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Persons with disability demand equal representation

By Elia Joseph Loful

The Association for persons with disabilities is calling on the Revitalized Government of National Unity to consider them at different levels of government.

Articles 26 of the transitional constitution of South Sudan, states that every citizen shall have the right to take part in any level of government directly or through freely chosen representative, and shall have the right to nominate him or herself or be nominated for a public post or office in accordance with this constitution and law.

The persons with disability who launched a campaign in collaboration with Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) said their rights have been denied for long.

Robert Ladu, the Chairperson of the Association said the government should mind about the rights of least fortunate persons in the society.

“The purpose why we have gathered here is to raise voice of the disabilities so that they can be represented in the government.  That is why until now we are represented by people who pretend to talk on our behalf,” he said.

“If disabled persons are being represented by other people, we don’t want. That is why in this Revitalized Government, we need disabled people to be represented at all levels of government starting from parliament up to Boma levels,” Ladu emphasized.

He said the government should at all times put into consideration the right of persons with disabilities without neglecting them.

Zekia Musa who spoke on behalf of women with disabilities urged the RTGoNU to ratify some international laws like the convention on the right of persons with disabilities in order to protect the rights of vulnerable people.

“You know persons with disability need to be represented fully but if there is no law it will be difficult for us to claim our right and the government did not even sign the convention,” Musa said.

Edmond Yakani, the Executive Director for CEPO said the absence of representation of persons with disabilities in the Revitalized Government could be a violation of the constitution and revitalized peace agreement by the parties.

“What I can say at the time of this campaign is that persons with disabilities should be genuinely represented. At least 10-15 of the 515 members of parliament should be a persons with disabilities,” he said.

Yakani said he was appealing to the presidency to keenly absorb the need of the disabled group.

“My appeal specifically goes to the presidency with the presence of the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar and other leaders to embrace the presence of disabled persons in the public arena. Let them be represented,” Yakani echoed at the campaign to advocate for rights of disable persons.

According to Article 30 of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, all levels of government shall guarantee participation of persons with disabilities or special needs in the society.

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