Belize Signs Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disablities Print E-mail
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Thursday, 12 May 2011 00:00

On May 9th, 2011 Belize became the 148th signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Belize 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 our society – persons with disabilities.

Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow, Special Envoy for Women and Children and Global Ambassador for Special Olympics was authorized by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to sign the Convention on Belize’s behalf.

Upon signing the Convention, Mrs. Simplis Barrow stated, “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.”

The Convention marks a ‘paradigm shift’ in thinking about disability as a social welfare concern to a human rights issue. It addresses the existing framework of human rights in a manner that is sensitive to the needs and situation of persons with disabilities.

The Convention provides Belize with a normative framework that will help to guide continued actions with and on behalf of persons with disabilities. It will also provide the guiding principles for any legal and policy reforms that the government may deem necessary to undertake to come into compliance with the provisions of this international human rights instrument.

Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow further stated that “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. 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.”

The official signing ceremony was held at the United Nations Treaty Office in New York.

Following the treaty event, Mrs. Barrow 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.

Prior to traveling to New York, Mrs. Simplis Barrow attended the World Forum on Early Care and Education held in Honolulu, Hawaii and addressed the forum as its keynote speaker. Mrs. Barrow is accompanied by the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation, Ms. Judith Alpuche.