The New Dawn (Monrovia)

12 December 2012

Liberia: Physically Challenged People Cry of Exclusion

People living with disabilities here have cried of abandonment at the ongoing national conference on the Vision 2030. Speaking on behalf of people living with disabilities at the conference being held in Gbarna, Bong County, a spokesperson for Youth with Disabilities, who is Deputy Secretary General for Administration for the Federation of Liberian Youth,(FLY) Miss Daintowon D. Pay-bayee, said people with disability ideas should be included in the vision planning process.

She said they are of the conviction that the visioning process should begin with them to change public perceptions. Madam Paybayee indicated that the idea of redefining Liberia's identity to a modern African country should take into consideration the Seal, Flag, the Declaration of Independence and Motto, as well as a national dish and costume.

According to her, people living with disabilities are marginalized in mainstreamed institutions, mainly job sites regardless of their educational status and wealth of experience. She said they are being denied access to education, freedom of expression and reduced to liabilities in society, among others.

Some of the recommendations put forth by members of the physically challenged included call for the visionary to ensure the full enjoyment of basis fundamental Human Rights: Right to quality education, life, quality healthcare, freedom of movement with full accessibilities, freedom of expression and opinions, equal participation, opportunities and treatments, regardless of their plight.

Miss Pay-bayee recommended that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf should make a national statement, reminding Liberians that people with disabilities are citizens and should be treated equally, and that they are assets and not liabilities.

She also called on both private and public educational sectors, including the University of Liberia to ensure the enrollment of physically challenged persons for higher education.

"Enforce the laws that have been enacted and ratified", she added. She said the Vision 2030 document should be legislated to serve as a roadmap to ensuring a better Liberia.

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