Joy Ability Empowerment (JAE), a local organization has urged the government and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to put much effort into promoting the rights of people with disabilities in order to end the discrimination they face in the country.
JAE Director Benerdetter Vaz made the sentiments during a one-day follow-up workshop where people with disabilities were oriented about their human rights and HIV/AIDS issues held at Liwonde in Machinga district.
Vaz said people with disabilities continue facing various challenges in silence in the country because most of them do not know about their rights and where to report if people violent their rights.
She added that people with disabilities are still sidelined in different ways such as participation in development activities due to their disabilities, hence urging the government and other stakeholders to intensify awareness campaigns to civic educate the public on the rights of people with disabilities.
“People with disabilities are human beings like everybody and have the potential to carry out duties that everyone can do. They can contribute fully to the development of the country if given enough space to showcase their capacity of doing different things that in turn should benefit the nation,” said Vaz.
Vaz, however, advised guardians to send their children with disabilities to school in order to sharpen their future from the grassroots level citing that locking them indoors is a violation of their right to education and that once found doing such a tendency, laws will take its course for them.
According to Vaz, JAE is geared to strengthen awareness campaigns to sensitize the general public on the disadvantages of violating or sidelining people with disabilities in different activities and ensuring that it is inclusive in development participation.
“It is very disadvantage to see that people with disabilities continue facing different challenges in society such as being called bad names, ill-treated, sidelined in development activities, denied access to health services among others which hinder the improvement of our lives,” she added.
Vaz, therefore, encouraged people with disabilities to speak out and report to relevant authorities whenever they feel that their rights have been violented so that they should be assisted accordingly.
Commenting on the matter, law expert on disabilities Rodrick Michongwe said the country has well-aligned laws that protect the rights of people with disabilities but underscored a need to implement the laws so that those who violent the rights of people with disability face the law.
Michongwe said the country is failing to implement its own laws that protect and enhance the rights of people with disabilities a development he said is fueling the discrimination and violation of the rights of people with disabilities in the country.
“The country has more work to do because we are failing to implement our own laws and policies. For example, a lot of places are not accessible to people with disabilities despite that there are laws that say that government and private places should be accessible to people with disabilities. This is total discrimination and violation of rights of people with disabilities because they fail to access services in such places,” said Michongwe.
He added that the main challenges are that people with disabilities are not aware of their rights, hence people take advantage to ill-treat and violent their rights.
According to Michongwe, there is a need for government to play a big role in civic educating the public on the disadvantages of discriminating against people with disabilities, and applying laws where necessary to the perpetrators.
One of the participants Bertha Chelewani from Sayilesi Village in the area of Traditional Authority Sitola in Machinga district applauded JAE for the training saying it has equipped them with knowledge on the rights people with disabilities have in the country.
She said people with disabilities were not recognized in society and their rights were violated, but the training has opened their eyes, and will be able to report to the relevant authority if they face any human rights violation in order to end the vice in their respective areas.