Activity Report from CIL-Kathmandu, Nepal

Report activities on Barrier free Campaign organized by CIL Kathmandu

Organized by: Independent Living Centre Katmandu
Sponsored by: Toyota Grant Foundation
Date: 2nd December 2007
Time: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Place: Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan City. (Lalitpur District Development Committee, District Public Health Office Lalitpur, District Administration Office Lalitpur, Ministry of Local Development and National Human Right Commission)

Total Participants: 135 PWDs including volunteers, journalists, human right activists, and civil societies

Objectives:
• To appeal on the rights, dignity and independent living lives of PWDs socially, economically, politically, physically and culturally in the every part of state.
• To conduct the advocacy, lobbing and pressure to make the men made infrastructure disabled friendly.
• To make accessible in each and every public buildings, government buildings, public parks and toilets, roads etc

Program Schedule:
(1) 10 AM to 11 AM. Press Conference
Lalitpur District Development Committee Office Hall / 150 participants
Speakers: Mr. Krishna Gautam,Ms. Indira Shrestha, and other participants
(2) 11 AM to 12 AM. Barrier Free Campaign
Lalitpur District Development Committee Office / 135 participants
Speakers: Mr. Krishna Gautam, Mr.Dhrubahari Neupane, Ms. Susila Poudel, and other participants
(3) 1 PM to 1:30 PM. Barrier Free Campaign
District Public Health Office, Lalitpur / 135 participants
Speakers: Mr. Krishna Gautam, Mr. Bhoj Raj Shrestha, Mr. Tek Bdr Gurung, Ms. Susila Poudel, and other participants.
(4) 1:30 PM to 2:00 PM. Barrier free Campaign
District Administration Committee, Lalitpur / 135 participants
Speakers: Mr. Bhoj Raj Shrestha, Mr. Krishna Gautam, Ms. Susila Poudel and other participants
(5) 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM. Barrier free Campaign
Ministry of Local Development / 135 participants
Speakers: Mr. Bhoj Raj Shrestha, Mr. Krishna Gautam, Mr. Dhrubahari Neupane, and other participants
(6) 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Barrier free Campaign
National Human Right Commission, Lalitpur / 135 participants
Speakers: Mr. Krishna Gautam, Mr. Bhoj Raj Shrestha, Ms. Anjana KC, Mr. Dhrubahari Neupane and other participants

Brief Description:
Independent Living Centre Kathmandu (CIL- Kathmandu) conducted a barrier free campaign program on “Fundamental Rights, Human Rights, and Barrier free Society” for the Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Nepal. More than 135 PWDs attend the campaign. “The state is unable to guarantee the fundamental rights and human rights of PWDs in equal manners in compare to the others,” they said. The campaign activists further added that many PWDs are not able to exercise the right to education, right to health, right to employment and right to live independently in chosen community. Bhoj Raj Shrestha, member of CIL Kathmandu said, “The purpose of this programme is to guarantee the full integration of disability into all government’s programmed and develop the recognition of the rights and responsibilities of PWDs”. Krishna Gautam, General Secretary of CIL said, “Independent Living Philosophy empowers PWDs to take control of their own lives, to live with dignity in their chosen community, to make decisions about own lives and speak for themselves”.

The women participants Sushila Poudel and Anjana KC said that PWDs are the poorest and most marginalized members of their community and state has to take action to overcome their poverty and achieve their civil, political, social, and economic rights. They claimed it is the prejudice that denies the opportunities to develop the necessary skills, knowledge, and confidence and to make effective use of the resources that they may already have. “We are often made invisible by society so that state has to support us in designing and delivering our humanitarian responses,” they urged.

The program had begun with the press conference at Lalitpur. The organizer team announced program in front of the journalists, civil societies, and participants.

Press Conference
Independent Living Center Kathmandu had organized the Press Conference on 2nd December 2007 at Lalitpur District Development Committee Hall. The press statement was released by the Program Officer Mrs. Indira Shrestha of Women Development Lalitpur. She requested media and the civil societies to come forward to create mass awareness against the negative attitude towards the persons with disabilities. She said that the theme of the 16th International Disability Day is ‘Decent Work for Persons with Disabilities’. “The persons with disabilities are the citizens of this country and inseparable part of the society. So, it’s our sacred responsibility to ensure their equal rights, equal opportunities and the right to live with dignity.”

Secretary General Krishna Gautam called upon government, national and International organizations to come up with meaningful program for providing proper education, training and working environment to the persons with disabilities to improve their lifestyle. He also argued Nepal government to sign and to ratify the ‘UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ CRPD as soon as possible. He added that CRPD is the dream of PWDs. It should bring into the practices.

There were 150 participants including journalists, civil societies, and Persons with Disabilities.

After the Press Conference, the Campaign had been begin

1. Office of Lalitpur Development Committee
At first, the participants went to Office of Lalitpur Development Committee where Mr. Dhrubahari Neupane, the member of CIL urged Local District Officer that physical infrastructure should be favorable to PWDs. He further urged that inclusive laws should be needed for equal rights and opportunities for disabilities. “PWDs are to be seen as full citizens with all rights and responsibilities. But they do not have access to resources and opportunities so that specific measures are necessary to ensure their full inclusion and participation,” he said. Moreover, the participants agreed that state should focus and incorporate disability issue into their current programmes as a high priority. “The policy and programs of the District Development Committee has not properly addressed the issues of disability so that it is urgent necessity to amend the policies and programs”, said Krishna Gautam. He further raised the issues of proportional representation of PWDs and barrier free environment in the district.

After considering the views of the participants, Local District Officer said that the policy and programs of the district will make inclusive and will promote barrier free environment in the district. Other participants in the campaign appealed to the Officer as:
• To create psychological and physical barrier free environment.
• To create an inclusive society in which PWDs are guaranteed the same rights as non-disabled people with full participations

2. District Public Health Office
Bhoj Raj Shrestha said that the office has to create the enabling environment that provides PWDs to live their lives independently. Krishna Gautam, Secretary General of CIL Kathmandu, suggested the office has to make disabled friendly infrastructure and to construct new provision for health services and employment to the PWDs. He further added “The state should focus PWDs when it releases the budget. The officer answered that the present conditions is the cause of low budget and lack of awareness regarding PWDs. “As long with the awareness, the socio-economic support as well as the barrier free environment will increase,” Officer answered.

3. Office of District Administration Lalitpur
Chief District Officer (CDO), Ram Prasad Shrestha emphasized that the state has to focus PWDs in its planning. State’s policy should guarantee the barrier free environment, focus the necessity of classification of PWDs and allocate the budget to the disabilities organizations on the basis of their works. Similarly, CDO demanded that state should encourage discussion of gender relevant issues and support the PWDs in the state’s policy to develop their potentiality.
The activists appealed to the Officer as:
• To provide equal access to necessary resources for PWDs
• To achieve positive change in PWDs’ lives and help the communities’ development
• To increase their capacity to change attitudes within their communities, raising awareness of the needs and potential strength of PWDs
• To share information with disabilities activists, specially about ways of removing barriers to PWDs’ participation in society

4. Ministry of Local Development
The activists appealed to the ministry of Physical and Planning as:
• To promote barrier free environment regarding physical infrastructure.
• To promote the system to create an environment in which PWDs and administrative could share experiences and exchange idea freely regarding the development planning.
• To construct the rules and regulations that help to increase the barrier free environment among the physical constructions and planning
• To allocate the budget for the PWDs to live independently in the chosen community.
• To implement the Disability Allowances addressed by the Nepal Government in it budget speech 2007.

5. Office of National Human Right Commission
• Mr. Krishna Gautam, Secretary General, of CIL Kathmandu explains the objectives of the Campaign and started to say that Disability is the issue of Human Right. He noted that National Human Right Commission is giving more priority to the ongoing political crises rather than the discrimination of the civil citizens and Persons with Disabilities. He added that most of the Children with Disabilities are still inside the house. They have no opportunities to go school, no assertive devices, no proper care due to this they are dying within short periods. Most of the PWDs depended on their parents and have no job guarantee. Government has no provisions to support their daily living. Bhoj Raj Shrestha said that PWDs are looking the social, economical, physical, political, and cultural rights so that National Human Right Commission should give attention towards the issues of PWDs. “Government should guarantee the fundamental rights and should protect human rights of PWDs. Similarly, government should make proper act to make the infrastructure disability friendly”. Another participant Miss. Anjana K.C. “Our parents has invested a lot of money and their time for our education hoping for our bright future but after education we do not have opportunities to get job or any other services”. In reply, representatives of National Human Right Commission said that the campaign retreat and will take seriously the issues of PWDs. They said that NHRC is making wide discussion to sign and to ratify the UN Convention from Nepal. After ratify, the strong act should be amendment. They made commitment to work together with PWDs to assure the fundamental rights and human rights of PWDs as well.

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