Members of the African and European Parliaments, advisors and members of CSOs visited CBM's 'Centre for Inclusion' at the Parliamentary Assembly - ACP-EU in Haiti.
On Monday, December 18th, 2017, members of the African and the European parliament, advisors and members of CSOs visited the Center for Inclusion, a programme of CBM implemented in collaboration with the Haitian Government and funded by the European Union at the 34th session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly taking place from 16 to 20 December 2017 in Port-au-Prince (Haiti).
The ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly was created out of a common desire to bring together the elected representatives of the European Community - the members of the European Parliament - and the elected representatives of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (" ACP countries ") which signed the Cotonou Agreement (EU-Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Agreement). In 2011, parliamentarians in the Assembly passed a resolution on the rights of persons with disabilities, however follow-up was never done. After months of advocacy, the rights of people with disabilities were once again on the agenda of the Social and Environmental Committee of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly on 12 October.
In order to better promote discussions around disability issues, CBM and the Office of the Secretary of State for Integration of People with Disabilities (BSEIPH) invited European, African Parliamentarians and local leaders of Disabled Persons Organizations (DPO), as well as key actors working in the field to join in a dynamic atmosphere to discuss:
- acts and key figures on disability in Haiti
- Progress made in the sector
- Collaboration of DPOs with International Non-Governmental Organization (INGO)s, Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and the Haitian Government
- Difficulties faced by actors and people with disabilities
- Perspectives: taking disability into account in new initiatives and strategy
Parliamentarians showed a lot of interest in understanding the daily reality of Haitians living with a disability with a particular focus on the case of a family with newborn with a disability. There was also a great deal of interest in the relations developed between actors working in the disability sector and the international community, the European Union for example. Additionally, DPO leaders showed their satisfaction with the various progress made so far but also highlighted the difficulties encountered: "The Haitian people are people who sing, dance but it is also a people who fight. The progress made in Haiti in the field of disability is not a gift from the state but the fruit of perseverance and struggle of organizations of disabled people from civil society "; the words of Dr. Pean a long-time leader in the sector.
It is worth talking about a rewarding exchange that ended on an interesting note Norbert Neuser, Maria Noichl et Julie Ward members of the S&D group invited Eugenie Pierre, a singer with a disability, who is also an intern in CBM Haiti to sing the national Haitian anthem at the luncheon of the EU-ACP Progressive MPs.
As a sector we strongly believe that taking persons with disabilities into account in actions open to the public requires a systematic consideration of disability as cross-cutting thematic.
Meetings such as these make it possible to have a holistic understanding of the disability issue and thus facilitates adapted actions to the specific needs of each individual.
Note: The Center for Inclusion is a technical and material resource center located in three regions in Haiti. It enables local organizations of / for people with disabilities to become more involved, to participate in all decision-making processes, to develop actions, while ensuring better access to basic services and strengthening their structural capacities. The Center for Inclusion is accessible. It is equipped with adapted work materials and serves more than 30 local organizations each year.
For more information, you can find the pictures of the visit on the Facebook page of the BSEIPH and an article on the CBM blog.