President Mori meets with Members of the FSM Forum for Persons with Disabilities
Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): October 4, 2010 - On the morning of September 30, last week, President Mori met with two members of the FSM Forum for Persons with Disabilities, Joakim Peter, President of the Chuuk Disabled Persons Community Network and Director of the COM Campus Chuuk, and Nelbert Perez, President of the Pohnpei Consumer Organization, to discuss the outcomes of the first meeting of the Forum held in Chuuk in late August.
The first ever FSM Disability Forum (the Forum) was held from on August 23-26, in Chuuk. Members of the disabled persons' organizations from all four FSM states, government stakeholders, and regional partners from the Pacific Islands' Forum Secretariat, Pacific Disability Forum, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and Disability Right Funds attended the four-day meetings.
The Forum set forth several key recommendations in resolutions calling for action towards improvement of awareness, advocacy, and action aimed at recognizing the fundamental rights of persons with disabilities in the nation.
Based on UN findings, it is estimated that 10% of the nation's population are living with the challenges of disabling conditions and barriers that prevent them from fully participating in society and benefiting from basic social and economic programs. Among the recommendations made by the Forum, some set forth specific strategic action plans towards the implementation of the FSM Disability Policy, which was adopted through a resolution by Congress earlier this year.
The Forum identified as one of its major goals the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability, by the Federated States of Micronesia. The Forum also called for the creation of a national disability council to coordinate activities related to disability issues.
President Mori said he was grateful that Peter and Perez came forth to meet with him. He believes the national and state governments of FSM are sensitive to the needs of people with disabilities, but affirmed it was crucial to have a body in place which can ensure the FSM National Policy on Disability is adhered to, as well as seek to abide to the international measures provided for under the UN Convention. President Mori said he was glad the FSM Forum for Persons with Disabilities had come together to take the lead in this area.
"Any of us can become disabled at any point in our life," reminded Mori; "we not only have a duty to respect the rights of disabled persons with compassion, but we also have a duty to promote accessibility to everyday life for them."
The FSM Forum for Persons with Disabilities includes as members, representatives from the following departments and organizations: FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs, FSM Special Education, Director of the Chuuk Campus of the College of Micronesia, the Chuuk Parents of Special Children Association, Chuuk Special Education, Chuuk Department of Health, the Chuuk Special Education Advisory Council, the Pohnpei Consumers' Organization, the Yap Parents Partnership Network, the Yap Productive Citizens with Disability, the Yap Advisory Panel and the Kosrae Special Parents Network.
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