NEWS

Varying views by parties on persons with disabilities

Fiji will pursue programmes to empower persons living with disabilities. The 2013 Constitution incorporates their rights and interests, as well as promotes inclusivity and equality for person living with disabilities
31 Aug 2014 07:23
Varying views by parties on persons with disabilities
From left: Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and the late Tongan Prime Minister, ‘Akilisi Pohiva, at the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Tuvalu last month.

Fiji will pursue programmes to empower persons living with disabilities.

The 2013 Constitution incorporates their rights and interests, as well as promotes inclusivity and equality for person living with disabilities in Fiji.

Here is an overview of what the political parties would be doing to ease the lives of people living with disabilities.

NFP

The party supports the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and would mainstream disability in the development agenda. This is a strategy for achieving equality for persons with disabilities.

– NFP would create appropriate legislation so that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else for work and recreation

– It will work in partnership with cities/ town councils to provide facilities that would allow people with disabilities enjoy the same privileges and rights as the rest of the community;

– Invest more in removing barriers to education and promoting inclusion of children with disabilities.

PDP

Its manifesto says that citizens living with disabilities and special needs have the right to full and effective participation and inclusion in society.

These citizens have the right to equality of opportunity, the right to accessibility and the right to respect for differences and acceptance of persons with disabilities and special needs as part of human diversity and humanity.

Within these policies PDP would promote the respect of the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and special needs, and respect for the right of children with disabilities and special needs to preserve their identities.

Fiji United Freedom Party

The party proposes to have funds for the disabled community through religious organisations with the proposed allocation of $10 a member for each religious organisation.

“Apart from that as per our model manifesto there will be another allocation from the profits generated by the Supreme Council and Business council corporate structure,” said party president, JagathKarunaratne.

The allocations would be distributed through the Council of Saints that would reach out to the grass root level and interior where disabled people may not have access to urban facilities.

“We also promote special education programmes for the disabled with special facilities,” he said.

“This is also part of the efforts to form up a college for traditional and customary practices and protocols.”

FijiFirst

The current government, as of May, had assisted a total of 37,643 senior citizens along with 1307 persons living with disabilities who are beneficiaries of the bus fare concession.

The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation, which spearheads the disability programmes in collaboration with FNCDP and non – government organisations, had developed a work plan (2010 to 2018). The plan articulates all the key pillars of development that government will put in place to cultivate enabling and inclusive society for persons living with disabilities.

“One of the major plans is to expand the training facilities and centres for persons living with disability,” Dr JikoLuveni said.

She said families having persons living with disabilities are also given special consideration while applying for social welfare assistance.

Through the government’s bus fare concession, persons living with disabilities also have the privilege to travel in buses for free and also get 20 per cent discount on taxi fare for 20 kilometres travelled.

The ministry had embarked on a programme in which able- bodied women work alongside women living with disabilities. This can be seen at the National Sewing Centre in Toorak, Suva. There, single mothers on social welfare programmes and members from women’s groups and women with disabilities are undergoing three months of sewing training.

Feedback: farisha.ahmed@fijisun.com.fj

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