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Remove Barriers toward Persons with Disabilities in Liberia

“Ensuring that by 2030, Persons with Disabilities in Liberia have full access to public spaces, health care and are living free from torture, abuse and discrimination.”

Alonzo Dorian Dixon is calling on the Liberia government to fully address UNCRPD Articles 9.

Alonzo Dorian Dixon is the National Secretary of the National Union of Organizations for the Disabled and the Executive Director of the Human Rights based organization advocating for the rights and inherent dignity of Persons with Disabilities and underprivileged persons in Liberia.

He is calling on the Government in Liberia and their International Partners to urgently address these points by the end of 2030, the deadline of the SDGs. PWDs need to be part of Liberia development.

Issues and recommendations

1. Accessibility : Article 9 of the UNCRPD explains the right to accessibility by persons with disabilities, yet this aspect remains far from being achieved in Liberia. Most of the problems we identify as restricting persons with disabilities full participation in mainstream society can be described as being related to accessibility, including the following :
- Lack of physical accessibility to public infrastructure such as schools, health centres, transport, recreational facilities, work and dwelling places
- Lack of or shortage of mobility devices for persons with disabilities. Where available, often the mobility devices are unaffordable
- lack of proper distribution mechanisms of mobility devices from manufacturers to consumers (persons with disabilities)
- Lack of access to accessible technologies(screen reader software, hearing aids, etc)
- No/ limited awareness campaigns of our access challenges in the media
- Lack of implementation of discount cards for persons with disabilities and public transport
- Negative attitudes of transport officials including drivers regarding the needs of persons with disabilities
- Lack of skilled medical/health personnel who understand the communication and other specific needs of persons with disabilities
- Lack of involvement of people with disabilities in decision making and in Government Committees related to transport, health care, public works etc.

Alonzo Dorian Dixon is therefore calling on their government and other duty-bearers, to recall the commitments made in the UNCRPD and urge them to address the problems as follows

- Formulate National strategies and set standards to promote accessible transport, accessible healthcare, accessible public buildings, with sufficient budget allocations to implement the strategies in a time bound manner
- No new buildings should be built which are not accessible
- Launch schemes and establish simplified mechanisms for production and distribution of mobility devices and ensure that people with disabilities from economically weaker backgrounds can access them
- National and international public awareness campaigns which highlight the realities of life of people with disabilities and the access challenges we face on a daily basis
- Make available a range of accessible technologies in a systematic and time bound manner and also ensure affordability
- Ensure that all health care facilities, public transport systems, public offices have personnel who can communicate and understand the needs of persons with different types of disabilities
- Put in place and implement facilities like discount cards, which promote access to public transport of persons with disabilities.

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