The National – Tuesday, December 7, 2010
By ALISON ANIS
MANY people with disabilities (PWD) in Papua New Guinea are making significant breakthroughs every year by engaging themselves more and more providing skills and expertise in small scale social and economic activities in the country.
However, their rights have not been fully observed although many were now coming out and striving to be recognised as equal participants of the community.
This was highlighted by various speakers last Friday at the commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities by the disability persons and respective organisations at the PNG Institute of Public Administration (PNGIPA) in the National Capital District.
The speakers cited that although progress had been made much more needed to ensure that PWDs rights were recognised in full and they live full and productive lives.
“There is still no access to appropriate services for the person with disability in PNG although he has the same right as any other able body persons.
“The freedom of movement, the right to learn, to read and write in school for children with disabilities are rarely exercised due to stigma and discrimination from those around,” Ombudsman chief Chronox Manek said and encouraged PWDs to push for their rights.
“We talk of access to this and that and even as able bodied persons we do not claim what is our basic right to punch the air and hold those who are accountable to deliver those basic rights immediately.
“It is not a privilege anymore, it is yours and my right to demand those things,” he said.
“People with disabilities have the same rights as other citizens in the society and those are the rights we are fighting for to make sure that these rights as are observed in full.
“They have not been absorbed in full until now,” American Embassy deputy chief of mission Berg Paul said.
He said there were reasons, sometimes the law was not sufficient to guarantee this rights and because society itself of that fact.
He said the task was to change both and make progressive changes in laws and government programmes and change society’s perception on subject of person’s with disabilities.
More than 100 PWDs celebrated turned up to the theme “Keeping the promise; mainstreaming disability in the Millennium Development Goals towards 2015 and beyond” as well as showcasing their talents.
Display stalls by service providers such as the Cheshire Disability Services, Red Cross
Special Education Resource Centre and St John Blind Services had products such as furniture, clothes, cushions, pillows and others made by a group of speech and hearing impaired people.
Others displayed flow-charts and booklets telling stories on achievements by a PWD in a certain field.
The St John blind services displayed education services which include training vision-impaired persons to utilise their talents in music.