Gambia: 'Rights of Deaf People Continue to Be Seriously Violated'

24 September 2020

Dodou Loum, executive director of Gambia Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (GADHOH) has said that the human rights of people hard of hearing continue to be seriously violated.

Mr. Loum said these violations come in the form of denial of adequate access to opportunities and services which are accessible to other citizens.

E.D. Loum made these remarks on Monday at GADHOH Headquarters as they joined the rest of the world in commemorating International Week of the Deaf.

He highlighted that most deaf people in the country still lack proper access to education, health care, employment opportunities, public information among other services, saying this has been holding them back and prolonging their socio-economic sufferings, and deprivation of what rightfully belongs to them.

"Since government is the number one duty bearer, it has the full responsibility for putting an end to the horrible situation of the deaf community," he stated. He added that they have been waiting for too long to see significant amount of national resources channeled into deaf development programmes but alas no light seen to indicate as they are about to exit the tunnel.

He highlighted that the strategy of replacing verbal communication with sign language in development programmes which include deaf and hard of hearing people is of great importance, saying it is absolutely necessary where education, health care and information are concerned.

"The failure of duty bearers to utilize sign language is what pushed deaf people to society's margin, characterising them as unskilled labourers, illiterates, people who naturally could not be educated, be adequately informed, people who could not contribute socioeconomically no matter what resources are spent on their development," he noted.

According to him, duty bearers' failure to provide opportunities for them is a gross violation of their human rights.

He said they are Gambian citizens and pay taxes like any Gambian and should therefore not be denied opportunities to contribute to national development.

Meanwhile, GADHOH is a national NGO set up and run by deaf and hard of hearing people in The Gambia that seeks to improve the lives of deaf and hard of hearing people in The Gambia.

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