Human Rights and Justice Ombudsman, Jesuina Maria Ferreira Gomes, says the conference is a chance to learn from ASEAN countries which has ratified the UN disability rights convention, CRPD (Image: Tatoli/Egas Cristovão)

DILI, 27 September 2019 (TATOLI) – Timor-Leste will host a major regional human rights conference later this month, the office of the Justice and Human Rights Ombudsman (PDHJ) has confirmed.

The annual Southeast Asian forum will be hosted by the PDHJ, with delegates from Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, and Thailand attending.

Ombudsman Jesuína Maria Ferreira Gomes said this year’s forum — themed “inclusiveness and equality for people with disabilities” – features Prime Minister of Timor-Leste Taur Matan Ruak as guest speaker.

“We want to invite the Prime Minister…to share what efforts the government has already made [to] ratify the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD),” she said, adding the PM has confirmed his attendance at the conference, from October 22-24.

“The five countries represented at the conference will also share how they’re implementing the CRPD,” she said. Civil society groups will also participate, including disability advocates.

The Ombudsman said the government is yet to ratify the CRPD – one of just 13 member states. But she said the government is already in talks with UN representatives.

“In order to ratify the convention, there must be a preparation, political [decisions] and conditions. Thus, today it has not been ratified. But hopefully [that] will happen soon,” she said.

She said her office has sought meetings with the government to discuss the its plan to implement the convention.

The convention, which came into force in 2008 and has been ratified by 180 countries, aims “to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.”

Signatories are obliged to provide equality of opportunity, access and freedom from discrimination for people with disabilities, and to “take into account the human rights of persons with disabilities” in all policies, according to the UN’s website.

First published in Tetum as: TL Sai Uma-Na’in Konferénsia Annuál Direitu Umanu Sudeste Aziátiku
Related news: PM to ADB: focus on Education, Sanitation

Journalist: Julia Chatarina
Editors: Xisto Freitas; Robert Baird
Translation: Nelia Borges

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