Vanguard News Nigeria

Persons with disabilities seek equal treatment, inclusion in policy making

By Funmi Olasupo

Inadequate focus on disability issues and its attendant consequences have continued to remain a major challenge that threatens human existence and attainment of meaningful development.

This undoubtedly has led to the renewed efforts globally to draw attention of everyone towards attending to matters affecting Persons With Disabilities, PWD, most especially through the United Nations Declarations, Treaties, Instruments, Conventions and their Optional Protocols.

The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development Hajia Zainab Maina, stated at this year’s occasion of the celebration of International Day of Persons With Disabilities, PWD, in Abuja, that, observance of the day seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the interaction of PWD in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

The theme for this year’s commemoration which is “ Sustainable Development , The Promise of Technology”, the Minister said is timely, as it marks the conclusion of the period of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the beginning of the 2015 Launching of the new Development Framework of Sustainable Development Goals. (SDGs).

The Signing and Ratification of one of such Conventions and its Optional Protocol, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) by Nigeria in 2007 and 2010 respectively, should have gone a long way to confirm the country’s commitment towards the development, care and welfare of PWD in Nigeria.

Building on the success recorded from the Decade, the United Nations General Assembly came up through Resolution 47/93 of October 14th 1992 and proclaimed December 3rd of every year as International Day of PWD. This was with the primary motive of awakening the consciousness of all Member States towards encouraging and promoting activities that will ensure integrating into the mainstream of the society and empowerment of PWD.

However, drawing from the UNCRPD purpose, General Principles and Obligation and  its other Articles, the theme for this year’s celebration was chosen to be ”Sustainable  Development: The Promise of Technology”.

This year’s theme was said to have been arrived at on realization of the fact that throughout human history, technology has always impacted on the way people live which the industrial revolution ushered in a new age of technology that raises the standards of living around the world and their access to goods and services.

Today, technology is built into every facet of daily living while the emergence of information and communication technologies have dramatically increased connectivity between people and their access to information and further raised their standards of living.

Unfortunately, in spite of the glorious picture painted and the beauty of technology, not all people benefit from the advances of technology and the attendant higher standard of living. This is mainly because not everyone has access to the new technologies and basically, not everybody can afford them.

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