Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
11 March–5 April 2019
Item 7 of the provisional agenda
Consideration of reports submitted by parties to the Convention under article 35
List of issues in relation to the initial report of Vanuatu
Replies of Vanuatu to the list of issues *
[Date received: 19 February 2019]
A.Purpose and general obligations (arts. 1–4)
Answer to question 1
Development of National Policy
1.National Disabilities Inclusive Development Policy 2018–2025 (DID Policy) was developed after a wider consultation in the three urban centre in Vanuatu, coordinated by the Ministry of Justice & Community Services. Disability desk conducted consultation in Port Vila, Santo and Tanna. Persons with disabilities and their representative organisations participated in these workshops, significantly shaping the future policy direction for persons with disabilities in Vanuatu. This policy was launched on 18 May 2018, in a program led by and including persons with disabilities.
2.Vanuatu has a Vanuatu Civil Society Disability Network (VCSDN) which is coordinated by Oxfam in Vanuatu. The VCSDN meet monthly and is comprised of persons with disabilities, their cares and representatives of organisations. The Network ensure that Government continues engage with persons with disabilities in relation to legislation and policy development, and Government agencies are increasingly consulting with, and responding to VCSDN input (e.g. National Sustainability Development Plan 2016–2030). Disability desk also uses VCSDN as a mechanism to ensure persons with disabilities are informed and involved in issues which may affect them.
3.In December 2018, the VCSDN coordinated an inaugural Disabilities Influencing Forum where persons with disabilities from all of Vanuatu’s six provinces came together to develop and present an outcome statement to inform the Government. Disability desk received this statement on behalf of Government at the closing of the Forum on 6 December 2018 and will make efforts to respond to it, including as part of the implementation of the DID Policy. The VCSDN has support up-skilled and trained to better position them to input to legislative and policy development processes.
4.Vanuatu Disabilities Promotion Advocacy (VDPA) and Vanuatu Society for People with Disabilities (VSPD) have strengthened networks of representative organisations at the community level through the establishment of Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs) and/or Community Disabilities Associations (CDAs – i.e. organisations which may not have large enough numbers of persons with disabilities to be categorised as full DPOs but which it is hoped will transition to DPO status in the future). The DPOs affiliates under the umbrella DPO organisation of VDPA.
5.Government has commence amending legislation to align to CRPD as per Legislative Review Report of 300 legislation in 2016. With the technical assistance from Pacific Island Forum, the Disability desk with the participation of VSPD, consultation were carried out with statutory bodies and Government ministries.
(a)The Ministry of Justice and Community Services has closely considered the recommendations of the 2016 legislative review and plans to commence development of a Right of Person with Disability Bill in 2019 with the support of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. Development of the Bill will undergo wider consultation with persons with disabilities and their representative organisations across Vanuatu. The amendment bill of the Correctional Services Act has been listed in the coming Parliamentary Session in 2019 which remove the discriminatory provisions on the Act and align the Act to the Articles of CRPD, CRC and CAT;
(b)The terms of reference for the National Disabilities Committee expired with the expiry of the National Disabilities Policy and Action Plan 2008–2015. With the launching of the new NDID Policy in 2018–2025, Disability Desk has appointed a National Disability Committee (NDC) to oversee and report on NDID Policy implementation. The process is continuing at present due to the recruitment of a new Disability desk coordinator in 2018. The draft NDC Terms of Reference propose that the NDC will be comprised of 10 members, including persons with disabilities and members of their representative organisations.
Answer to question 2
6.Government NDID has not drawn on any strategic plan to ratify the OP Protocol.
B.Specific rights (arts. 5–30)
Equality and non-discrimination (art. 5)
Answer to question 3 (a)
7.Ministry of Justice and Community Services is working on conducting a wider consultation on the Right of Person with Disability Bill in 2019 It is a right based legislation and align to the Articles of CRPD. The standalone bill will ensure that all 101 laws that were under reviewed will be amended accordingly. Right of Person with Disability Bill is a priority bill and the Ministry of Justice and Community Services will be conducting consultation, drafting and referral to Parliament in 2019–2020.
8.The Disability desk is committed and continue to coordinate and consult line Ministries and statutory bodies on prioritising the miscellaneous and major amendments of regulatory and administrative legislations, aligning to the Vanuatu Legislative Review for Compliance with CRPD 2016.
9.Parliament established a Constitutional Review Committee in 2016 to review a Constitutional Amendment Bill which included the Executive Director of VSPD. The final report included recommendations relating to persons with disabilities. However, the Amendment Bill did not pass.
Answer to question 3 (b)
10.Disability desk provide advice and referral of cases for persons with disabilities who are victims of discrimination to file case seeking legal redress depending on the nature of the case. Furthermore the desk is responsible in ensuring the community leaders, chief and families in the proximity of the cases are given notice on the nature of breach of rights through a formal correspondence to the perpetrator and leaders of communities Awareness program are well organised and Government is supported through the participation of VSPD the member Wan Smol Bag Theatre.
Answer to question 3 (c)
11.Strategy for the establishment of legal protection against discrimination of persons with disabilities is embedded within the National Disabilities Inclusion Development Policy 2018–2025 strategic 1.1 on the establishment of national anti-discrimination legislation.
12.The Policy has been made available to Civil Society and NGO with the invitation to make submission before the finalisation. Consultation was done to a range of both NGO, Faith Based Organisation (FBO) and Government agencies at the community, provincial and national levels.
13.Furthermore VSPD and VCSDN and CDA organisations in Vanuatu provide counselling, advice and referral of person with disabilities to Disability desk on cases of discrimination.
Women with disabilities (art. 6)
Answer to question 4
14.Implementation of Family Protection Act is not limited to targeting domestic violence related cases only but Government will be using the statutory framework to establish the referral mechanism for vulnerable groups in general, including women and girls with disabilities. The appointment of Authorized Person and Registered Counsellor and with necessary e capacity development program will ensure that appointee can provide the referral of all form of violence at all setting.
15.MJCS in partnership with Vanuatu Australia Partnership Justice Program (VAPJP) commenced a pilot program in 6 communities in Efate and Santo. The pilot implements the referral mechanism created under the Family Protection Act (FPA) through the appoint Authorized Persons (APs) in communities who are able to issue temporary protection orders in response to reports of family violence. The pilot has also included appointment of Registered Counsellors (also under the FPA) in some of the pilot communities. The pilot has been closely monitored throughout 2018 and an independent evaluation report is currently being compiled. Although not specifically targeted to person with disability, the Authorized Persons do provide a potentially more accessible avenue for person with disability to obtain temporary protection orders. In training, Authorized Persons were encouraged to consider the particularly vulnerable position of person with disability in respect of family violence and to be aware of their needs in making applications for orders. The pilot has already included at least 3 cases involving victims with disabilities. The AP has assisted the victim to address the issue including in some cases writing a temporary protection order and referring the perpetrator to the police.
16.Vanuatu Women’s Centre (VWC) also provide support to women and girls who are victims of domestic violence and can assist victims through counselling or support to obtain temporary protection orders outside of the AP pilot site locations. VWC supports Committees against Violence against Women (CAVAWs) across Vanuatu which advocate for the rights of women in their communities and provide a more direct link to VWC services.
17.In partnership with World Vision Vanuatu, health services WASH are made accessible to women and girls with disabilities.
Children with disabilities (art. 7)
Answer to question 5
18.Civil Status Office has improve registration of birth through the initiatives of station officer that the Ministry of Health major hospital maternity ward. The early identification of any form of disabilities at the maternity ward allow the Civil Status Office to take records of infant and child with some form of disabilities.
19.The Vanuatu Education Information Management System (VEMIS) has the capacity to collect data on children with disabilities through built in the disabilities data survey forms. Train of trainer trainings has been conducted to all provincial Education School Improvement officers (SIOs), provincial ECCE coordinators, school inspectors and VEMIS officers to use. Education is targeting 2019 to collect data of children with disabilities.
20.The use of Washington group questions has been piloted by the MJCS with the Vanuatu National Statistic Office in 2014. After the piloting recommendation has been taken into consideration by the Vanuatu National Statistic Office for disabilities indicators to be provided in the national census registration form.
Answer to question 6
21.The National Child Policy 2007–2011 review recommendations provided that children with disabilities component should be separated into two areas: Vulnerable children and an additional component on Child Protection. These recommendations has been implemented through the development of the National Disabilities Policy and Plan of Action (2008–2015) by all stakeholders, particularly two standalone strategic areas on early detection, early intervention and education and early detection and intervention program for people with disabilities, including children with disabilities.
22.The Plan of Action (2008–2015) provide the strategic dimension to stakeholders to address promotion, early detection and assistance of children with disabilities. The Disabilities Promotion and Advocacy Association (DPA) with the aim of improving the lives of children and adults with disabilities has been working in collaboration with government through the PMO to develop national government policy to support people with disabilities.
23.The Vanuatu Education for All committee has appointed the Executive Director of the Vanuatu Society for People with Disability (VSPD)as a member of the Committee.
24.The MoE has developed the Education Master Plan in 1999 which calls for the establishment of two schools in Port Vila and Santo province for children with disabilities, Two schools has been piloted in Vanuatu, Freshwata School in Efate and Santo East School in Santo. One of the core goals of MoE’s VESS (2006–2016) is to put in place targeted measures to address inequities in access and achievements, including for children with disabilities. Furthermore, MoE’s Inclusive Education Policy & Strategic Plan (IEPSP_(2010–2020) has been developed taking into consideration the CRPD and also by considering the National Disabilities Policy and Plan of Action. The IEPSP has been a joint effort by MoE and in particular the Disabilities and Advocacy Association which has advocated for an inclusive education for the past 10 years.
25.Further, part of the IEPSP legislative and policy framework is the strategy of recognizing sign language and Braille, providing for certified special education teachers, and revising the definition of non-discrimination to include discrimination on the basis of disabilities. Furthermore, it has strategized the following: “to review and amend and or develop new policies or direction on changing special education office/officer to inclusive education section/officer; adopting a Melanesian sign language as the sign language to be taught in all schools in Vanuatu by 2013; reviewing document to ensure that language is consistent with current thinking and practices, e.g., use person with impairment instead of disabled; and ensuring that special provisions for parents and career of children with impairments are included in school committees, parents and teachers committees by 2015”.
26.Furthermore, as part of the IEPSP teacher training strategy is the provision for training of parents and civil society organizations for parents of children with impairments to participate in school activities by 2013 and to provide or enlist from non-government organization to train parents in sign language by 2013.
27.The ECCE Policy also provides for a policy objective on children with disabilities which is the right to equity of resources, support and learning through play based National ECE curriculum and health programs.
28.NDID Policy 2018–2025 and its monitoring and evaluation provide the guidelines for the implementation of strategic area on mainstreaming the rights of person with disabilities, awareness and disabilities specific services.
Answer to question 7
29.NDID Policy 2018–2025 policy strategic consolidate CBR Action 2014–2024 which provide plan for the implementation of disabilities specific services through the CBR Action Plan as an approach for coordination and referral mechanism to optimize access to disabilities specific services, mental health service and mainstreaming disabilities inclusive program.
30.National Inclusive Education Policy 2010–2020 to promote disabilities inclusion with post school education and training options through the piloting program in two primary schools in Vanuatu, namely Santo East and Freshwata Bilingual School.
31.Gender Protection Cluster has also provide the platform for person with disabilities as vulnerable groups under disaster respond initiative of Government to express their views and Government has respond during the natural disaster in evacuation of people in Ambae Volcano and cyclone Pam respond.
32.The services provider in Vanuatu (stakeholders) have been running program on early intervention through early childhood program, such VSPD, Vanuatu Pikinini play time has been running program on early intervention through early childhood program.
Awareness-raising (art. 8)
Answer to question 8
33.Persons with disabilities included and participated during the National events such as International Disabilities Day which celebrated every 3rd of December each year. In the more recent years (2017 and 2018), persons with disabilities have helped to design the program and led the celebrations as MCs and panel discussion members. The 2018 event included a parade through Port Vila town, designing and developing different empowering banners to hold and marching along the street, discussion in the panel on disabilities rights and a play by Rainbow Theatre, music and dancing. Government also supported celebrations in each of the six provinces throughout Vanuatu.
34.In 2018, persons with disabilities were involved in and attended the annual Fest Napuan music festival (only locally run regional festival in the Pacific) for the first time.
35.In 2018, persons with disabilities were also involved and participated in Fashion show parade organised by a telecommunication company and would like to invite the disabilities persons to participate in the Fashion Show as a result of the fashion parade they were two of the disabilities awarded for first and second price etc.
36.Also in 2018, participation of person with disabilities in the Round Island Relay organised by VSPD.
37.First ever National Disabilities Conference in 2018 which enable every community disable association, disable people’s organisation and Government stakeholders to participate on three days meeting at the Government Convention Centre in Port Vila.
38.During the Mini South Pacific Games in Port Vila in 2017, the participation of para-Olympic team Vanuatu has been a highlight as part of awareness on right of person with disabilities in participation in sports. Member of the team also participate in the Commonwealth para-Olympic game, winning bronze medal 2018.
Answer to question 9
39.As part of 2018 Building Inclusive Community Partnerships training for 17 civil servants working in the justice and community services sector, Desk and VDPA/VSPD presented on the rights of persons with disabilities and the new NDID Policy and asked participants to closely consider persons with disabilities in their community-based projects.
40.Gender mainstreaming has been established by Government through the services deliveries Ministries as focal point to run awareness on right of person with disabilities and ensure that person of disabilities are included in the services delivery sector. They are the focal point that work directly with MJCS Disability desk as the coordinating body in implementing of Disabilities Policy and also work closely with Provincial Government.
Accessibility (art. 9)
Answer to question 10 (a)
41.The National Building Code is in a process of being amended and is yet to be presented in Parliament but there were already a lot of work done by implementing accessible pathways for all new public building in town and the Municipality had issues bio-laws that any new public buildings in town must meet the standing of disabilities both in building and including the facilities such as toilet etc.
Answer to question 10 (b)
42.Government is working with Vanuatu Civil Society Network on establishing standard procedures in getting the views through consultation of member of network before authorities approves infrastructure development project and plan in urban and peri-urban centres that will affect people with disabilities.
Answer to question 10 (c)
43.For the accessible for the roads, we have a member of the disabilities was working with the road maintenance enterprise, new public buildings and had given them the width and the length of the wheelchair accessible along the roadside is the accessible for the disabilities.
44.For the transportation, we have at the moment are the two accessible bus for transporting the persons with disabilities. The bus owned by local and expatriate.
Answer to question 10 (d)
45.In 2016, the Right to Information Unit (RTI Unit) and OGCIO (Office of the Government Chief Information Officer) worked in partnership with the VCSDN and Oxfam in Vanuatu to develop Web Accessibility Guidelines as part of the Right to Information Vanuatu Accessibility Project. This project was funded by Australian aid through the Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) Disabilities Initiative Grants.
46.Inclusive Education Policy 2010–2020 enable Government through the MJCS to get braille slate from University of the South Pacific and granted to the Ministry of Education and training in 2017.
Situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies (art. 11)
Answer to question 11 (a)
47.Gender Protection Cluster has provide the platform for person with disabilities as vulnerable groups under disaster respond initiative of Government to express their views and Government has respond during the natural disaster in evacuation of people in Ambae Volcano and cyclone Pam respond.
48.NDMO had worked with the Provincial Area secretaries to set-up Community Disaster Committee (CDC) at the Village level and there several of persons with disabilities who becoming the member of the CDCs in the village level.
49.INGOs had worked with local NGOs such as VSPD, VDPA, Rainbow Theatre, Red Cross, Care International, Oxfam, Live and Learn and Save the Children had worked closely with NDMO to set-up CDCs in the village and area levels of the six provinces of Vanuatu.
50.NDMO worked closely with the two tele-communications to give out the warning and preparedness messages during the disaster season by accessing text messages of warnings on the SMS and social mass media like Face book etc.
51.NDMO had set-up different clusters to coordinate disaster events which occurred within country. For instance, the Gender Protection Cluster is targeted for Women, Children and disabilities etc. The Gender Protection Cluster is an active team which acts at the community level when a disaster strikes the community or country and disabilities officers played very important part by assisting the vulnerable group and make awareness on preparedness to protect them from disaster and other related issues which affects the life for women, girls and children ... etc.
Answer to question 11 (b)
52.By the CDCs members passing the message to the care-takers or care-givers and they will inform the persons with disabilities about the information about the disaster warnings and also the carers support and help the vulnerable group to move out from the disaster zone into safer place at the initial stage of the disaster.
53.The Government also help to move people depending on the nature of the case if they can help to have time to move them out before the situation gets worse.
Answer to question 11 (c)
54.This has been an important focus for the Gender and Protection Cluster over recent years, particularly following a joint study into the Cyclone Pam response from the perspective of persons with disabilities in 2016–17. Government has attempted to implement recommendations from the report – “Disabilities Inclusion in Disaster Risk Reduction: Experiences of people with disabilities in Vanuatu during and after Tropical Cyclone Pam and recommendations for humanitarian agencies (July 2017)” – in its subsequent response to disasters. See below for further summary in relation to the response to the 2018 Ambae evacuation.
Answer to question 12
55.In relation to the evacuation of residents from Ambae island in 2018, the Government Gender and Protection team (supported by national and international NGOs) reported the following.
56.Temporary evacuation centres and waiting areas ensure safety and dignity for all people and are accessible for people with disabilities and elderly. There is lighting, shelter, accessible toilet facilities for women and men and people with disabilities, safe and friendly places for children, privacy, food and water.
57.Information and support is available, especially referral to counselling for women who experience violence or psychological stress, and referral to health providers for people who need medical support.
58.Child friendly spaces are available for children to keep them safe and well.
59.Families and communities are kept together and their leaders, both women and men, are supported to play a leading role in their own planning, response and recovery.
60.People receive information that helps them know what is happening and how to cope. All emergency responders, especially sector clusters, understand the different needs and capacities of women, men, children and people with disabilities and ensure assistance for basic humanitarian needs of food, water, shelter and health is reaching women, men, children, people living with disabilities and other vulnerable groups such as pregnant women.
61.People know what is being planned and when, so that they can prepare their families and their possessions.
62.Vulnerable people are identified, prioritised and supported to move first, especially people with disabilities, elderly, pregnant and lactating women and very sick people. Vulnerable people are moved with their families, carers, mobility devices and possessions.
63.The boats used to evacuate people are safe and reliable with life jackets and life rafts, and designated focal points are on board to support people, especially the most vulnerable.
64.Information about the men, women and children who are leaving is recorded, and shared with emergency authorities.
65.When people arrive in the new place, they receive information about where to go and what services are available, including referrals for any special support needed, and continue to receive updates about what’s happening during their displacement.
66.When people arrive, they are registered and data is recorded on numbers of men, women, boys and girls and disabilities. This data is centralised in the Emergency Operations Centre and accessible for all responders.
67.People are accommodated in safe, dignified, accessible conditions where women, children and people with disabilities are safe from violence, have privacy and access to dignified facilities.
68.Counselling is available for people experience gender based violence, stress and trauma, including psychological first aid and other psychosocial support.
69.Targeted assistance is provided for people who need it including reproductive health services, nutritional support for pregnant women, and appropriate support for people living with disabilities.
70.Child friendly spaces are available and mechanisms for child protection are in place, including keeping children with parents and carers and supporting learning and education.
71.Communities are kept together and their leaders are empowered to support their protection.
72.Emergency responders coordinate well at all levels to ensure effective support to women, men, boys, girls and people with disabilities. The Gender and Protection Cluster is a key part of the Emergency Operations Centre to communicate about the special needs of communities.
73.Communities are supported to discuss their concerns with authorities.
74.There is early recovery planning for communities to plan for their futures – including re-establishing houses, communities, gardens, employment, schooling and other essential aspects of community life.
Equal recognition before the law (art. 12)
Answer to question 13 (a)
75.Government with the technical assistance from the UNESCAP & PIFS carry out a legislative review for compliance with the CRPD. Government through the Ministry of Justice & Community Services request the assistance in 2015 was a critical steps toward harmonising all domestic laws with the Convention and providing a robust legislative framework for enhancing the right the right of person with disabilities in the country.
76.A gap analysis report of Constitution and 300 laws has been accepted by the Ministry of Justice in 2016 as legislative pathways that will guide Government in the amendment of propose 101 laws which was found to fall short in one way of another of standards contained in key Articles of the Convention.
77.The reports provide particulars of legislation that requires amendment in ensuring equality and non-discrimination, accessibility, right to equal recognition before the law, access to justice, liberty and security of person, living independently and being included in the community, the right to work and employment and participation in public and political life.
78.MJCS has taken the lead in the review the Correctional Services Act in 2018 which take into consideration recommendation on the review reports by the removal of discriminatory of clause in the act and allow equal participation of person with disabilities who enter correctional system.
Answer to question 13 (b)
79.The Government through the DID Policy 2018–2025 and Vanuatu’s People Plan 2030 general principles acknowledge the right of empowerment and autonomy of person of person with disabilities, including freedom to make their own choices and decision.
80.Government is committed in ensuring mechanism is established through the implementation of strategies under the national policies, to streamline effort in ensuring that autonomy and empowerment of persons with disabilities is achieved.
81.Measure taken by Government is the establishment of a mechanism through working with Vanuatu Civil Society Network as the organisation that established a mechanism that required all infrastructure development plan in urban centres that will affect people with disabilities will required their views through consultation and participation.
Answer to question 13 (c)
82.Government has been working with Vanuatu Civil Disability Network as the organisation that established a mechanism that required all infrastructure development plan in urban centres that will affect people with disabilities will required their views through consultation and participation.
83.For the accessible for the roads, we have a member of the disabilities was working with the road maintenance enterprise, new public and buildings and had given them the width and the length of the wheelchair accessible along the roadside is the accessible for the disabilities.
Answer to question 13 (d)
84.The Government has set aside budget allocation of VT200, 000,000 equivalent to USD 1,772,730in 2018 for the construction of a Hall of Justice which will house the Judiciary. One of the main objective of providing a modern facility for the people of Vanuatu and its visitors to access justice services. Standard facility will allow case progression and ability of Judiciary to ensure that all people, children, person with disabilities and vulnerable groups have equal access and instil a notion that is ensure standard judicial services that ensure accessibility to a standard facility and efficient case management to make sure that justice are served for every citizen and residence of Vanuatu.
85.This goal is in line with the government’s 2030 Plan, the people’s plan (NSDP 2030) of improving the standard of living of Vanuatu’s population specifically, strengthening the Justice Sector of Vanuatu. The Project will directly link to achievement of indicator under the MJCS Sector Strategies on Infrastructure development, Case management and Assess to Justice.
Access to justice (art. 13)
Answer to question 14 (a)
86.National Sustainable Development plan 2016–2010 – Social Inclusion thematic area provide an objective for Government in ensuing all people, including people with disabilities, have access to government services, buildings and public space. Strategy for the Justice and Community Services Sector 2018–2021 has further streamline access to justice through a thematic areas on improving access to justice services, on strategic goals; Justice in Communities, Juvenile Justice and Disabilities and Social Inclusion.
87.NDID Policy 2018–2025 strategy on Accessibility target on the implementation of activities in ensuring standard services that are accessible to person with disabilities in general.
88.In 2018, Disability desk and VDPA commenced work in relation to this plan through the development of a Desk Review of existing research on the barriers persons with disabilities face in relation to police, legal representation and courts. This consolidated review will provide a valuable foundation for future work to address existing barriers.
Answer to question 14 (b)
89.Justice and Community Services Sector Strategy (JCSSS) 2014–2017 has implemented strategic areas on Access to justice across all provinces. Activities under this strategy were developed and implemented according to evidence based collaborative strategies that address barriers to access. Disability desk and Disabilities stakeholders continue to coordinate awareness campaign and referral on the right of person with disabilities to access justice through accessing Public Solicitor.
90.With the assistance of development partners, survey and piloting project has been done in communities as to identify barriers and recommendations has been taken into consideration by Government. Agencies under the Sector, Public Solicitor general has develop guidelines as to ensure that person with disabilities have equal access.
91.The appointment of RCs and APs under the Family Protection Act has also establish the framework of awareness on the rights and the availability of assistance available through the judicial function of the APs and RCs on providing counselling and temporary protection orders.
92.Government acknowledge the challenges and need for more capacity on the provision of legal aid to vulnerable groups. The JCSSS 2018–2021 and overarching Vanuatu’s People Plan 2030 has set the strategic pathway for Government in making the commitment.
Answer to question 14 (c)
93.Government commitment in the implementation of social inclusion policies across Government sectors, the mainstreaming of Gender and Protection Cluster and Gender Budgeting initiatives has provide elements of inclusion indicator on providing reasonable services. Government acknowledge that it need more resources in order to mainstream the provision of reasonable services to the person of disabilities.
94.Government through the coordination of the Disability desk and VDPA build upon this work in 2019 including through workshops with persons with disabilities to review existing material and fill in current gaps and workshops with justice sector agencies to develop action plans to address barriers and improve access to justice for persons with disabilities across Vanuatu.
95.Woman and girls do faced challenges when filing the case to the court sometimes the legal officers do away with the cases by saying that the disabilities victim doesn’t have much evidence to support their cases and that is a big barrier which vulnerable group had faced. For instance, a female deaf person doesn’t have an interpreter or a standard sign language which also contributes to the failure to continue to process the case for the victim to the court.
Answer to question 15
96.State Law Office continues to carry out awareness and training targeting Government services delivery arms who perform constitutional functions according to necessity. Most of the training that target police and correctional officers over the reporting period are coordinate by the National Human Right Committee and the Ministry of Justice and Community of Justice. Training carried out at the Vanuatu Correctional Services Dept. are as follows:
(a)Focus on developing psychological skills (Communication Skills Training) of Correctional Services officer every six months subject to review. Special training in 2015 as to build Officers capacity to react to any tension encountered within the system;
(b)Annual training organised by the regional office of the OHCHR on the CAT in June 2016 and June 2018. The training of the Correctional Services on the article of the Convention has been informative and have shown effectiveness on deliverable of services provided by Correctional Officers;
(c)Capacity development of Training Managers to conduct training of officer. The Vanuatu Correctional Services has also venture in training personnel who be responsible in conducting training according to the capacity development programme of the Department. Trainers are responsible for the dissemination of information to all officers on duty.
Liberty and security of the person (art. 14)
Answer to question 16 (a)
97.A gap analysis report of 300 laws in 2016 by Government with the technical assistance of the UNESCAP and PIFs the MJCS in 2016 provide the recommendation for the amendment of Mental Hospital Act.
98.Government acknowledge that the Act need repeal as it compromised several core rights of person living with disabilities as enshrined in the CRPD. MJCS has informed the Ministry of Health on the necessity and Ministry has not schedule any time frame for consultation on the amendment due to resources constraint in establishing standard facilities and capacity that will requires, however Government is committed in strengthening the current capacity and miscellaneous amendment will be prioritize.
Answer to question 16 (b)
99.Government with assistance of development partner has carried a situation analysis in 2009 and acknowledge there are many challenges for the development of mental health in Vanuatu. Implementation of the Mental Health Policy and Plan 2009–2015 by the Ministry of Health mark the commitment of Government in improve mental health of all people in Vanuatu through raising awareness, developing services through training of professionals in mental health and involving the community in the process of prevention, promotion and care.
100.Establishment of National Mental Health Committee with mandate to in reviewing mental health legislation, consultation, drafting and referral of the legislation to Parliament in 2016. Create one in-patient bed within each of the five provincial hospitals which are Northern District Hospital Lenakel hospital, Lolowai hospital, Norsup Hospital and Sola Hospital. Appoint one doctor and one nurse from each provincial hospital to be responsible for any mental health problems Train one nurse from each province in management of mental health disorders in each provincial hospital.
101.The policy was implemented to ensure basic mental health services are provided in provincial hospitals and at the primary health care level, ensure the availability of essential psychotropic medications, Enhance information systems and data collection.
Freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse (art. 16)
Answer to question 17
102.Authorised Person and Registered Counsellors under the Family Protection Act has been piloted from 2012–2018 and MJCS has with development partners is targeting the capacity development of APs and RCs to be first point of contact on referral of case of domestic violence. Government acknowledge the constraint as appointment is on voluntary capacity, however with the new Government decentralisation policy, the functions of appointee is strengthen as a point of services of Government in the communities of rural Vanuatu.
103.Malvatumauri Council of Chief (MCC) amendment Bill is currently listed for Parliament in the 2019 first session. The purpose of amendment is for the establishment of customary areas council of chiefs as the units responsible for peace and security for the people in communities. After the passing of the Bill, MJCS and MCC has plan in 2019 to run continue awareness and capacity development for council members on human rights and the support the chief need to provide to APs and RCs in their locality. With the increase in sexual related offices penalties under the Penal Code Amendment.
104.Act of 2016, the courts has increase the bench mark of sentence, customary reconciliation is taken into consideration as mitigating factor.
105.Ministry of Justice and Community Services is working in partnership with VAPJP and justice and community sector agencies to implement recommendations from two pieces of research into (1) conflict management at the community level (in rural Vanuatu) and (2) the experiences of young people in the management of conflict at the community level (in peri-urban Vanuatu) and in accessing justice services. To date, MJCS and partners have run community legal awareness workshops in the rural research area and with youth in peri-urban areas, with a particular focus on sexual and gender-based violence. Building on this work and implementation of further recommendations will be a focus for 2019 and beyond.
Answer to question 18 (a)
106.Education Act No 9 of 2014 prohibits corporal punishment in Education system early childhood care and education through senior secondary school.
107.MJCS has commence in running consultation on the Child Protection Bill in 2018 and in 2019 which will envisage of criminalizing unreasonable or extreme corporal punishment in all setting.
Answer to question 18 (b)
108.Government through the MJCS projects on piloting of APs and RCs in 2017–2018 has envisage that mechanism of appointee with judicial function and counselling capacity will be used to address general abuse of human right, especially special attention will be given to vulnerable groups. Outcome of the pilot will provide the strategic plan for Government in strengthening the capacity in the replication.
109.National Gender Policy has set the plate form for Gender & Protection cluster during disaster, streamlining the need to person with disabilities to be taken as priority by different cluster respond to disaster. Gender Budgeting initiatives also measure the inclusion policy of services delivery of Government. Government is committed in enhancing it commitment allow gender synthesis services is provided.
Answer to question 18 (c)
110.There is no standalone monitoring mechanism in place at the moment. There is still dependency on Vanuatu Women’s Centre, Family Protection Unit and advice from the Policy Unit at the MJCS. Statistic at the Vanuatu Women Centre and Police Information Management System at Family Protection Unit at the Vanuatu Policy force is available upon request in development of monitoring mechanism.
111.At the moment, Disabilities stakeholders carry out referral of reports of violence and abuse of persons with disabilities to authorities.
112.Government is currently undertaking Disabilities Inclusive Analysing commencing from July 2018 in working with persons with disabilities, identify barriers to police reporting and protection including child protection, legal advice and representation, and the courts and develop disabilities inclusion strategies to address identified barriers, and incorporate these into relevant sector, corporate and business plans. Report will be submitted to Government on date of completion and recommendation will guide the MJCS in addressing the issues.
Answer to question 19
113.There is no standalone monitoring mechanism in place at the moment. There is still dependency on Vanuatu Women’s Centre, Family Protection Unit and advice from the Policy Unit at the MJCS.
Protecting the integrity of the person (art. 17)
Answer to question 20
114.Ministry of Health Minor Care Unit have develop capacity through a specialise Doctor and nurses who under goes 6 months training in Fiji the care of intellectual or psychosocial disabilities patience at the Unit. Focus is limited on medical model, however the right paced model is limited and Government is committed to carry out awareness to all communities.
115.Dedicated mental health nurses are posted to province of Torba, Malamba, Sanma, Tafea and Penama medical centres.
Liberty of movement and nationality (art. 18)
Answer to question 21 (a)
116.Recommendation has already been endorse by Government through the Vanuatu Legislative Review for compliance with CRPD Report May 2016.
117.MJCS will be coordinating consultation with the Ministry of Internal affairs in 2019 for the review.
Answer to question 21 (b)
118.Government has allowed for free issuing of birth certificate by the Civil Registry Office for all person with disabilities.
Living independently and being included in the community (art. 19)
Answer to question 22
119.Government continues to do awareness through partnership with NGO (Vanuatu Skills Partnership) for skills development and training providers to be inclusive. Disability desk is also working with World Vision on a 5 year project 2018–2022 “Wash for Women and Girls and People with Disabilities” This is been captures priority 8 on Women and Girl with Disabilities, Statistics.
120.Government is leading awareness and coordinating the extension of the project to two province of Torba and Sanma as pilot sites.
121.As Vanuatu Skills Partnership (VSP) conducted training and empowering PLWD in areas of livelihood skills, agro-business and hospitality etc. Some of the disabilities persons had gained updated knowledge and skills to do their own product and produce their own creativity things and making their own living and not depending on their family members but they self-employed and do their own independent self-reliance and support their families with their source of income. For instance, a disabilities woman can weave beautiful baskets and sell them at the market centre for the tourist and she earns income to invest in her child’s education.
122.VSPD had worked to implement CBR program and had empowered them through the assist which worked very close with the physio-therapy clinic, Motivation Australia and Ladder Days Saint (LDS) to provide free service of devices to enable the persons with disabilities in-order for them to access the facilities, move around and involve and participate in community work and activities and also have access to community building and public service building such as, hospital, school and church etc.
Freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information (art. 21)
Answer to question 23
123.RTI Web Accessibility Guidelines were developed in 2016 to help to make Government websites accessible for persons with disabilities. In relation to a national sign language Vanuatu Skills Partnership supported research into development of a national sign language. This report was launched on 4 December 2018 at the inaugural Disabilities Influencing Forum and an executive summary of the report handed to Government. MoET has also established Braille and Sign language working groups to look into the development of National sign language and the introduction of Braille into schools.
Respect for home and the family (art. 23)
Answer to question 24 (a)
124.MJCS has accepted the recommendation under the Vanuatu Legislative Review for Compliance with the CRPD May 2016, Government is yet to conduct consultation in the propose amendment.
Answer to question 24 (b)
125.Vanuatu’s People Plan 2030 on empowering of person with disabilities which an overarching policy guideline that set the priority of Government. Desk has not yet set programs in specifically provide mainstream support.
Answer to question 24 (c)
126.There is no instrument issue by Government on elimination of such practise, Vanuatu cultural and traditional values on extended responsibilities upon extended families still allow sharing of responsibilities, sharing care of person with special needs.
Education (art. 24)
Answer to question 25 (a)
127.Established Inclusive Education Posts in Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) Units which include the following:
•National Inclusive Education coordinator coordinating the implementation of the Inclusive Education policy;
•Inclusive Education Curriculum coordinator coordinating the development of inclusive teaching and learning resources at the curriculum development unit;
•Appointment of Inclusive Education lecturer and tutor at Vanuatu institute of teacher education;
•Appointment of Inclusive Education teachers serving in the model school;
•Establishment of National Inclusive Education steering committee;
•Establishment of Inclusive Education model school;
•Establishment of Inclusive Education Case studies schools;
•Award scholarships to students and teachers to study Inclusive Education for the development of Inclusive Education;
•Incorporate National building codes into MoET building codes which address accessibility to students with disabilities;
•Improve survey forms and build into open VEMIS for data collection of students with disabilities;
•Development of massive campaign strategy on the rights of children with disabilities to attend schools and implement the strategy.
Answer to question 25 (b)
128.MoET Child safeguarding policy awareness to schools, and through media targeting negative attitudes, stigma towards children with disabilities and those with special needs.
129.MoET Gender Equity in Education policy awareness on the protection and combat negative attitudes to children especially girls with disabilities in schools.
130.Inclusive Education policy awareness across the country targeting to abolish the discriminatory behaviour, negative attitudes and stigma in schools.
Answer to question 25 (c)
131.Mainstreaming Inclusive Education for peer support and mentoring.
132.Grants paid to early childhood care and education (ECCE) and primary which a certain percentage is allocated for teacher support, teaching and learning resources.
133.Modified furniture locally made are used in model school.
Answer to question 25 (d)
134.Scholarships given to students and teachers to study – Inclusive Education and part of human development inclusive education.
135.Field-based training of in-service teachers in Inclusive Education and Teachers training in Inclusive Education at the Vanuatu Institute of Teacher Education.
136.MOU with Australia-Pacific Training Coalition to train teacher support in inclusive education.
Answer to question 25 (e)
137.WASH program in schools’ program supports women and girls with disabilities.
Health (art. 25)
Answer to question 26
138.Mental Health Policy and Strategy Plan 2016–2020:
•Work with National Mental Health Committee to support the provision of ongoing Mental Health Psycho Social Services and counselling training to selected staff, particularly those working directly with at-risk children;
•Ensure staff are aware of appropriate referral channels for both children and families at risk of suffering from mental illnesses;
•Support the National Mental Health Committees and Provincial Mental Health Committees in advocating greater community mental health awareness;
•Work with the Ministry of Education to ensure suitable mental health and psychosocial support and counselling services are available to children in schools.
139.Health Sector Strategy 2017–2020:
•Ensure that the population of Vanuatu has equitable access to affordable quality health care through the fair distribution of facilities that are suitably resourced and equipped;
•Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for all citizens may have access to affordable health care regardless of gender, age, race, disabilities and socio economic status.
140.Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Health Policy and Implementation Strategy 2017–2018. (RMNCAH):
•All people, especially women, children, young people, people with special needs and other vulnerable groups and those living in rural areas respectful of their individual rights, shall have access, to quality reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health services, resources and information’s;
•Have 8 key policy areas KPA1: Safe motherhood KPA2: Child survival KPA3: Family planning KPA4: ASRH KPA5: STI including HIV KPA6: GBV KPA7: Morbidities of the reproductive system KPA8 RMNCAH commodity security.
141.Ministry of Health Role Delineation Policy 2018.Desired outputs of the policy are to:
•Define health services to be provided at primary, secondary and tertiary care levels;
•Define designations of health facilities within each care model, reflective of access by population and proximity to higher level health facilities;
•Define staffing levels, skills, qualifications and experience for health providers to match the health services;
•Define minimum functional space requirements and utilities, reflective of facility Designations;
•Define minimum equipment requirements for provision of safe and effective health services;
•Reflect consideration of gender and vulnerable groups, inclusiveness, sustainability, climate change and disaster risk.
Answer to question 27
142.Draft Vanuatu Mental Health Act in place and to be table by the council of minister’s (COM) this year 2019. COM paper already developed.
143.The purpose of the new mental health legislation is:
•To provide for the care, support, treatment, rehabilitation and protection of persons with a mental health condition;
•To give effect to the purpose and principles in CRPD; provide, wherever possible, mental health care on a voluntary basis in the community and as a part of integrated general health care services;
•To provide mental health clients with access to the best possible mental health care based on internationally accepted standards and equal to standards applicable to general health clients; and
•To promote, respect and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of mental health clients in a manner that guarantees equality, human dignity and respect and equality before the law.
Habilitation and rehabilitation (art. 26)
Answer to question 28
144.Since the CBR Action Plan was initiated in 2014, interest in disabilities service delivery in Vanuatu has increased at government and NGO levels. Four organisations are currently providing mobility devices within the CBR framework: the Disability desk of the Ministry of Justice and Community Services; Vanuatu Society for Disabled People (VSDP); Sanma Frangipani Association; and the Physiotherapy section of the Vila Central Hospital (VCH). In addition, a wide range of other organisations are involved in other aspects of the CBR Matrix.
145.Since 2014, there has also been a range of improvements including:
146.Greater coordination between the Disability desk of MoJCS and NGOs, including VSDP and Disabilities Promotion and Advocacy Association (DPA) to distribute mobility devices (particularly wheelchairs and crutches), both in Port Vila and rural areas.
147.Renewed effort to develop a National Disabilities Policy, including a review in 2015 and drafting of a new policy and action plan ready for consultation during April and May 2017.
148.Establishment of Provincial Disabilities Committees for liaison, coordination and representation of the Disability desk at provincial level.
149.Greater funding, more reliable provision of supplies and other forms of support from international NGOs (i.e. Oxfam; Church of the Latter Day Saints; and Motivation Australia) and development partners (i.e. DFAT – through Stretem Rod Blong Justis; and a Perth Christian school which trains therapists) for disabilities services.
(c)Service provision and outreach
150.Assessment and provision of mobility devices to 278 people with physical disabilities, since 2014 – supported by consistent and shared use of a single set of forms (developed by Motivation Australia, with training provided for CBR personnel) and data collection.
151.Joint visits to other islands (on average 3 per year) to undertake assessments, provide mobility devices and follow-up where possible (usually a result of available funding opportunities).
152.Increased number of qualified physiotherapists at Port Vila Central Hospital, and plans for re-introducing outreach services (from July 2017).
153.Increased follow-up, albeit by phone, for people who have received wheelchairs or other devices.
154.High profile of disabilities inclusion during the response to the devastating Cyclone Pam in 2015, as a result of analysis, advocacy and strong alliances in the sector Organisation of CRPD courses for provinces.
155.The number of people with disabilities with higher incomes, as a result of handicraft production and sale, livestock raising or formal employment, appears to have increased, with two employed in the public sector and a larger number employed with Rainbow Theatre and in home-based businesses.
156.Increasing numbers of training providers are becoming more inclusive, including the Agricultural College in Santo, Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and University of South Pacific, providing more options for referrals by CBR workers.
157.According to current stakeholders, the following mix of factors has contributed to these improvements.
158.Good levels of collaboration between government and NGO stakeholders Coordination role played by Disability desk in MoJCS.
159.Networking through the Civil Society Disability Network, facilitated and supported by Oxfam in Vanuatu.
160.Raised awareness at community and government levels (both national and provincial), including by the Disability Promotion and Advocacy Association and through community theatre (particularly the Rainbow Theatre Company).
161.Passion and commitment by individuals working in the sector.
162.Christian beliefs about caring for each other, translated into a concern for inclusion.
163.Access to external expertise and partnerships with NGOs, including donations of equipment from faith based organizations.
164.Access to funding from WHO, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and international NGOs.
Work and employment (art. 27)
Answer to question 29 (a)
165.Government is yet to review the Employment Act to align with the Article 27 of the CRPD. Commitment of Government in ensuring that there is inclusion has been taken into consideration by Department of Labour has recruit a Labour inclusion Officer with the supported of Australia Government Person has been working closely with the Desk and VSPD in facilitating the participation of person with disabilities on Seasonal Worker’s Project. As of to date 6 person with disabilities has deployed to work on the scheme.
Answer to question 29 (b)
166.Recommendation has already been endorse by Government through the Vanuatu Legislative Review for compliance with CRPD Report May 2016. MJCS will be coordinating consultation with the Ministry of Internal affairs in 2019 for the review for the amendment of Employment Act.
Answer to question 29 (c)
167.There is no such law which that is in place for increase of job opportunities for persons with disabilities regardless of their educational level. There is only inclusion strategies that were developed by some of the business community which enables a person with disabilities to be employed. But there has been a lot of awareness raining going on with the twin track approach, providing awareness to people with disabilities and the wider community.
Answer to question 29 (d)
168.There is no specific accessibility for women with disabilities in work place, but there are women with disabilities who are now working in a lot of private sectors and in some different government sectors. The majority are those with physical impairments and hearing impairment.
Answer to question 30
169.There is more person with disabilities out in most communities who are very skilful in different productions such as handcraft, sewing, weaving, and carving locally. Through the Vanuatu skill partnership people with disabilities products are now sold in well-established centres which then enable to individual to value added their products during trainings that were organised by VSP.
Adequate standard of living and social protection (art. 28)
Answer to question 31 (a)
170.Government has not yet mainstream the provision of social protection under the MJCS due to the challenges of resources availability. Service delivery of Government through community services are strengthened through the partnership with stakeholder and development partners.
Answer to question 31 (b)
171.Government has not yet mainstream delivering social protection and poverty reduction program. In partnership with Disability stakeholders and Vanuatu Skills Partnership project, Government continues to run programs, training etc. of person with disabilities in ensuring their participations in accessing opportunity provided by Government.
Participation in political and public life (art. 29)
Answer to question 32
172.In 2016 Election Office has given priority to vulnerable groups to exercise their right vote in our election. Person with disabilities are given the opportunity to exercise their right and Election Office has amended rules on voting proxy by discouraging person with disabilities to proxy voting, however exceptional cases of voting proxy are only allowed on provision of evidence on why person with disabilities cannot vote in person.
Answer to question 33
173.There has been a lot of awareness raising taken before elections. This is done through media outlets. During elections people with disabilities were assisted by their family members to enter polling station to vote. Accessibility is also consideration to polling stations. People with disabilities are also served to vote even if there is a crowd.
Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport (art. 30)
Answer to question 34 (a)
174.Ministry and Youth and Sports in partnership with VASANOC and Vanuatu Paralympic Committee have work tirelessly in ensuring inclusive sports in Vanuatu during the Pacific Mini-games 2017. Opportunity allow Government and stakeholder of disabilities organisation to participate. A large group of para-athletes participate at the Pacific Mini Games in 2017 and the Commonwealth Games in 2018. Vanuatu’s first medal at the Commonwealth Games was won by a para-athlete. The team is now preparing for the Olympic Games in 2020. Inclusive sports has also been part of Wilco Island Relay in 2018, rowing regattas, surfability in 2017–2018.
175.Inclusive Education program model schools in Port Vila and Santo run program on special Olympic Vanuatu program.
Answer to question 34 (b)
176.Through the partnership with Vanuatu Skills Partnership project has been initiated to ensure that person with disabilities use cultural activities and turn it into income activities. Potential are identified and enhance through skills development activities. There have been number of positive changes for participant with disabilities both in terms of community perception and personally for the individually involved.
Answer to question 34 (c)
177.The Government is currently working Traditional Knowledge and Culture Expression Bill which still on consultation phase. Government is committed in ensuring the Bill is inclusive and allow equal participation of vulnerable groups.
C.Specific obligations (arts. 31–33)
Statistics and data collection (art. 31)
Answer to question 35 (a)
178.The Disability desk advocates for use of the Washington Group’s Short Set of Questions wherever possible and is seeing increasing uptake by a range of Government and partner NGO agencies. The Ministry of Education have incorporated Washington Group Questions survey forms in VEMIS for the collection of data of children with disabilities in schools and conducted national-trainings on Disabilities survey forms for education officers in the provinces.
179.In 2018, Desk and VSPD ran workshops with Shefa Provincial Area Secretaries (i.e. local government representatives) to raise their understanding of persons with disabilities and principles of disabilities inclusion. Following the workshop, the Shefa Provincial Planner requested that Desk review the standardised community mapping form produced by Department of Local Authorities to ensure it would capture statistics on persons with disabilities. Desk and VSPD amended the mapping form informed by the Washington Group questions and recommended it include an additional set of questions specifically targeting persons with disabilities. This change was accepted for the full country for use by Area Secretaries.
Answer to question 35 (b)
180.Desk, World Vision Vanuatu and Vanuatu National Statistics Office are currently working to sign an MOU to guide a pilot joint data collection project in two provinces (Sanma and Torba) – “Laetem Dak Kona”. It is hoped that the project will generate data on persons with disabilities in these provinces, informed by the Washington Group Questions which will be openly available to Government. The project will be supported by the London School of Medicine.
181.VDPA has led advocacy for the inclusion of the Washington Group’s Short Set of Questions in the upcoming National Census (2020).
International cooperation (art. 32)
Answer to question 36
182.Government in partnership with VSPD enhancement of service delivery due to active nature of registered organisation executing inclusive strategies addressing the right and needs of person with disabilities in Vanuatu.
183.Government annually renew and reviewing of relationship through MOU between and VSDP, Vanuatu Disabilities Promotion Advocacy Association and Vanuatu Skills Partnership, Vanuatu Civil Society Disabilities Network which facilitate their relationship with international cooperation and access to funding on implementing disabilities policies in Vanuatu. After the launching of the NDID Policy 2018–2025, the Government has invite all stakeholders to be partners in the implementation of the policy and now in the process of renewing MOU to reflect partnership.
National implementation and monitoring (art. 33)
Answer to question 37 (a)
184.The new DID Policy, which realises Vanuatu’s commitments under the CRPD, guides Disability Desk coordination function. The policy includes a detailed implementation plan. MJCS is working to ensure that MoUs with partner NGOs are aligned with the DID Policy implementation plan. Once the National Disabilities Committee is established, partners will be requested to provide a 6 monthly report to advise Desk on the outcomes of their work.
Answer to question 37 (b)
185.National Human Right Committee and the National Disabilities Committee have separate mandate in ensuring that National Policy is implemented. Policy Unit of the MJCS sit as the secretariat to the committees and responsible to report on the progress of policies and measure against the National Sustainable Development Plan – Vanuatu’s People Plan 2030.
Answer to question 37 (c)
186.The NDID Policy 2018–2025 were developed by Government and partners purposively in creating team work and elements of accountability in its implementations. The coordination of Disability Desk has allowed the full participation of person with disabilities.