BELMOPAN, Belize, Friday May 13, 2011 – Belize has joined the global commitment to further promote, protect and ensure the equal enjoyment of all human rights by one of the most vulnerable groups in its society by signing on to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The country became the 148th signatory when Special Envoy for Women and Children and Global Ambassador for Special Olympics, Kim Simplis Barrow, signed the document on the government’s behalf earlier this week.
“I believe that all Belizeans should be proud of this moment. It is a great step forward, particularly in the interest of our children with disabilities,” she said.
A statement from the government said the Convention addresses the existing framework of human rights in a manner that is sensitive to the needs and situation of persons with disabilities.
It also provides Belize with a framework that will help to guide continued actions with and on behalf of persons with disabilities, as well as the guiding principles for any legal and policy reforms that the government may deem necessary to comply with the provisions of the Convention.
“Above all, we need to strive to create an enabling environment for persons with disabilities so that they may be able to enjoy the human rights vested in all of us,” Barrow said.
“I look forward to the earliest ratification of the Convention so that we may begin to enhance the policy and legislative framework to ensure that we accomplish this goal.”
Following the signing of the treaty, the Special Envoy participated as a special guest at a roundtable discussion at The Gateway School of New York, a leading educational institution for students with learning disabilities.