By Ndey Sowe
The National Advisory Council for Persons with Disabilities and Related Matters, was on Wednesday 14th December 2022, inaugurated at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, to facilitate the requirements of the disability law. Members of the National Advisory Council for Persons with Disabilities and Related Matters have been nominated in accordance with Part III of the Persons with Disabilities Act 2021 Section 11 (1) (a).
The Gambia ratified the convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability in 2015. It is an international human rights treaty that promotes and protects the human rights of persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.
The Council is meant to ensure the effective coordination, monitoring and implementation of The Gambia’s recent disabilities legislation. The council consists of representatives from the ministries, members with disability, and parents with persons with disability.
“Persons with disabilities have all the rights that we all are to observe and respect as a society that fits for all. As a result, the permissions are a guiding principle in the persons with disability Act of 2021 shall serve as a catalyst and working document for all of us,” said Fatou Kinteh, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Welfare.
The Gambia Federation of the Disabled is the umbrella body for over 15 registered organizations representing persons with disability in The Gambia. It was at the centre of advocacy to turn the disabilities bill into law.
Principal Magistrate, Muhammed Krubally, the Chairperson of the National Advisory Council affirmed that implementation is key for this milestone.
“What we are urging to the government and to our esteemed partners without whom we can’t do little or none is to ensure that the heart of this particular persons with disabilities council for a full and effective implementation of this fundamental rights of persons with disabilities. Existing laws without implementation will only tantamount as death letters and we do not want to see that,” Mr Krubally emphasised. The National Advisory Council will facilitate health care, social support, accessibility, rehabilitation, education and vocational training, communication, employment and work protection as well as promotion of basic rights for persons with disabilities.
Saraphine Wakana, the UN Resident Coordinator assured that the UN will provide the needed technical support and more to the council.
“The council is mandated among other things to promote the implementation and the equal access to opportunities of persons with disabilities. It is therefore clear that the Gambia is moving in the right direction with regards to the promotion and protection of persons with disabilities. We commend the government for the recent validation of the policy and work plan and we applaud the enactment of the persons with disability Act,” Ms Wakana asserts.