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GFD Calls For Legal Empowerment

Dec 2, 2009, 2:17 PM | Article By: Nfamara Jawneh

People with disabilities can be seen in almost every major street in the Greater Banjul Area begging, struggling to cross road or endlessly waiting for transport to get to their destinations.

But if the demands of the Gambia Federation of the Disabled (GFD) are well considered the livelihood of this important segment of society will surely be enhanced.

The GFD and partners are set to observe the World Disability Day on Thursday December 3rd on the theme "Making the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) inclusive: Empowerment of persons with disabilities and their communities around the world".

To mark the day, GFD has issued a press release calling on the government to sign and ratify the UN Convention, formulate a Disability Act, and to adopt the recently formulated integrated National Disability Policy to uphold the rights of persons with disabilities in the country.

"There is a desire need for this country to design programmes geared towards achieving the MDGs, while putting disability on the agenda. For disability issues to be addressed holistically there is a need to establish a National Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) strategy that will empower persons with disabilities and their communities," the release stated.

The country's disabled umbrella body which represents over ten thousand persons with disabilities is also calling on the government to do more by putting in place the legal framework as enshrined in the UN Convention to better their conditions.

The federation recognised the provision in Article 31 (1) and 31 (2) of the Gambian constitution which talks about the rights of the disabled and handicapped.

The federation described its members as the poorest and most vulnerable in society who need the support of all well-meaning Gambians and non-Gambians.