15 September 2012

Rwanda: Employers Disregarding Employment Policy-PLWDs

Despite the enactment of an employment policy to enable Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWD) to easily access jobs in both public and private sectors, this has not been the case, according to the National Union of Disabilities. The body now wants the government to design a new policy to push for employment of PLWDs.

The Executive Secretary of organisation, Jean Damascene Nsengiyumwa, said there was need for parliament to amend the policy to ensure that organisations are compelled to reserve some employment quotas for PLWDs.

"Since time immemorial, PWDs have been discriminated against in society and employing a PLWD is close to impossible in both private and public institutions. This is because in most cases, employing them comes at extra costs like facilities that suit them," Nsengiyumwa told The Sunday Times.

He pledged that his society would continue advocating for a society where all people enjoy equal rights.

"There is discrimination in society in all spheres like education, social protection and employment. There is dire need for advocacy at all levels and to build capacity," he continued.

Nsengiyumwa cited the case of over 600 PWDs who underwent vocational skills training sponsored by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) but most of them were yet to get capital to start their own initiatives.

Member of Parliament, Pierre Claver Rwaka, said the existing law clearly states that both government and private organisations ought to employ a particular number of PLWDs. However, few or none abide by this law.

"We already have a law in place on employment, but I think there is need to enforce it. It has not also been fully implemented although there is government commitment to do so," Rwaka said in a phone interview.

He, however, admitted that while there is a law that requires buildings to be easily accessible to PLWD, it was difficult to put it into effect among already existing buildings but mentioned that owners of all newly constructed buildings had been ordered to ensure that they are accessible to all.

"There is a committee in the Ministry of Infrastructure that monitors all buildings under construction to make sure they have access for PLWDs," he said.

Nsengiyumwa further requested that the Ministry of Education monitor the dropout rate of children with disabilities that is seemingly on the rise.

"Teachers need to be sensitised on how to handle children with disabilities if they are to stay in school," Nsengiyumwa explained.

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