Friday 18 May marked a critical step in ensuring Vanuatu is a country inclusive of all people, including persons with disabilities. The Ministry of Justice and Community Services (MJCS), with support from the Australian-funded Stretem Rod Blong Jastis mo Sefti (SRBJS), also known as Vanuatu Australia Policing and Justice Program, launched the Disability Inclusive Development Policy 2018 – 2025 (DID Policy). The DID Policy is the culmination of extensive participatory review of the inaugural National Disability Policy 2008 2015 led by MJCS Disability Desk with the technical and financial support of SRBJS and the Pacific Disability Forum and Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. The Policy outlines a clear vision for a disability inclusive future and activates the commitments the Government of Vanuatu made by ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

In line with the approach under the CRPD and the principle of 'nothing about us without us', the launch was led by persons with disabilities. Mr Sergio Moses and Ms Helen Tamata were Masters of Ceremony and the launch began with a panel discussion where persons with disabilities explained the rationale and vision behind each of the eight DID Policy objectives. The panellists emphasised the need to ensure persons with disabilities have equal access to their rights and opportunities to contribute to Vanuatu society, economy and fully participate in decision-making processes. The day concluded with a performance by Wan Smolbag's Rainbow Disability Theatre.

The launch was held at the new Seafront Stage and attended by the Minister for Justice and Community Services, Hon. Ronald Warsal, Australian High Commissioner Ms Jenny Da Rin, Government Heads of Agencies and key NGO and civil society partners, including Vanuatu Disability Promotion and Advocacy Association and Vanuatu Society for People with Disability. In his official remarks the Minister highlighted the need for Government Ministries, civil society and communities to work together to realise the DID Policy vision. Disability Inclusion is everyone's business.

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