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YEI - 13 May 2019

Persons with disabilities decry neglect in Yei

Persons with disabilities have raised concerns over what they called "discrimination" in South Sudan’s Yei River State.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Friday, several persons with disabilities complained of having been denied access to wash facilities, justice, employment opportunities, marriage rights, education and exclusion from decision making processes.

Some said they often find it a difficult task to meet government and non-governmental organization officials in their respective offices.

Medina Kiden said many disabled persons graduated with certificates in various fields, but are undervalued.

“It’s known that disability is not inability, when it comes to job adverts, they always demand applicants with physical fitness both in government and NGO offices. We don’t have representatives in the parliament to speak on our behalf and we want the government to consider us because we are part of the country’s population and we should not be neglected,” she said.

Angelo Gabriel, a disabled man, accused local authorities of denying him access to his family when the court ruled against him.

“I was dragged to a local court and insulted me saying I am a useless person. The local court ruled that I have no rights to own my children and my wife. All my children and my wife have been handed over to be managed by an NGO. I am calling on the government not to discriminate us because it is part of bad governance,” said Angelo.

Meanwhile, the disabled action group chairperson, Dickson Duku Edward admitted his office has recorded several cases of discrimination and violations against rights of persons with disabilities.

“We are facing discrimination in the community and also in the government sectors. We are advocating for our rights to education and participation in decision making and voting,” said Duku.

He further added, “I am calling on the government to implement the laws that will empower and protect people with disability”.

On his part, the director for social welfare in the state ministry of gender, Augustine Ayeko denied allegations that government discriminates against persons with disabilities.

“Persons with disability are not ignored in all aspects of development. If they have problems, they should present them to the ministry, but none of them reported cases of rights abuse to us,” said Ayeko.

He added, “We are following the UN [United Nations] policy which says no one should be left behind in the millennium goal by 2030 and this means persons with disability will be considered in all aspects of development”.