Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

FSM Congress Creates Resolution on National Policy on Disability

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): June 20, 2009 - The FSM Congress has created Congressional Resolution16-09 which sets the stage to adopt a National Policy on Disability. This Policy is the product of collaboration between the Department of Health and Social Affairs (DHSA), the Department of Education, NGOs, International Organizations, the State Governments, and a wide range of community groups and stakeholders.

The policy was first submitted as a resolution to the Fifteenth Congress, but there wasn't enough time in the Sixth Regular Session in February of 2009 to take any action on it. Therefore, it was resubmitted to the Sixteenth Congress as instructed by Senator Urusemal, the then Chairman of the Committee on Health & Social Affairs.

The aim of this Policy is to identify priority areas for action in order to promote societal awareness and inclusion of the rights-based society for Persons with Disabilities, including the needs and privileges of persons with disabilities in the FSM. The FSM has approximately 10,000 people with some form of disability and the available programs and services for disabled persons are currently very limited. The number of disabled people in the FSM is increasing year after year and the limitation of available services suggests a moral and legal obligation to develop adequate programs to promote and protect their interest and wellbeing.

It is important to note that this is a Policy, not legislation. The Department of DHSA chose to submit a policy first to "feel out the pragmatism of binding legislation through the Policy" as was stated in a letter to President Mori from the DHSA on May 7, 2009. The letter also stated that "Disability legislation has to be comprehensive, meaning it would have components of enforcement schemes that would compel and require funding and coordination with stakeholders. With this Policy in place, FSM will have not only a guiding mechanism, but also an instrument to generate regional and international support." In the meantime, DHSA will work closely with the Department of Justice and other stakeholders to develop practical and comprehensive legislation.

The resolution was submitted but not acted upon during the First Regular Session of the Sixteenth Congress. Its status will be updated during the next session of Congress."

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356