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Mar 3, 2016

Disability rights activists meet with Human Rights Commission Officials

National leaders of the disability rights movement met the board of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and urged to pay their due attention to the various issues, challenges and problem faced by people with disabilities related to their human rights in a program organized today at the NHRC's office, Lalitpur by National Federation of the Disabled, Nepal along with its member organizations. During the course, Mr. Shudarson Subedi, the president of the National Federation of the Disabled Nepal handed over a five points memorandum to the Chairman of NHRC.

Submitting the memorandum Mr. Subedi highlighted the need of disability inclusive human rights education throughout the country. He further added - "The NHRC should conduct massive human rights addressing the special issues of persons with disabilities and rights ensured by CRPD. It should address the cases of human rights violation on the basis of disability and present in its annual report separately with segregated data."

NFDN president Mr. Shudarson Subedi reading out the demand letter to be presented to NHRCPicture Caption: NFDN president Mr. Shudarson Subedi reading out the demand letter to be presented to NHRC

The program saw the participation around 15 activists representing seven different types of disability and also respective thematic disability organizations. The participants shared about the issues of their specific disability category.

Mr. Munkunda Hari Dahal, president of Parents' Federation of the Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (PFPID) highlighted that persons with intellectual disability are among the most marginalized group within the disability community itself. Mr. Dahal emphasized that- their children, those with developmental disabilities lack access to the most basic needs like education and health. He added that the because of irresponsibility of state towards the intellectual disabled people- the family members are pressured to conceal about the member of the family with disabilities. He ended his remarks by highlighting that the human rights of parents of intellectually disabled persons should also be acknowledged.

Mr. Maheshwor Ghimire, general secretary of Disabled Human Rights Center, Nepal shared about violence against persons with disabilities and how these issues are never brought into the light and is often settled locally at home and community. He added that this practice has encouraged the perpetrators and increased in number of incidents.

Mr. Matrika Devkota, president of Koshis Nepal (representing psychosocial disabilities) reveled that even today, many persons with mental illness and psychosocial disabilities are put in cages every day at home. He advised that NHRC should advocate for suicide prevention programs because suicide is leading cause of death of women between 19 to 40 years old in Nepal.

Ms. Meena Poudel, general secretary of the Nepal Disabled Women Association (NDWA) also emphasized that voice against disabled women often goes unpunished because of local settlements. She asked NHRC to play a major part in providing fast track justice system in case of these violence against disabled women because in many cases, longer the case goes along- the probability of getting justice lowers.

Meena Poudel, general secretary of Nepal disabled women association (NDWA) giving her remarks.Picture Caption: Meena Poudel, general secretary of Nepal disabled women association (NDWA) giving her remarks.

Mr. Ram Kushal Pant, president of National Deaf Federation Nepal emphasized on the challenges of communication for persons with deaf and hard of hearing people and demanded that NHRC should play an important role in supplying services and opportunities to people with disabilities, not in charity approach, instead on a rights based approach.

Mr. Kaladhar Bhandari, president of Blind Youth Association Nepal, shared that even if a young individual with disabilities is selected in a government job, they are not welcomed in their positions.

Mr. Rabin Kumar Mainali, Vice President of Nepal Stutters Association, told about the troubles faced by people have unapparent disabilities. He shared that people like him are regarded as physically fit and not provided with services and facilities as a handicapped individual. This has affected many persons like him.

Mr. Madan Maharjan, parent of deaf-blind child asked NHRC to help enforce the decision of the Supreme Court to provide Rs. 5000 to Rs. 8000 monthly to totally disabled persons.
Representatives from Nepal Leprosy Relief Association shared the discrimination faced by them while trying to access basic services like health and education.

Mr. Nar Bahadur Limbu, Executive Advisor of National Association of the Blind emphasized on the need of braille books in all levels of education and asked NHRC to direct the education department to provide the same. He also asked NHRC to take a lead on revising various laws that are discriminatory to people with disabilities. He shared the fact that disability is a diverse subject and necessities are different among different kinds of disability. He ended his remarks by highlighting the importance of one dedicated authority or government agency to address the disability issues in the right way.

The participants also complained that several decisions made by the High Court in regards to disability have not been put through yet and requested NHRC to pressurize the government to enforce those decisions.

The demand letter signed by Mr. Shudarson Subedi said - "In the present setting, where Nepal has already signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and also given a commitment to implement Incheon Strategy, NHRC should play a critical part in advancing issues of economic, societal and cultural rights of individuals with impairments. We are submitting this letter to bring following issues to your organization:

1. NHRC should start targeting Human Rights Education program to increase awareness about Human Rights among persons with disabilities.
2. NHRC should implement an annual special program to elevate human rights of individuals with impairments.
3. NHRC should pressurize the government to implement all the decisions issued by the High Court.
4. NHRC should prepare a special study report on the human rights situation of persons with disabilities and provide according recommendation to Nepal Government to make it responsible towards disability issues.
5. NHRC should also utilize the capabilities of persons with disabilities in its various research and studies programs."

NFDN President Mr. Shudarson subedi handing over demand letter to NHRC president on behalf of disability communtiyPicture Caption: NFDN President Mr. Shudarson subedi handing over demand letter to NHRC president on behalf of disability community

Later on the hearing remarks, recommendation and complaints of disability rights activist, president of NHRC- Hon. Anup Raj Sharma (Former. Chief Justice) presented commitment of NHRC to support disability rights movement and take these issues forward. He told that disability component will be gradually added in all of NHRC programs in the upcoming days. He thanked NFDN for organizing this program and getting these issues in NHRC concerns. He ended the program by asking participants to keep leading disability rights movement and committed that NHRC will always be behind that movement as a strongly supported and pushing the movement forward whenever that will be necessary.


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