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Haiti’s Government Signs Declaration on Policy for Disabled

Above: the forum at the Hotel Montana (Photo: OP Haiti)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Haiti’s government has signed a declaration on public policy with respect to the inclusion of the country’s disabled population, following a forum Thursday at the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince.

Haiti President Michel Martelly was joined at the forum by Gerald Oriol, the founder of Fondation J’Aime Hatii and the country’s Secretary of State for the integration of persons with disabilities.

The meeting, which was held in partnership with the Office of the Secretary of State for the Integration of Persons With Disabilities and OAS, came less than a month after a similar forum held with members of the private sector aimed at developing a legal framework for Haiti’s disabled population.

Nearly 10 percent of the Haiti’s population is disabled, in large part due to the lingering effects of the 2010 earthquake.

Also on hand was Organization of American States Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin and several government ministers.

Ramdin urged the assembled stakeholders to take provisions to ensure that construction in Haiti included accessible buildings, from schools and places of business to office complexes and sports facilities.

“The Haiti I am building is intended to be a space of development for all of its sons and daughters, to enable them to assume and assert themselves in the human dimension of their personality,” Martelly said.

Oriol said he would continue his fight to offer the sector the attention it needs.

Also at the meeting, Labour and Social Affairs Minister Josepha Gauthier announced the planned construction of a centre for handicapped professionals in Ganthier.

“We need the involvement of all sectors in order to materialize this vision of the state,” she said.

Martelly, who said he would push to integrate students with disabilities in his universal education programme, said he wanted to ensure the participation and integration of “all full and effective citizens” in society.

“That’s why I joined this forum to assist in public policy for people with disabilities in Haiti,” Martelly said. “I expect proposals for behaviour and effective measures that will go beyond the system of exclusion suffered too long by our citizens with disabilities.”

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