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Protection of rights and dignity of disabled PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 01 March 2008

We cannot but be concerned about the process of protecting rights and dignity of the disabled though Chief Adviser to military controlled interim government observes that the job is both a challenge and obligation for all. If past experiences are any indicators, such consultations could drag on for months, even years, before they lead to any concrete recommendations, let alone any substantive actions. His suggestions could, therefore, mean that he is either unaware of how longwinded the consultations can be or simply trying to avoid the responsibilities to implement whatever recommendations that come about since the recommendations would most likely be finalised after the tenure of his government is expected to end. Moreover, we do not quite see the necessity for fresh consultations over the issue as there have been thousands of consultations organised by hundreds of groups that have put forward a number of recommendations since the United Nations declared 1981 as the Year of Disabled Persons. What the interim government could do is review those recommendations towards formulation of a plan of action. Besides, there are a number of actions that may be implemented with immediate effect and that only depend on the mere willingness of the incumbents. According to estimates – here, we have to depend on the figures provided by the UN agencies since there are no surveys on persons with disabilities by the government, about 10 per cent of the population, i.e. some 140 million people, have one disability or the other. However, there is hardly any mechanism to ensure their access to public offices, buildings and transport, education and entertainment, etc. We hardly see any special steps taken to facilitate their participation in the electoral process although adult franchise is one of the most basic of the democratic rights for all citizens. Save a few token institutions and policies on paper, the public system does not effectively accommodate meaningful inclusion of persons with disabilities; such denial of access ranges from the absence of ramps at buildings facilitating access for physically challenged people to the absence of interpreters facilitating communications for persons with speech and hearing impairments. As for immediate steps the government could initiate establishment of rehabilitation centres for persons with disabilities at the upazila level that would them overcome the challenges they face and provide them with means to be integrated with the mainstream population through training, education leading to gainful employments. The incumbents could also decide with immediate effect that all government and public buildings, if not all buildings, must have ramps to facilitate access of wheelchairs, provision of Braille ballot papers along with adequate assistance at all voting centres to ensure meaningful participation of all people. It is the responsibility of the state to ensure that all citizens lead meaningful lives. It is painfully obvious that the well-being of some 14 million have been direly neglected thus far. In doing so, the governments have violated their responsibilities to ensure the universal rights of the people.

Comments Add New
VYRGEL  - HE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!P |2008-07-20 20:06:22
I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW MY RIGHTS. I AM IN A WHEELCHAIR AND I CANNOT USE MY BODY ALL I CAN DO IS TALK AND MY PARENTS ARE TELLING ME THAT IN THE STATE OF TEXAS I CANNOT LIVE ALONE IM A MOTHER OF THREE. IM 37 YEARS OLD. AND I HAVE LIVED ALONE BEFORE BUT NOT IN THE STATE OF TEXAS. I MAKE MY OWN DECISIONS AND I DONT HAVE A GUARDIAN LOVE VYRGEL SOOMON
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