With the International Day for Persons with Disabilities observed worldwide on 3rd December 2017, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) laments that despite the Pakistani government being a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) since 2008, little has been done to promote the rights of persons with disabilities or to ensure their equitable participation in society.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Commission stated that HRCP laments the government's continued lack of interest in implementing its obligations under the CRPD. As a country, therefore, Pakistan remains very far from the purpose of the Convention, "to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity".
The exclusion of persons with disabilities from the recently concluded national census is a glaring example of this." "Further complicating this problem, persons with disabilities often face hostile and derogatory attitudes at the family, community and societal levels.
The recent incidents of school children with disabilities enduring physical assault and torture at the hands of bus conductors, while travelling to their institutes in Lahore and Gujranwala, demonstrate the lack of societal regard generally and any recourse to protection systems for persons with disabilities in the public sphere. Infrastructure in both public and private spheres is not designed to be accessible to those having special needs.
Virtually no specialized education and employment or training opportunities are available to this group of society. Consequently this means that persons with disabilities largely remain disfranchised from society, both in economic and social terms."
"It is imperative that the government takes notice of this neglected segment of society and devises inclusive policies, services and facilities to allow persons with disabilities to contribute fully to society. The government must realize that the greater the attention it pays to the rights and needs of its citizens with disabilities, the more integrated, inclusive and tolerant the nation will become."
Copyright Business Recorder, 2017