ENIL Griefs with Sagamihara’s Community

 

ENIL Griefs with Sagamihara’s Community

Today, 26th August, Peter Lambreghts (ENIL Senior Officer to whom we said last goodbye yesterday) was going to pay his respect to the victims in Japan, one month after the attack of a man who killed 19 disabled people living in a care centre in Sagamihara – a small town near Tokyo. At least 25 more disabled residents of the care centre were injured. This attack once again brought forward the violations of human rights on disabled people, many of whom live with the threat of abuse and even murder.

ENIL with Peter Lambreghts as one of our lead activists has been continuously promoting the closure of all institutions – now and not later! Disabled people placed in institutions are often deprived of their legal capacity and of their right of choice and control over their own lives. Cases of abuse and neglect happen now and again in institutions in Europe and worldwide. The majority of these cases are not reported, since disabled people are often not aware of their rights and have no access to justice. Usually these cases become forgotten… too quickly. But not by us!

Disabled people have the right to receive support to be able to fully participate in and contribute to society. That can only happen if governments develop and invest in community-based services and promote independent living. An inclusive society is a better society not only for disabled persons but for everyone.

ENIL, in the memory of the Japanese victims and the memory of Peter, reminds once again governments in Europe and world-wide that institutions and care centres where disabled people are placed – often against their will – are in violation of human rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Article 19 of the UN CRPD recognizes the equal right of all disabled people to live independently and be included in the community.

Our thoughts are still with the victims of the attack, the ones injured and traumatised, and their families. May all rest in peace and may the governments react faster and stronger showing their commitment to making this world a place where human rights are guaranteed.

European Network on Independent Living – ENIL

An able beach for disabled

Roxy Gagdekar
Tithal beach, Valsad.

Tithal beach, Valsad.

Tithal beach in Valsad district of Gujarat will become India’s first disabled-friendly beach. Preparations are on to open the 1 km stretch of the beach by June, which will have open access right up to the waters with disabled-friendly food courts, washrooms and entertainment area. Tenders were recently floated for the project that will include construction of slopes with no barriers or steps and installation of detailed signage so that the disabled can reach the water without any assistance. Construction on the 3- km long beach will be made in two phases.

In the first phase a kilometer long stretch will be converted for the handicapped while the 2-km second phase will be taken up later. The project will be another first under the Gujarat model of development. Talking to Mirror, Valsad collector Vikrant Pandey said this is the first-ever effort by the state government for a disabled friendly beach. “It will be first of its kind beach in India,” he claimed. The beach is currently a famous tourist spot with thousands of visitors every week. However, the disabled people are not able to use it at present.

The government will spend Rs5 crore in the first phase. “We will have ramps and railings from the parking area to the water,” Pandey said. He also said the construction has been planned after taking inputs from disabled people. The bathrooms and changing rooms will be accessible via wheelchairs and the food counters will be lower in height to serve the disabled. “The disabled visiting the beach will not feel discriminated in any way,” he said. The idea for the project was derived from central government’s Accessible India campaign.

Pandey had recently organised a mega camp for the specially challenged in Valsad under the slogan “Aao Milkar Saath Chale (United we walk)”. The camp was organised last month to give a single window solution to the problems of specially challenged people of the district. About 60 of them secured employment in various corporate firms. Talking about the state government’s initiative of constructing disabled-friendly beach, Chairperson of West Asia International Council for Education of Children with Visual Impairment Bhushan Punani said this is a welcome move by the state government. “I believe this is the first step towards making India accessible to all. Our students at Blind People’s Association go for beach picnics while on tour.

However, the physically challenged only sit at a distance while seeing others having fun. Hopefully, this will change and the initiative will prove particularly beneficial to people of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Nafisa Barot, executive director, Utthan congratulated the state government but raised an apprehension saying “hope that the planners are planning this beach in consultation with disabled people, who are eventually going to use it”. She commented, “I am glad to see sensitivity for disabled people in the government, but it should not be limited to tokenism. The construction should be such that the disabled can really make the most out of it.” Nirmal Kumar, founder of G-Auto, said the move will inspire confidence into the disabled to plan visits to such places.

Latest Comment

Yes. The Disabled too Need Access to Such Places. Good Initiative.Vishnu Swaroop Kyanam

Talking to Mirror, Alkesh Rathod, a disabled youth, said he and his friends plan vacation every year but he always refuses to go to a beach as it becomes arduous for him to negotiate his wheelchair in the sand. “However, I will be among the first to visit this beach once it’s ready,” he said. Chandni Vasudev, a disabled girl, commented till now she has always avoided public places like beaches. However, she would be thrilled to visit Tithal beach once it’s ready.

WHAT IS AN ACCESSIBLE BEACH?

Services and environment at the accessible beach suit the people with disabilities and create no discrimination. The beach is designed in such a way that a person with disability can access it without any assistance. The disabled have access to all the facilities that normal people use. 10 most wheelchair-accessible beaches
» California, USA » Virginia, USA » A-One Pattaya Beach Resort, Thailand » Sirens Resort, Loutraki, Greece » Freedom Shores, Isla Aguada, Mexico » Hanauma Bay, Honolulu » Cancun, Mexico » Key Largo, FL, USA » Manly Beach, Australia » Tuscany, Italy

Ahmedabad Mirror

`EAC has 18 million disabled people`

There are about 18 million people with disabilities in the East African Community, President Uhuru Kenyatta has told a conference in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.

In a speech read on his behalf by Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi over the weekend, the president said that such persons are largely to be found among the poorest strata in society.

“It is estimated that on average, less than 2 per cent of persons with disability in Africa enjoy primary school education and that there are no real opportunities for rehabilitation.”

As a consequence, the president said, people with disabilities are invariably marginalized and excluded from both the formal and informal job markets. At the same time, he added, women with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to gender based violence.

President Kenyatta further said that the EAC had placed the issue of empowering persons with disabilities high on the integration agenda.

“This conference underpins the critical role that partner states and governments must play in providing leadership through the establishment at national levels of enabling environments to allow for people with disabilities to contribute as effective and full participating members of societies.”

In his own speech, Kambi told the two-day conference that Kenya was among nations that had ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

“A wide range of legislative harmonization, policy frameworks, intervention programmes and social processes have been and continue to be put in place to ensure that persons with disability receive appropriate health care, educational and rehabilitative services within environments that best suit them.”

The Second EAC Conference on Persons with Disabilities was also addressed by Kenya’s Principal Secretary for East African Affairs, Mwanamaka Mabruki, who said that the global post-2015 partnership will be based on shared responsibilities that include guaranteeing the rights of persons with disabilities to benefit from economic and social development and participate fully in it.

“Upholding the rights of persons with disabilities must be seen as a priority for national and regional policies and should aim at guaranteeing equal access to social services and to job markets for all, Mabruki said.

The overall objective of the conference is to ensure that the disability concerns are mainstreamed in laws and policies at both the regional and national levels.

The theme of the conference is, “Empowerment: The disability concern in the EAC regional integration agenda.” Participants are drawn from politicians, academicians and civil society, among others, from all the partner states.

Specifically, the conference aims to review the existing national employment policies on how they cater for empowerment of disabled persons; assess how far the partner states have gone with the implementation of the UN Convention of the rights of persons with disabilities; and assess how the partner states have attained the Millennium Development Goals in relation to people with disability and participation in the post-2015 agenda.

The meeting will further explore opportunities for ensuring accessibility for and inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of development and giving due consideration to all persons with disabilities in the emerging post-2015 United Nations development agenda.

In addition, the meeting will be expected to assess the adoption of rights for people with disabilities as indicated in Agenda 2063 by the partner states; devise means on how people with disability can be empowered in relation to Agenda 2063; and assess the extent to which the disability concern has been mainstreamed in policies, strategies and practice at national and regional levels.

The EAC policy on persons with disability is based on the provisions of Article 120 (c) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community, under which the partner states undertook to closely co-operate among themselves in the field of social welfare.

This is with respect to, among others, the development and adoption of a common approach towards disadvantaged and marginalized groups, including children, the youth, the elderly, and persons with disabilities through rehabilitation and provision of, among others, foster homes, healthcare, education and training.

SOURCE: GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY