Enforce Non-Discrimination Law Against Persons With Disabilities, NGO urges Enugu Govt

By AdvocateNews on 19/05/2021

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Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi
Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi

A Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), operating under the plartform of Women Information Network (WINET), with headquarters in Enugu, South- East Nigeria, has urged the state government to  enforce the Discrimination against Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) (Prohibition) Act 2018 in the state.

WINET, an organization with bias on Women issues, works towards the dissemination of information to promote gender equality, Women's rights, human and political rights.

The organization made the call in Enugu during a forum to announce  the end of project dissemination on the outcome of it's two year programme on Sexual Reproductive Health And Rights Education for young and Women with disabilities in Enugu state, which ran between 2019- 2021.

According to the NGO, the project christened : 'Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Education and Counseling Services for Young Girls and Women with Disabilities in Enugu State’ was supported by AmplifyChange.

Consultant to WINET, Mr Brian Onwurah, who made a detailed  presentation during the forum which was attended by NGOs, Civil Society groups, the media and  people  with disabilities, PWDs, explained that the project became necessary due to the alarming  plights of PWDs in Enugu state.

He pointed out that such persons had been discriminated against with little or no provisions for them in employment, marriage, entry and exit into public and private buildings and transportations. 

The consultant, however, noted that one area of discrimination concerns violation of their Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), hinting that a report by UNFPA showed that 35 per cent of female adolescent PWDs were sexually active and had been raped.

Onwurah equally disclosed that 43 per cent of the PWDs had either been fondled, caressed and kissed against their wishes, stressing  that 70 per cent of adolescent PWDs did not know where to access reproductive health services.

Against the backdrop of such ugly situation, the organization posited that penalties for violating the sexual and reproductive health and rights of PWDs needed to be clearly stated within the provisions of extant laws.

He added that PWDs needed to be taught how to seek redress and press charges against violators of their rights using the provisions of the law without fear.

WINET, he said, was motivated into the project by the reason that most of the interventions meant for the PWDs had been on palliatives and provision of wheels.

He said "the project began by addressing fundamental issues such as educating the PWDs on SRHR and Sexual Health Rights (SHR) as human rights issues.

Onwurah listed  names of the beneficiaries of the training to include Government Secondary School for the Deaf/Special Education Centre, Ogbette, Enugu and Special Education Centre, Oji River.

Others included Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities comprising National Association of the Deaf, Enugu State Chapter and National Association of Persons with Physical Disabilities comprising Spinal Cord Injuries Association.

The Consultant stated that "Some of the outcomes are increased understanding of SRHR by the PWDs, increase in in-depth knowledge of SRHR by organisation and increase in the level of awareness of the concept of sexual rights by gender.

In her remark, Executive Director of  WINET, Mrs Miriam Menkiti, gave a brief history about the organization, disclosing that the project commenced in February 2019.

The WINET boss explained that the baseline study of the project was to ascertain the level of awareness of sexual reproductive health and rights as human rights by young girls and women with disabilities in the state.

She said her organization is for training of women,  peace building, media advocacy, and dissemination of information on all issues relating to the advancement of women rights in the society.

According to her, "One of the major findings was that majority of the respondents do not have a clear understanding of the concepts of sexual reproductive health and rights."

She revealed that at least 150 women and men of all clusters of Joint National Association of People With Disabilities were trained in the course of the project.

Menkiti disclosed that AmplifyChange also supported in the production of WINET’s five-year strategic plan (2021-2025) and donation of office furniture and accessories.

Speaking on behalf of other PWDs, Mr. Emeka Ude, expressed appreciation to Winet for always fighting their course, urging the organization to keep pushing on their behalf untill the state government does the needful.

Meanwhile, WINET had underscored the need for concerted efforts to be made by government, women’s groups, NGOs, Churches, the media and community members to ensure that women and girls PWDs attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the society.

Posted 19/05/2021 8:28:50 PM

 

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