Stakeholders working in GBV-related areas in Ebonyi state have reviewed and adopted the disability draft bill and called for its proper domestication in the state by the government.
The stakeholders ranging from government agencies, women groups, CSOs, and others, made the call in Abakaliki during a 3- day sensitization training on the provisions of VAPP law (as amended) Maputo Protocol, Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
Review and adoption of the Ebonyi state disability draft bill as organized by Hope inspired Foundation for Women and Youth with Disabilities with support from Disability Right Fund.
Oluchi Nwite, the program lead for Hope Inspired Foundation for women and youth with Disabilities in her opening remark, noted that domestication of the Disability draft bill in Ebonyi state will enhance the well-being of persons with disabilities especially the creation of the disability commission under the office of the Chief Executive of the state.
She commended the stakeholders for their contributions and sued for more commitment from them to better the lots of persons with disabilities in Ebonyi and beyond.
The program lead further urged stakeholders to mobilize resources outside developmental partner sponsorship to advocate for the well-being of Persons with Disabilities.
Ejiro Okotie a GESI specialist and facilitator noted that People with Disabilities especially women face double challenges in the society and as such require extra care.
To close the gap, the Hope Inspired Foundation for Women and Youth with Disabilities with support from the disability rights fund is working to advance the needs and rights of women with disabilities in Ebonyi state. Ejiro said.
“When we talk about protecting the rights of women and girls with disability, I think one major reason emphasis is placed on women and girls with disability is that first of all, we are already disadvantaged, and adding a disability to that further creates a second layer of disadvantage, discrimination that they encounter, so it is like women with disability is seen as vulnerable if you put them side by side with a man with disability, sometimes the opportunity a man with disability will get will not be same with the opportunity a woman with disability will get.
“You have 1/3 of men with disabilities than women with disabilities this takes us back to the double vulnerability they have to deal with.
“Women with disabilities have higher survivors of GBV in Ebonyi state.
“Considering the extra layer of marginalization and discrimination women with disabilities suffer Ejiro called on Service providers to increase and improve friendly services for women and girls with disabilities including other persons with disabilities”.
A resource person Rita Kigbara in her presentation stated that ” the Vapp law (as amended) can be used to address different kinds of violence people face generally including persons with disabilities, especially women but the issue is the implementation, because it is only when this law is implemented over time that we can find gaps in the implementation and look at the ways of making the laws better if there are gaps in the law.
There is a need to see commitment from the stakeholders not the government alone. Relevant stakeholders working in this area need to ensure that the VAPP law is properly implemented in the state.
For instance, the GBV court is one of the things the law is backing but unfortunately, this court is yet to be established and it is affecting the desperation of justice for survivors because we have a limited number of persons in the court, and with the number of cases coming it needs to be attended to on tim, so that people can also have confidence in the judiciary.
Participants, a legal practitioner in the state Bar Nkem Chukwu and Goodness Mgbaja from the state GBV taskforce team in their submissions called for harmonization of the VAPP law in the state for easy dispensation of justice.
Another participant Ugwu Ugochinyere who is the women leader of women with disabilities in Ebonyi state, noted that the disability bill will go a long way to improve the lives of persons with disabilities, especially women and girls.
“Because of the nonexistence of disability law in the state, many of us are facing challenges but with this law, I strongly believe it will put a stop to all forms of discrimination against persons with Disabilities
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