The National Disability Congress (NDC) has presented a position paper on the status of persons with disabilities in Sierra Leone to President Ernest Bai Koroma.
The position paper contained a wide range of issues spanning from marginalization, discrimination to humiliation faced by people with disabilities.
“It is no hidden secret that thousands of people are suffering from various forms of marginalization, discrimination, humiliation, and a host of other vices as a result of their disability status. Regardless of the above ugly reality, we were all created in the image and likeness of God and thus, we are all equal in the sight of God,” the position paper dated Monday 6th December 2010 reads.
NDC also expressed concerns over the conspicuous failure of a good number of development agencies to include persons with disabilities in their development interventions.
President Ernest Bai Koroma
The paper noted that thousands of disable persons continue to roam the streets of bigger towns and cities to either beg or do odd jobs for their survival. “The situation is even worse for the disabled women, youth and children who are being abused, exploited and harassed on a daily basis,” the paper states.
The NDC believes that the issue of disability requires political attention and intervention. “The government has to address the wider issues of promoting justice for everyone, tackling discrimination and upholding rights by considering committed and competent persons with disabilities to be included in cabinet and all other strategic governmental policy making sectors,” the NDC position paper states.
The NDC highlighted that persons with disabilities remain severely under-represented in political and decision-making positions; disabled hold only 0.01% of parliamentary seats, and; the current representation of disable persons in cabinet is at 0.0%.
Alongside the position paper was a proposal for ‘rapid results initiative response programme’ and the NDC is eagerly awaiting answers.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.