NCD Presents Platform to Government

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An age-old advocacy by the National Commission on Disability (NCD), that  Liberian citizens with disabilities have equal rights in all sector of the society (which have been at a standstill by successive governments), is at the verge of getting attention by the CDC-led administration.

   The activism, which has been liquefied due to lack of attention, was re-awakened on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Friday, with the theme, “Accessibility 2020 Theory to Practice: Leadership and Inclusive Participation Post Covid-19 Liberia”.  The NDS theme, “Accessibility 2029 Theory to Practice”, and the IDPD Theme, “Leadership and Participation of PWDs toward an Inclusive, Accessible and Sustainable Post Covid-19 World”.

   The day, which was celebrated with a two-day summit, brought together people with disability from the 15 counties and the 73 political districts of Liberia at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town. The celebration was a tripartite venture: the NCD in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.

   The NCD is a statutory body of the Government of Liberia (GOL), and is responsible for disability-related activities in the country. An Act of Legislature established it in December 2005. Since its formation, fulfillment of their plight has been lingering, and budgetary support has been a minimum amount.

   “Its budget has been between US$25,000 and US$75,000 for time in memorial,” President George M. Weah, said.  “For this budgetary year, my government has increased it to US$500,000,000-plus,” he said with the deep compassion he has for the people, and vowed to address their platform.

   “This country has the increase of people with disability since the civil war.  This cannot continue: we must consciously provide social services you need in the same manner that support your able body counterparts,” President Weah said.  “No one should be left behind or let out. There must be equal access to healthcare and services, education, employment opportunities for all.”

   The disabled are people who are physically challenged, visually impaired, speech impaired, among others. The group was the conglomeration of students, men and women.

   Its Executive Director, Daintowon Domah Pay-Bayee, said for time in memorial the people with disability have been marginalized and placed at the button of the economic ladder.  The observance, she said, was intended to give them the opportunity to raise awareness on issues persons with disability face, and show their talents and potentials to the world that disability is not inability.

   The NCD leadership presented a national roadmap or a framework to the government to work with. It prioritizes work and employment, empowerment, education, healthcare, sports and recreation, and others, in its nine thematic voluminous document presented to government.

   The call for government to empower people with disability is an act of the UNDP National Action Plan on Disability (NAP), which was launched in 2018 and backed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in 2012. It signaled the government’s commitment to equality and inclusion of all persons with disability, regardless of age or sex.  The aggregate data of disability people in Liberia, according to the 2008 National Census, is about 14 percent.

   The American Ambassador, Michael McCarthy, European Union representative, Orange GSM Company representative, others, backed the NCD’s clarion call of fundamental rights recognition. 

  On Saturday, the final day of the summit, the NCD’s Chairperson, Pay-Bayee, presented the document to the Government of Liberia (GOL) through Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection.

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