Differently-abled demand seats in Constituent Assembly

Kathmandu, October 4:

People with disabilities today demanded their representation in the constituent assembly (CA) and also urged the government to sign and ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

They raised this demand at the fourth South Asian Regional Conference on Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) that began here today.

National and international experts called for the social and political justice to the differently-abled persons and protection of their rights.

Speaker Subas Nembang stressed on the need of inclusion of the differently-abled at every level of the social and political system at the decision-making level to construct a new Nepal. “If these people are not brought into the mainstream, the dream of constructing a better and prosperous nation will be baseless,” he said.

Birendra Raj Pokharel, president of the National Federation of the Disabled-Nepal (NFDN), said that the inclusion of the disabled in the CA shoud be made legally binding than merely a moral obligation.

On December 13, 2006, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities was adopted and has been open for signing and ratification from March 30, 2007 with more than 100 nations already signing it, but Nepal is yet to sign.

“The sluggishness of the government to sign the convention signifies its insensitiveness towards the issues of the differently-abled,” Pokharel said, adding that the government should not delay in signing the convention.

The construct of the society is moving to right-based approaches to the differently-abled than the charity-based approaches, said Punya Prasad Neupane, secretary of the Ministry of Women Children and Social Welfare (MWCSW).

He added that the government will soon sign the UN convention and form comprehensive national policies for the differently-able people to ensure their rights, social justice and empowerment.