Niue is one of the last of the Pacific countries to sign or ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) with came into force in 2008.
This may soon change as the call for the government to ratify the convention was again heard at the consultations organized by the Ministry of Social Services to review the outdated policy of 2012-2015.
Representatives from the national disability association Niue Tolomaki Auloa Association (NTAA), government departments and family members of persons with disabilities (PWDs), and school support staff joined in discussing the way forward for the protection of and services for persons with disabilities on the island.
One of the outcomes of the consultations was the call for the government to ratify the UN convention on the rights of persons with disability.
According to the Director-General of the Ministry of Social Services Gaylene Tasmania, there is an understanding that the government will work toward signing and ratifying the convention.
“Generally there is an agreement that we will pursue this and so that is going to be one of the policy areas. One of the priority areas is that we work towards signing and ratifying the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities”.
Thirteen Pacific nations have either ratified or signed the convention, with Tonga and the Solomon Islands have signed but yet to ratify it, which leaves Niue as one of the last Pacific nations to formally recognise the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities.
BCN News spoke with one of the members of the NTAA Executive Kathy Sofaea who said that she hopes the government will finally agree to ratify the convention.
“I hope the government will ratify the convention, to solidify their commitment to protecting the rights of persons with disabilities on the island,” said Mrs Sofaea
Despite her disability, Kathy Sofaea used to work for the Niue Development Bank for many years and now she is still managing the accounts of the national disability association NTAA.
One of the concerns is the increasing number of children with hidden disabilities and learning disabilities.
Tilly Fetaui a registered social worker and counselor for children and said that she thought the consultations were very productive and positive in terms of the way forward for people and children living with some form of disability.