Abuja - British High Commissioner to Nigeria,
Paul Arkwright, has encouraged the government to uphold and promote the rights
of people with disabilities.
Speaking on Thursday to mark Human Rights Day, he said
people with disabilities faced multiple barriers that stopped them from
realising their rights and living with dignity and in accessing services that
were usually taken for granted.
“This is something that should worry us all,” said
He said while Nigeria’s constitution enshrined the
principle of non-discrimination in recognition of the contribution to society
all people made, more still needed to be done.
“I appeal to the relevant authorities to implement the UN
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its optional protocol
by ensuring the passage of the Nigerian Disability Bill into law,” he said.
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“The Act will provide for the establishment of a National
Commission for Persons with Disabilities which will serve as the platform for
the implementation and enforcement of all provisions of the Disability Act.”
The United Kingdom, he said, would continue to work with
the Nigerian Government, NGOs and civil society to promote human rights for all
including those living with disabilities.
He said the UK Department for International Development
has a number of programmes designed to address some of the exclusion people
with disabilities have to deal with.
Estimates suggest that 20 percent of Nigeria’s total
population of 170 million people are living with disabilities.“There is a largely negative attitude and strong
stigma towards them. Many people with disabilities have no voice, choice or
control over their lives and they are often the poorest in their community,”
- CAJ News