The President of the coalition of disabled persons Honourable Julius Nye Cuffie has said that he would be traveling to Ethiopia Addis-Ababa to attend a five day conference where he will be delivering a paper on the subject ‘Access to Justice for Persons with Disabilities’.
He added that, the conference is being organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD).
The theme of the conference he disclosed is ‘Discrimination, Poverty and Access to Justice’.
He said that the reasons they are seeking a global solution to the disability problem and how to adopt the International best practices.
The substance of the paper Hon. Cuffie said will deal with disability issues as a human right issue, and the (paper) will also look at the evolution of international instruments bordering on the recognition and protection of the rights and dignity of persons with disability.
Hon Cuffie noted that key instruments like the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the rights of persons with disabilities 1975; the UN Standard Rules on the equalization of opportunities with persons with disability 1993 and most recently the 1996 UN Convention on the rights with persons with disability.
He disclosed that the paper will also look at whether there are adequate laws in Sierra Leone protecting the rights and dignities of persons with disability.
The paper he maintained will proffer suggestions as to what will alleviate the plight of persons with disability in Sierra Leone by (1) enacting of a national legislation bordering on disability issues and rights; (2) the setting up the disability rights commission; (3) Parliament ratifying the 1996 UN Convention on the rights of persons with disability and (4) mass sensitization of the general public on disability issues and rights.
Hon. Cuffie revealed that, he is working on a private members motion to table a draft bill in Parliament titled ‘Persons with Disability Act.
He said the draft bill will create access to justice for persons with disability since the court is not equipped with proper staff to translate or interpret sign language between the court disabled persons and the non disabled persons.
This, the legislator said is a fundamental component on the justice system in the country which absence leads to the discouraging of justice for the disabled litigants.
He pointed out that, the advent of this bill when enacted into law would give powers of the High Court to the disability rights commission to inquire in to allegations of discrimination on the basis of disability.
Hon Julius Cuffie intimidated that the commission will adjudicate into other areas of violation of the rights with disability, adding that the commission will comprise of disabled and non disabled persons which will ensure that justice is being metted out to them.