Young Voices campaigners from Sri Lanka met with the Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Department in June 2013. The main aim of the meeting was to get the Minister’s support for the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), and turning the pending Disability Rights Bill into law as soon as possible.
The Sri Lankan government signed the UNCRPD in March 2007, but it has not yet been ratified by parliament. The Disability Rights Bill has been pending for the last 7 years. A commitment to these two laws would make a huge difference for disabled people in Sri Lanka.
The Minister responded very positively to their requests. During the meeting he telephoned the Minister of Social Services directly and asked him to take the steps required to ratify the UNCRPD. They agreed to speak again prior to the next cabinet meeting about what needed to be done to take this forward. The Minister also confirmed that he would be speaking to the President of Sri Lanka to get his support for ratifying the UNCRPD as soon as possible.
The Minister also agreed to nominate and sponsor Ishan Jalill, President of Young Voices Sri Lanka, to participate in the Malala Day events in July at the UN Headquarters in New York as one of the government representatives.
The Minister said that the government of Sri Lanka has identified the Young Voices movement as a leading, vibrant and effective initiative. They are very keen to support Young Voices and ensure the rights of people with disabilities in Sri Lanka are respected.