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DATL: National council for disability must be independent

Dili Weekly - September 5, 2015

Paulina Quintao – The President of the Executive Council of the Disability Association Timor Leste (DATL) Joaquim Freitas dos Santos urges the independent establishment of the National Council for Disability in the country to advocate for the rights and needs of Timorese with disability.

According to DATL's President dos Santos, if the council is under a ministry it will be easily politicized and make any decision-making more difficult which will in turn make the lives of those living with disability much harder.

"It's better for the council to be independent in order to avoid political influences and so the council can play its roles more effectively," said dos Santos over the phone, in Dili.

President dos Santos said if the council is established independently it will get funding from the state budget annually to run its programs and activities and to promote the rights of disabled people. He added the council's establishment is essential to make advocacy towards the relevant ministry to develop programs and budget plans for development particularly considering the ideas and needs to people who have disabilities.

The chief of the Directorate for Disability and the Aged at the Ministry of Social Solidarity (MSS) Mateus da Silva said the Ministry has set up a team to analyze relevant information on particular issues such as disability and before any motion is presented to the Council of Ministers.

"Through our public consultations, we noted that most people agree that the council for people with disability has to be independent," said Director da Silva.

The council is scheduled to be established in 2015.

Source: http://www.thediliweekly.com/en/news/capital/13232-datl-national-council-for-disability-must-be-independent