On the 4th of October 2019, the National Coordinator of the Vanuatu Disability Promotion & Advocacy Association (VDPA), Nelly Caleb, attended the official ceremony of the groundbreaking of the Government Finance Building in Luganville.

“When assessing the construction plan, I was so shocked when I saw the construction plan was inaccessible for people with mobility impairments,” said Ms. Caleb.

She stressed that people with disabilities, elderly, pregnant mothers and mothers with pram faced a lot of barriers to access these public building in the two main towns.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which the Vanuatu Government has ratified in 2008, and it which means the government agreed to protect and promote the rights of people with disabilities and in article 9.

People with disability have the right to live independently and take part in all aspects of life. To let them do that, countries need to take appropriate steps to give people with disability access, in the same way other people have access, to things, places, transport, information and services that are open to the public.

This applies in the cities as well as in rural areas.

The national people’s plan mentioned to leave no one behind, and Accessibility is part of the Pre- condition to Inclusion.

However, VDPA wishes to thank the Director General for giving some green light to ensure the Finance building is accessible to people with disabilities.

VDPA urges other Government Ministries and other sectors to ensure new infrastructures are disability friendly so no one is left behind.