People with any kind of disability are human beings too with rights. In some societies, they unfortunately face discrimination and violence.
Disabilities may involve physical impairment; sensory impairment, cognitive or intellectual impairment, to mental disorders. A disability may occur during a person’s lifetime or may be present from birth.
Disabilities are also physical or mental limitations that make it harder to perform normal daily activities.
A disability can range from severe to mild depending on how much it limits the person’s ability to perform normal daily activities.
Every person, regardless of physical, sensory, cognitive, or intellectual impairment should be able to enjoy fundamental human rights.
Human rights are basic privileges and freedoms which everyone is entitled to.
According to Article 1 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights; “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
The Rwandan law relating to the protection of persons with disability in general; says that every disabled person shall be entitled to the same rights with other persons before the law. He or she shall be respected with entitlement to human dignity.
To mention a few benefits, the law gives a disabled person the right to live in the family under the same conditions as others.
“A disabled person is entitled to the right of freedom of expression on any general national, on any particular issue he or she is concerned with and shall have a role in the national development of his or her country in accordance with his capacity.”
“I am so glad that the Rwandan government passed a law that protects people with disabilities, this law gives us (vulnerable people) courage to go forth and claim our rights,” says Celestin Nzeyimana, the secretary general of the National Paralympics Committee, (NPC0 in Rwanda.
Commenting on the rights of people with disabilities in Rwanda Nzeyimana said; they have the right to education, the right to travel when ever they like, a right to life, sports and games, a right to work and a right to communication to mention but a few.
Nzeyimana explained to the New Times, that though these rights are in place, vulnerable people with disabilities still face stigmatization; disabled people are still given insulting, deeming names which make them feel inferior, rejected and not loved.
Among these names are (Kamuga, Gicumba, and kigoryi).
“I was also a victim of the abusive names, we have the right to good, sounding and meaningful names, people should stop calling us such names,” laments Nzeyimana.
Elaborating on the right to sports and games, Nzeyimana said that this is one of the rights people with disabilities are fully enjoying though they still lack facilities. Both vulnerable women and men are participating in different games and sports.
The NPC is involved in over 10 games and sports training people with different disabilities; these games include volley ball, sit ball, goal ball for people with vision impairment, power lifting to mention but a few.
23 year old Cliff Muvunyi an athlete also a member of the NPC, says “disability is not inability; like any other normal people, disabled people have the right to good paying jobs. It is unfair for a disabled person to win a job competition and later is denied the job.”
Those working class people with physical disability; whose offices are in flat buildings always find it difficult to perform as they cannot manage moving up and down stairs every day.
The building systems in Rwanda should consider people with complicated disabilities while building storied houses, says Muvunyi.
Article 18 of the disabled rights related to employment says; “No discrimination of any form shall be subjected upon a disabled person in matters related to employment.
However, a disabled person shall be given greater access to employment opportunities than any other citizen in case of equal capacities or incase of equal marks in competition.”
People born with any disability have a right to live. It is unfortunate for a mother to kill her own child at delivery when found out that it has a certain disability. This babies right to life is also another issue that is sensitive and which should be handled strictly and seriously.
Children and adults with disability have a right to life, they do have to be killed in the fear of giving them extra attention and care. It is also said that such people have no reason to live because their life is expensive.
It is injustice of the greatest order to force someone to death. It is God who gives life to us all, and it should be Him to take it away, not us human beings.
The responsibility to make vulnerable people live happily starts right from the family level and then to other levels.
It will not be only the government to find a solution; it is every ones role to see that he or she brings a smile to any person with disability near him. Give a disabled person a reason to live by allowing him or her to enjoy all their human rights.
Bravo to the government of Rwanda. The government has put in place solid policies which favour people with disabilities to enjoy their rights.
Today disabled people are being represented in all levels of leadership nationally and in the East African community.
The government is also working with the various ministry departments to main-stream, the rights of the disabled in all their policies.