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People with disability’s human rights curtailed

Publishing Date : 24 January, 2017

Author : OITSILE KEIPONYE

People living with disabilities face various barriers that hinder full and equal access to their enjoyment of human rights, a representative of Thuso Rehabilitation Center in Maun, Isaiah Moyo, revealed at a human rights conference in Maun last week.



According to Moyo, the conference- Convention on the Rights of People living with Disabilities (CRDP) recognizes the importance of accessibility to the physical, social, economic and cultural environment; to health education and to information and communication, in enabling persons with disabilities to fully enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms.



“Accessibility is an important starting point for any discussion about the human rights of persons with disabilities and no one can enjoy a human right that they cannot access, and persons with disabilities face many barriers that hinder full and equal access to their enjoyment of human rights,” said Moyo.



He explained that the barriers that persons with disabilities encounter can be divided into four categories which are attitudinal barriers, physical barriers, informational and institutional barriers. He said that attitudinal barriers stem from the negative attitude their families or communities give them as well as the lack of understanding with regards to disability issues by society.



Moyo said that some of the identified barriers among persons with disabilities are that the rules are not the same and gender, age and the type of impairment are factors that directly influence level of access. “Accessible environment means creating and maintaining environments in which people can participate in a dignified way, with maximum independence and in an environment that is safe and affordable,” says Moyo.



He said that for a majority of people with disabilities access within or outside the house is limited and in most cases due to lack of access, it is common to find a person with disability spending most of the time on bed or sitting in front of the house. Moyo added that they are unable to have independent access to water or food or toilets and their homes become a virtual prison.



“Investments to rearrange or alter or relocate is rarely considered and this is the same unless and until the person with disability takes an extreme stand and demands for the provisions and only then something happens,” explained Moyo. Moyo added that non-availability of appropriate rehabilitation services in some places further restricts or limits access and affects self esteem of a disabled person. He stated that some of the ways of removal of the barriers to accessibility is to identify and eliminate obstacles and barriers to accessibility by developing and monitoring implementation of minimum accessibility standards and guidelines by providing training on accessibility for stakeholders.



He said that the use of universal design is intended to ensure access by all people, to the greatest extent possible without the need for adaptation or specialized design. “Universal design means products and buildings that are accessible and useable by everyone, including people with disabilities. The goal of the universal design is to create an environment that is accessible to everyone from the design stage forward,” explained Moyo.



Moyo said that it is necessary and appropriate for modifications and adjustments to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities and the link to accessibility runs in several directions. “First, persons who are unable to access certain goods and services via universal design should nonetheless be provided accessibility in other ways like through personal assistance,” said Moyo.

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