OAS contributes to establishment of resource center in Haiti to assist persons with disability
At the opening of the new Resource Center of Adapted Materials for Persons with Disability, OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin used the occasion to reiterate OAS support for efforts to promote the rights of individuals with disability.
In his opening remarks, Assistant Secretary General Ramdin congratulated the government of Haiti on this landmark accomplishment and on its â€œongoing efforts to reclaim and defend the dignity of people living with disability, and to provide the tools that can assist them to realize their full potential.â€
Also attending the ceremony were Haitiâ€™s Secretary of State for Persons with Disability, Dr. Michel Peán; Ambassador Janet Sanderson of the United States; members of the diplomatic corps, individuals with special needs and the media.
Ramdin presented 150 wheelchairs, 700 walking canes, Braille paper and several cassette recorders/players that will assist hundreds of persons with disability.
Assistant Secretary General stressed the importance of respect for the rights of all citizens, including people with disability, in strengthening peace, and promoting social and economic development. In underscoring the OAS commitment to this issue, He drew attention to the OAS inter-American Decade for Persons with disability (2006 â€“ 2016) and the organizationâ€™s â€œongoing commitment to improve human life in our region, to create mechanisms that provide access to opportunity for all.
Noting that the providing equal opportunity, access and acceptance is not only a responsibility of governments, Ramdin observed, â€œI am indeed gratified to learn that Haitian civil society has been working closely with the Secretariat of State for Handicapped Persons to facilitate full integration of individuals with disability into the economic, political, cultural and social life. I believe that this kind of support is indispensable in order to attain lasting results that will transform and enrich the traditions, customs and habits.â€
The official opening of the Resource Center resulted from a joint initiative of the OAS and the government of Haiti with the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Ambassador Janet Sanderson, the US Ambassador to Haiti, who also attended the meeting, expressed satisfaction for this partnership with the OAS. Secretary of State Dr. Peán symbolically received the adapted materials and laid out the achievements of the Secretariat of State and its plans to better pursue integration for persons with disability.