CBMI Executive Director Voices Concern Over Canada's Lack of Support of UN Convention On Rights of Persons with Disabilities

    TORONTO, March 12 /CNW/ - "Unless the Canadian government recognizes that
people with disabilities need to be brought into mainstream development,
poverty will never be eradicated," says Dave McComiskey, Executive Director of
Christian Blind Mission International Canada, the world's leading agency
rescuing people trapped in poverty by disability.
    The Canadian government recently announced it would not attend the
March 30th United Nations ceremony to launch the signing of the UN Convention
on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
    "More than 600 million people in the world live with some form of
disability," adds McComiskey, "Eighty per cent of people with disabilities
live in developing countries. Disability and poverty go hand in hand."
    The rights and needs of people with disabilities must be addressed in
development programs in order to stop the vicious cycle of poverty and
    By signing this landmark agreement which will protect the rights of
people with disabilities, Canada would be taking a positive step, along with
other leading world nations to achieve the Millennium Development Goals to
halve poverty by the year 2015.
    Canada has a long history of making human rights protections meaningful
to people with disabilities, and brought this experience to the UN
discussions. However, under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Canadian
government has 'signaled', not to participate at this crucial moment in the
life of the new Convention.
    McComiskey says "We believe that the ongoing
Federal/Provincial/Territorial consultations undertaken by the Canadian
delegation throughout the five-year Convention negotiating process has been
sufficient to enable Canada to become signatory to the Convention. We
recognize the need for further consultation in advance of ratification and are
hopeful that the consultation process will be open and transparent and
inclusive of the disability community at the provincial/territorial and
national level."
    People with disabilities, their families and allies in Canada around the
world have steadfastly supported Canada's participation in the development of
the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
    "It is our hope that the Canadian government will reconsider and will
support people with disabilities by signing the Convention on March 30, with a
view to ratifying as soon as possible," says McComiskey.
    CBMI is supporting 1,016 projects in 113 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin
America and Eastern Europe. And currently reaches 12.5 million people trapped
in poverty by disability. These are the most forgotten people in the world -
children, parents and families forgotten by their communities, their countries
and too often forgotten by the rest of the world.

For further information:

For further information: or interviews contact: Lindsay O'Connor,
National Media/PR Manager, CBMI Canada, (647) 202-3445, 1-800-567-2264 ext
289, loconnor@cbmicanada.org

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