Info minister: Disability Bill to be enacted by December

Friday, August 02, 2019

The minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure, Ebrima Sillah, has said that The Gambia government is working with relevant stakeholders to ensure the Disability Rights Bill which has been lying down for over a decade is enacted by the National Assembly before the year’s end.

Mr. Sillah who was deputising for President Adama Barrow at the National Stakeholder’s Forum on Disability Rights Bill also assured The Gambia Federation of the Disable of government’s deepest commitment to working with and supporting all endeavours geared towards uplifting the status of persons with disabilities in the country.

He further assured them of government’s commitment to providing an enabling environment that will provide the rights of persons with disabilities; their rights to finances, public employment as well as access to land and property in this country.

He stated that his ministry last week signed an agreement with the National Institute for Persons with Disabilities of Egypt to train annually up to 15 people from The Gambia Federation of the Disable on excessive technology.

According to him, they want to make sure that the legislative framework is strengthened and also conducive enough for persons with disabilities to explore their opportunities as well as ensure their physical challenge status does not hinder their talents.

“As a government we want to provide opportunities based on equal abilities and ensure that programmes we put out there are for everyone to benefit,” he also said.

He thanked Article 19 and the European Union for organising the forum.

The specific objective of the forum was to advocate for the enactment of the Disability Rights Bill by engaging the government and lawmakers on the need for the pending Disability Rights Bill to be enacted and to discuss obstacles hindering same.

It will also raise awareness on persons with disabilities’ participation in decision-making processes in order for them to live independently and be better included in the community and to exercise their rights on an equal basis with others.

The forum also seeks to advocate for the review of national policies and legislation to eliminate or amend those that could entrench discrimination and deny persons with disabilities from participating in social, economic and political spheres and to further engage persons with disabilities and their organisations in the process of revision where possible.

It is expected that persons with Disabilities will be better informed of their rights and understand what those rights and responsibilities involve on a personal level; that persons with Disabilities have a greater appreciation of the Disability Rights Bill.

It also seeks to commit government to make public and fast track the enactment of the Disability Rights Bill; that persons with Disabilities are assured of inclusion in the new dispensation; and that all participants at the forum are aware of the daily challenges faced by persons with disabilities in The Gambia.

Author: By Kaddy Cham & Fatou Bojang