ISLAMABAD: Measures are being taken to ensure the rights of people with disabilities, the minister for human rights said at the second meeting of the national committee constituted to implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) on Tuesday.
Dr Shireen Mazari said at the meeting that her office was committed to ensuring the rights of every citizen in accordance with the Constitution and international commitments.
The meeting was attended by representatives from the federal and provincial governments, Azad Kashmir and GB, as well as departments working on disability and data collection. Participants were briefed on the UNCRPD, as well as the Incheon strategy and the action plan for the strategy’s indicators.
Bill to protect rights of disabled people sent to standing committee
The Incheon strategy provides the Asia-Pacific region and the world with the first set of regionally agreed disability-inclusive development goals.
It was developed after more than two years of consultations with government and civil society stakeholders, and comprises 10 goals, 27 targets and 62 indicators.
Dr Mazari said that further collaboration and coordination is needed with the relevant stakeholders to collect data on people with physical and mental disability. She asked the relevant representatives to share updated survey-based information and data on people with disabilities to prepare policies and an action plan for the protection and promotion of people with physical and mental disability.
Participants were informed that the ministry is preparing a survey-based database and information on people with disabilities.
The committee reviewed the action plan in pursuance with the UNCRPD and Incheon strategy and other international commitments pertaining to disability to seek concurrence with stakeholders in the proposed plan.
The meeting aimed to seek the concurrence of provincial governments with regard to relevant indicators of the Incheon strategy. The implementation status of decisions made at the first meeting was also reviewed.
Committee members examined progress made by the departments of federal special education and provincial special education as well as social welfare in line with the UNCRPD to inform the ministry of existing gaps and measures to be taken.
It was decided that the Ministry of Human Rights would arrange federal-level workshops for the consideration of recommendations of the provincial governments to implement the UNCRPD, the Incheon strategy and other required information.
Provincial governments will also notify similar committees in their respective provinces and appoint focal persons to effectively implement international commitments, the meeting decided, and will consider rights-based legislation where required.
All the relevant departments have been asked to put forward their future courses of action to finalise the action plan.
Representatives from the provinces, AJK and GB also told the committee about measures taken by their respective governments to raise the status of people with disabilities.
The committee was also told that the human rights ministry is collaborating with the Statistics Division to prepare reliable and comparable statistical data on the number of people with disabilities. Provincial representatives have been asked to share updated information in this regard.
It was decided that future committee meetings will be arranged in all the provinces.
Disability rights bill
A government bill for the protection of the rights of people with disabilities has been sent to the relevant National Assembly standing committee for consideration.
The bill binds the government to ensure jobs for people with disabilities at the federal, provincial and district level, as well as full concessions in admission feeds and up to 75pc off in government educational institutions, as well as providing special national identity card services at home.
The government will also ensure free treatment for disabled people in federal, provincial, district headquarters and social security hospitals and dispensaries, and a 60pc concession in private hospitals.
The bill also proposes permanent jobs for contractual employees with disabilities in government offices and zero tolerance towards individuals who misbehave or mishandle people with disabilities.
Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2019