A five-year National Action Plan (NAP) on Disabilities has been launched in Liberia.
The NAP, among other things, requires that “all laws or sections of laws discriminating against persons with disabilities be abolished; that the teaching of sign language be made a required course in all Liberian schools from elementary to college levels and that social security and welfare be provided as financial assistance to persons with disabilities among others.
The launch of the National Action Plan on Disabilities coincided with the celebration of this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) held under the theme: “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”.
With support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the National Commission on Disabilities (NCD) celebrated the day in Liberia under the National theme: “Creating a Level Plain Field for Empowerment of PWDs” and was held at the Lutheran Conference Center in Sinkor on Monday, December 03, 2018.
UNDP Governance and Public Institutions Pillar’s Programme Associate, Boye Johnson said the Plan with six indicators, seeks to address issues confronting persons living with disabilities in Liberia.
Mr. Johnson named public accessibility; inclusive education; employment and livelihoods; affordable and accessible healthcare; independent living and self-determination and access to justice among others as the key indicators in the NAP.
He pledged UNDP continuous support to the National Commission on Disabilities (NCD) and other institutions working for the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities in Liberia.
Serving as guest speaker at this year’s IDPD celebration, the acting Chairman of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) Rev. Bartholomew B. Colley said every state and non-state actor must ensure that disability issues are mainstreamed as integral parts of their development packages including the recently launched Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
Mr. Colley said persons with disabilities should not, ‘in any way, be discriminated against’ despite their conditions in the society.
The acting Chairman of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights said as the world gears up for the 70th celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it was always good to be reminded about the basic principles of which, among other things, include universal and inalienability; interdependent and indivisibility; equality and non-discriminatory.
“I am convinced that with these principles, there can be no actor, whether state or non-state actor that would want to act and leave you behind, because these principles will be violated,” Rev. Colley said.
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) was set aside since 1992 by the United Nations and has been annually observed globally.
The National Action Plan (NAP) also calls for the transformation of the Division of Special and Inclusive Education at the Ministry of Education into a bureau with an Assistant Minister and three directors in line with Section 6 of the National Commission on Disabilities (NCD) Act of 2005.
The plan recognizes that disability is an issue impacting all aspects of the Liberian society, and the Government of Liberia values all its citizens, and should be committed to promoting inclusion of persons with disabilities in public service and private enterprise.
Empowering of persons with disabilities for the inclusive, equitable and sustainable development are envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.