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NGOs participate in half-day workshop on Inclusive Governance of Disability in Mauritius

By APO Group
29 November 2021   |   6:00 pm
Download logoA half-day workshop on ‘Inclusive Governance of Disability in Mauritius’ was held, today, at the National Empowerment Foundation Building, Port Louis. An initiative of the Ministry of Social Integration, Social Security and National Solidarity, the workshop saw the participation of several Non-Governmental Organisations. The resource persons and experts from France are Mr Gilles Kounowski,…

Republic of Mauritius
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A half-day workshop on ‘Inclusive Governance of Disability in Mauritius’ was held, today, at the National Empowerment Foundation Building, Port Louis. An initiative of the Ministry of Social Integration, Social Security and National Solidarity, the workshop saw the participation of several Non-Governmental Organisations.

The resource persons and experts from France are Mr Gilles Kounowski, Deputy Director, French National Agency for Family Allowances, and Ms Karine Lefeuvre, Professor at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Santé Publique.

Several themes were discussed, namely: Challenges of a definition and governance in four key steps as well as Building and implementing an inclusive governance: participative democracy issues as a lever for the effectiveness of rights. A break out session focusing on the modalities for inclusive and operational governance and reflection based on Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats was also held.

At the closing of the workshop, the Minister of Social Integration, Social Security and National Solidarity, Mrs Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo, recalled that Government is committed to promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities. She acknowledged that persons with disabilities are more vulnerable. They are faced with greater challenges in their daily lives – for example, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to employment and health care, and accessibility and transport amongst others. This is where governments must step in to create policies that support persons with disabilities and reduce some of the challenges they face, she emphasised.

She highlighted that as a country respectful of human rights, Mauritius signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 25 September 2007. The Convention, she said, was ratified on 08 January 2010 with three reservations as follows: Article 11 on situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies; Article 9.2(d) and (e) on the provision of public signage in buildings and other facilities in Braille and easy-to-read and understandable forms; and Article 24.2 (b) on the access of persons with disabilities to inclusive, quality and free primary and secondary education.

Mrs Jeewa-Daureeawoo further underlined that Mauritius is fully committed to, and is continuously progressing towards, an inclusive society where the rights of persons with disabilities are respected and protected. Government has taken a series of measures to implement the recommendations contained in the Committee’s previous concluding observations, she recalled. The concluding observations comprised 44 recommendations addressed to the State of Mauritius. Out of the 44 recommendations, 27 have been implemented, 11 partially implemented and six are being worked out.

At the level of the Ministry of Social Security, she underlined, the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is being monitored. Furthermore, there is a focal point on disability in all Ministries and Departments. Quarterly meetings are being held to assess the progress being made by different Ministries.

The Minister observed that significant progress has been achieved in terms of the rights of persons with disabilities. The measures include:  increase in the invalidity pension to Rs 9,000; children of all ages, who live with a disability of 60% and above now benefit from an invalidity pension; and creation of a Special Needs Education Authority whose objective is to facilitate the design and implementation of special education needs policies, in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

She informed that the Building Control Act was also amended in 2017 so that promoters and builders ensure that all new buildings cater for accessibility for persons with disabilities. All new buildings now have to comply with these new regulations, she added.

Furthermore, she indicated that the Ministry has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Lafarge for the construction of ramps in public buildings across the country. Construction works have already started and are ongoing. In a bid to make our modes of transport disability-friendly, semi low-floor buses were made available to alleviate the difficulties faced by people with disabilities who use public transport. The introduction of the Metro Express, which is disability-friendly, has further facilitated access to public transport, she said.

Mrs Jeewa-Daureeawoo underscored that her Ministry is currently working on a comprehensive piece of legislation for the protection and promotion of the rights of the persons with disabilities. She added that the legislation will be in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Projects for the disability sector

This Ministry submitted two projects for consultancy services through the European Union (EU) to SOCIEUX+, an EU expert facility on social protection, labour, and employment, which agreed to provide technical assistance for the projects.

One of the projects is the “Overall assessment of the disability sector in the State of Mauritius” and in this context, two experts namely, Mr Gilles Kounowski and Mrs Karine Lefeuvre are currently in Mauritius to make an assessment of the governance in the disability sector.

The objective of the project on “Overall assessment of the disability sector in the State of Mauritius” is to facilitate the design and delivery of effective services as per the aspirations of persons with disabilities, and the development of the future Disability Bill and the 2021-2025 Action Plan for the disability sector.

The experts are called upon to make an assessment of legislations concerning persons with disabilities, services and service delivery for persons with disabilities and governance of the disability sector. They will then finalise the overall assessment report and present it to the Ministry.

The second project concerns the elaboration of an Action Plan in disability and the setting up of a Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism.

About SOCIEUX+

SOCIEUX+ is a technical cooperation facility set up to respond to the needs for capacity building of international cooperation and development partner countries of the EU. SOCIEUX+ enables peer-to-peer exchanges and institutional cooperation between EU Member States and partner countries.

It contributes to the design, implementation and management of inclusive, effective and sustainable labour and employment policies and social protection systems.

SOCIEUX+ connects practitioners and institutions outside the EU with their European peers. These exchanges are made possible by mobilising high-level European expertise for short-term technical cooperation activities with their peers outside the EU.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of Mauritius.