At the UN, Prime Minister Harris signs Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, fulfilling his promise to the differently abled in St. Kitts-Nevis

Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 27, 2019 (Press Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister): The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has today, Friday, September 27th, 2019, signed and acceded to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris signed the Convention at 3:30pm on Friday, following his powerful presentation at the UN General Assembly, where he said, “In moving forward, we must help the vulnerable members of our societies…”  The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis added: “That was the vision of the United Nations that invited all nations small and large to become involved.”

With today’s signing, Prime Minister Harris has delivered on his promise to the differently abled community and its advocacy group, the St. Kitts-Nevis Association of Persons with Disabilities, that he and his Team Unity administration would get it done for them.

Speaking last month in St. Kitts at the opening of the Tenth Regional Assembly of Disabled People’s International North America and the Caribbean, Inc., the Deputy Prime Minister, the Honourable Shawn Richards, said, “As leaders and policy makers, we in the Team Unity administration take the approach that disabled people are people first and foremost.”

Minister Richards added: “They are people whom you and I know.  They are our friends, family members, co-workers and our neighbours.  Indeed, they could be you or me at any stage of life – because along with the process of aging, which remains the major risk factor for disability, a serious car accident, a fall or other traumatic incident could result in any one of us having to deal with a life-altering impairment.”

The Deputy Prime Minister continued: “Improving the functional capacity of persons with disabilities here in St. Kitts and Nevis has been central to the Team Unity administration’s interactions and engagements with this very important constituency.”

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted on December 13th, 2006 at the United Nations and was opened for signature on March 30th, 2007 before entering into force on May 3rd, 2008.

The UN describes the Convention as “the first comprehensive human rights treaty of the 21st century,” which “adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

The United Nations also says the Convention “clarifies and qualifies how all categories of rights apply to persons with disabilities and identifies areas where adaptations have to be made for persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights and areas where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced.”

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