People with disabilities express their needs to Nepal’s decision makers

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    In Nepal, people with disabilities often feel excluded from many areas of daily life. Accessing government services is one area in which they feel limited and their rights overlooked.

    They have been hearing about the special facilities to be provided to disabled persons in public facilities like transportation, education, health, etc. from long time back, but unfortunately, neither are they provided with such facilities nor treated with dignity. Due to disable-unfriendly government offices, they are even unable to visit the CDO to lodge complaints.

    But given the opportunity, people with disabilities play a vital role in telling decision-makers what they need and how to provide it.  During a face-to-face meeting in Janakpur between people with disabilities and lawmakers, this often overlooked group of people were able to voice their opinions on a recently-tabled Disability Bill.

    Talking in the programme, Satrughan Lal Karna, Chairperson of Disable Society demanded that the proposed bill be revisited in view of the accountability framework for effective implementation. “The bill lacks clear provisions on punishment and departmental action to the public officials if they do not effectively implement the provision,” he said.

    The new Bill proposes a comprehensive definition of disability, different categories of disability, provision of identity card, record management, and rights of persons with disabilities, including access to education, health, employment, social security, rehabilitation of persons with disabilities. The bill also introduces the provision to allow special privileges and facilities on access to credit facilities for entrepreneurship, discount on public transportation, exemption from taxes and excise duty on the material that are useful for health, employment and education for people with disabilities. The Bill has been tabled in the parliament in order to consolidate the existing legal provision and introduce new ones to better protect and promote human rights of persons with disabilities.

    “There are practical difficulties in issuing the disability card for different categories of persons with disabilities,” said Om Kumara Sanjen, from the Women and Children Office in Rautahat. “The Ministry should provide easy guidance to us in this regard, so that the disabled people get special privileges.”

    Courtesy: UNDP in Nepal