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Gambia observes World Disability Day

Dec 4, 2015, 10:23 AM | Article By: Lamin Darboe

The Gambia Federation of the Disabled on Thursday observed World Disability Day at the GOVI Resource Centre in Kanifing.

The theme for the celebration is ‘Inclusion, access and empowerment for people of all abilities’.

Vivian Huijgen, the Gambia focal point at the West Africa regional office of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights in Dakar, Senegal, commended GFD for “their continuous efforts towards the advancement of human rights of persons with disabilities living in The Gambia”.

She said this is why they are proud to support the federation in the organisation of the symposium to commemorate the international day.

Ms Huijgen said the commemoration of the World Disability Day aims to promote better understanding of disability issues.

The commemoration also seeks to increase awareness on the importance of integrating persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

According to statistics, an estimated one billion persons are living with disabilities and in their everyday life, they face many barriers to inclusion in many key aspects of the society.

“As a result, persons with disabilities are impeded equal access to the society which includes areas of transport, employment, education as well as social and political participation,” Ms Huijgen said.

She quoted the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon as saying building a sustainable inclusive world requires the full engagement of people of all abilities.

Huijgen applauded The Gambia government for the important step taken early this year, to increase protection of the rights of persons living with disabilities.

In June 2015, The Gambia acceded to the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its optional protocol.The convention celebrates human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons with disabilities.

The chairperson of GFD, Isatou Sanyang, said the disabled have the rights to education, employment and communication.

She applauded The Gambia government through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare for its tireless support to the GFD.

Sanyang also hailed the Ministry of Justice, Gambia Bureau of Statistics and Gamworks for their support to the federation.