PR211266: Minister Farrugia Portelli participates in a consultation session for persons with intellectual disabilities

Tying in with the government’s commitment to include everyone in all relevant processes affecting their lives and their futures, and in line with the stated aim of the UN Sustainable Development Goals to ‘Leave No One Behind’, Minister for Inclusion and Social Wellbeing Julia Farrugia Portelli participated in a consultation session organised for persons with intellectual disabilities. This session was part of the wider consultation process being held in respect of ‘Freedom to Live’, Malta’s 2021-2030 National Strategy for the Rights of Disabled Persons.

Minister Farrugia Portelli emphasised that, in the spirit of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, there should be ‘Nothing About Us, Without Us’ done, when taking steps to strengthen the rights of disabled persons. For this reason, she thanked the participants at today’s session for their involvement and input, and stated that their views would be used to inform the government’s exercise to update the relevant consultation documents, following the end of the public consultation.

In order to ensure that this consultation is accessible for all, the Ministry also released Maltese and English Easy-Read versions of the Strategy Consultation Document, alongside standard versions, and all documents were made available through different channels used for the Public Consultation. Furthermore, feedback can be given through a simple, understandable online form, available in Maltese and English, that is additionally designed in such a way to make it accessible to other disabled persons, such as those with visual impairments.

The session itself was led by Ms Lorraine Pleven, responsible for CRPD (Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability)’s Consultative Committee for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (KCC), and while different aspects of the strategy were explained, consultation questions were discussed in such a way as to ensure that persons with intellectual disabilities gave their views on the document, and on specific and general concerns that they wished would be addressed through a final strategy.

The event took place at Skill Space, a facility run by Aġenzija Sapport, which provides community services to persons with intellectual disabilities. Participants were also addressed by Ms Ruth Sciberras, the Agency’s Chief Executive Officer, Ms Samantha Pace Gasan, Commissioner for the Rights of Persons with Disability, and Mr Matthew Vella, Permanent Secretary within the Ministry for Inclusion and Social Wellbeing.

The wider public consultation exercise in respect of the Strategy runs until 7th July 2021, and the general public is invited to share their views through https://meae.gov.mt/en/Public_Consultations/MISW/Pages/Consultations/Maltas20212030NationalStrategyontheRightsofDisabledPersons.aspx