability has to become a priority for the government,” said dos Santos. “It is a development issue. We have to develop our communities, including persons with disabilities, for our country’s future. Development should be inclusive, so all people can realize their rights.”

The report also finds that electoral laws and registration processes need to address accessibility for all persons with disabilities to exercising their right to vote in the upcoming elections in 2012.

Timor-Leste has not yet ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which came into force in 2008. A national policy on disability is currently under consideration by a working group formed by the Council of Ministers.

Louis Gentile, Chief of UNMIT’s Human Rights Section, noted that the report also calls on the United Nations to reflect on how it can promote and fulfil these rights.

“We hope that this report will make a valuable contribution to the national policy on disability and help pave the way for Timor-Leste’s ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” said Gentile. “We also hope it will encourage those of us serving in the United Nations to set our own standards and goals equally high when it comes to the accessibility of our facilities and information to persons with disabilities.”

The report is available online in English, Tetum, Portuguese and Braille-accessible formats on the UNMIT website at http://unmit.unmissions.org.

For further information contact:  Gyorgy Kakuk, UNMIT Spokesperson kakukg@un.org, +670 723 0749

Hipolito da Cruz, UNMIT National Spokesperson dacruzh@un.org, +670 731 1782

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ETLJB Editor's Note: If you would like to help people with disabilities in East Timor, please visit: RA’ES HADOMI TIMOR OAN 
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