Disability Rights: The Need for Safeguard
16 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2012 Last revised: 18 Dec 2012
Date Written: March 14, 2012
Persons with disabilities have since suffered so much violation of their human rights due to various reasons one of which is the tardy response of the Nigerian federal legislature in enacting a Disability law. These most vulnerable groups are currently exposed to frequent abuses from different quarters because of the absence of a specific legal framework to safeguard their human rights. The Nigerian constitution which is the only domestic law guaranteeing its citizens’ fundamental rights is however limited in scope as it does not address disability rights specifically. In recent times, several appeals have been made to the Nigerian federal legislatures (the ‘National Assembly’) on the urgent need to pass the pending Disability Bill into law so as to ensure full integration of persons with disabilities into the society, but all efforts seem to have fallen on deaf ears. Unlike a number of countries of the world who have enacted legislations protecting the rights of the disabled, the contrary is the case in Nigeria. Despite the fact that Nigeria has been a State Party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) since 24th September, 2010, she has still not deemed it fit to enact a law on this very sensitive subject. Instead, this bill has continued to go through unnecessary process of deliberations by the Nigerian federal legislatures.
Similarly, persons with various forms of disabilities which include children, women and adults are relegated to the background and often treated as outcast. They are perceived as “objects” of charity, rather than “subjects” with rights. They suffer discrimination in diverse sectors of the society and are equally excluded from the mainstream of the society.
Likewise, they are exempted from enjoying their invaluable rights and privileges which most of the other members of the society benefit from. This is in no doubt contrary to international and regional human rights instruments which eschews discrimination in all its forms. Sadly, a handful of these disabled persons end up getting involved in street begging and other ridiculous activities owing to frustration. Most of them, especially disabled children and women suffer from psychological trauma and depression as a result of the rejection they encounter. The government is equally guilty, as it exhibits an attitude of indifference towards disabled persons. This entire ordeal is a clear deprivation and encroachment on their fundamental human rights.
Considering the above, this paper will take an in-depth look at the common forms of violations or barriers faced by disabled persons in the society and the grave effect of such violations. Practicable and concrete recommendations that will help safeguard the inherent dignity of these vulnerable groups will then be proffered.
Keywords: Disability rights, international human rights, disabled persons, human rights and persons with disabilities
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