Ensure rights of disabled, NHRC tells government

Kathmandu, May 12

A day-two national conference on ‘Human Rights of Persons with Disability' concluded here yesterday by issuing a 26-point Kathmandu Declaration.

The conference organised by the National Human Rights Commission brought together around 200 participants, who discussed wide-ranging issues and problems facing persons with disabilities and suggested ways to address them.

The declaration has urged the federal, provincial and local governments to clearly specify their duty for the protection of persons with disabilities in their laws as per the constitution, Disability Rights Act, Accessible Physical Structures and Communications Service Guideline for Persons with Disabilities and other related legislation.

“The government should ensure such an environment where persons with disabilities will be able to live a self-sufficient and dignified life through their participation in policy-making and development activities without any discrimination. We also call on the government to respect their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights,” the declaration reads.

The conference also stressed the need to provide for a provision of necessary supporting materials, medicines, personal assistance service and rehabilitation programmes on the basis of their disabilities like intellectual disability, autism, brain haemorrhage, psycho-social disability, multi-disability and spinal cord injury, among others. .

“Raising awareness of human rights of persons with disabilities is also equally important. At the same time, the government should ensure that they have access to all information disseminated by the federal, provincial and local governments in universal design. For this, they are supposed to be benefited from Braille script, audio, large printing and sign language,” the declaration says.

The conference expressed serious concern about the protracted delay on the part of the concerned authorities in issuing disability identity cards and drew the government's attention to make them entitled to this facility. It also highlighted the need to launch investigation into the alleged misuse of the identity cards which is exclusively meant for persons with disabilities.

The declaration urged the concerned authorities to transform the existing public vehicles into disabled-friendly design and strongly implement the provision of 50 per cent concession and reserved seats in such transportation. It also demanded that the government issue driving licence to eligible persons with disabilities without discrimination.

Another burning issue raised by the declaration is violence against women and girls with disabilities.“They have been subjected to sexual violence, rape and domestic violence, divorce and social ostracisation. Hence, special initiatives need to be taken to end the violence against them, while developing fast-track system for delivery of justice,” the declaration reads.

The conference also urged the government to ensure their free education as many disabled children are still out of school. “It is also equally necessary to provide the disabled persons with means of daily subsistence, employment and facilities of disabled-friendly maternity room in hospitals,” it says.