PRESS RELEASE- Tabling of Persons With Disabilities Bill
Tabling of the draft Persons with Disabilities Bill 2020, a step in the right direction.
The Gambia Federation of the Disabled and ARTICLE 19 welcome the finalisation and tabling of the draft Persons with Disabilities Bill 2020.
On 18th day of June 2020, a draft Persons with Disabilities Bill was tabled before the National Assembly for a second reading. The long-awaited Bill went through a first reading on the 5th and 8th February 2020 respectively.
Pursuant to Clause 67(2) of the standing orders of the National Assembly of The Gambia, the Honourable Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare Fatou Kinteh, presented the said Bill for a second reading. She moved the motion which was seconded by Hon Ndey Yassin Secka, a National Assembly member.
The draft Persons with Disabilities Bill seeks to ensure the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in all spheres of public life and create an enabling environment for persons with disabilities. It further promotes equal recognition before the law and legal protections that guarantee the rights of persons with disability which are fundamental for equal access to justice for all.
National development programmes should prioritise the rights of persons with disabilities. In particular, concrete actions must be taken to ensure that their situations are reflected in policymaking in order to build just and inclusive society. “The existence of such a Bill is not a privilege, it is our right…” says Hon Secka who has advocated for the Bill at the National Assembly for many years.
“The rights of minorities, specifically the disabled have been side-lined with little or no consideration given to their rights and basic needs over the years. The change of government in the Gambia in 2016 created hopes for strengthening laws, policies and institutional mechanisms to ensure that democracy, rule of law and human rights of all persons including the disabled are upheld at all levels of government and by all institutions and the general public”, says Bintou Jaiteh, Legal and Policy Assistant of ARTICLE 19
The Gambia Federation of the Disabled (GFD) is the umbrella body of various disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) in The Gambia. It was established in the year 1990.The Federation was formed to address the plight of the disabled amongst which is the need to have a Law that caters for the rights and needs of persons with disabilities.
Members of the Gambia Federation of the Disabled from various Disabled People’s Organizations from the regions, were present at the tabling of the Persons with Disability Bill on Thursday and welcomed the move by the Minister for Women Children and Social Welfare. Also present was the relevant stakeholders namely, The Disability Unit of the Department of Social Welfare under the Ministry of Women, Children & Social Welfare.
“To persons with Disabilities, this bill is the most important legislation in the country since same deals with the inherent rights of the most vulnerable” says Magistrate Muhammed Krubally, The Chairman of the GFD.
The Gambia Federation of the Disabled and ARTICLE 19 call on the National Assembly members to support this Bill and enact it without delay.
Background: ARTICLE 19 in collaboration with The Gambia Federation of the Disabled is currently implementing a two-year EU funded project. One of the objectives of the project is “Supporting the enactment and operationalisation of the draft Disability Rights Bill”. The advocacy work of the GFD supported by ARTICLE 19 on the Persons with Disabilities Bill is part of a project “Strengthening HR standards, support to parliamentary select committee on Human Rights, Gambia Federation of disabled people and association of torture victims during transition”. It is implemented in partnership with GFD, the National Assembly, The Gambia Center for Victims of human rights violations, and the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa.
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