The Government of Liberia has finally ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of people with disability. This convention, which was ratified three years ago by the National Legislature and subsequently signed into law by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was finally deposited at the UN Headquarters in New York on July 26 of this year.
The Executive Director of the National Commission On Disabilities (NCD), Mrs. Ricardia Badio Dennis, has described government's efforts in this regards as great, adding that it is a beginning of freedom for people with disabilities and those without disabilities.
Mrs. Dennis: "I am so happy, and relieved that finally the convention has been deposited. It is great that this document was deposited on the 26th day of July, a day commemorating our freedom. This is the beginning of our freedom as people with disabilities, and for those without disabilities. This long-fight for legal instrument requires the government and people of Liberia to recognize people with disabilities by promoting and respecting their rights, by providing equal educational opportunities, equal job opportunities, equal access to health care, and justice. It means that people with disabilities will finally be afforded optimal access to their basic human rights."
Mrs. Dennis said, NCD along with the National Union of Organizations of the Disable (NOUD), AIFO, the Liberia Handicap International (LHI), the Carter Center, sight Savers International as well as the Ministry of Education, Special Education Division and the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) Human Rights and Protection section have all commended the government of Liberia for the deposition of the Convention, the final lapse of the process.
"A new day has broken for persons with disabilities in Liberia. Now our dream is finally realized, after a long-fought battle to get the document deposited. It is a new day because people with disabilities can finally hold our government accountable for the full implementation of the convention," stated Rev. Fallah Boima, President of NUOD.
Rev. Boima furthered said that Liberia has finally joined the nations that want to stand up and be counted by fully supporting the full rights of people with disabilities.
Mrs. Dennis challenged people with disabilities who have in the past been denied their rights to explore their potential in the best possible way so as to contribute to the development of the nation.
"We can finally tap up into the hidden talents and explore the potential of those who have been denied basic human rights for so long! People with disabilities have so much to contribute to our nation. It is about time that we remove the barriers and create the opportunities so that we can all benefits as a nation."
According to her, the document will help Liberia to become a member of the special committee on rights of persons with disabilities at the United Nations.
"In the area of health, the commission, NOUD and their partners called for the vigorous implementation of an inclusive rehabilitation policy. This includes implementing the strategies outlined in the second phase of the poverty reduction strategy (PRS) II, that requires making available services and items as part of essential health and social welfare services like white canes, prosthesis, hearings aids, wheelchairs, crutches etc." the NCD Boss asserted.