By: R. Joyclyn Wea
MONROVIA-Violence, abuse and neglect of people with disabilities have historically been driven by exclusion, discrimination and institutionalization. While the disability system has undergone significant and important reforms over the past three decades, many problems remain.
On this basis, the Chairperson of the National Commission on Disability (NCD) is appealing to the media to report the positive and better part of their lives that will lead to persons with disabilities (PWDs) being accepted by their family and the society at large.
Madam Daintowon Paybayee mentioned that as person with disabilities, they struggle from the beginning of their lives, but the media should not show those struggling part instead show the positivity of their lives that will make pwds acceptable by their family.
She made the plea over the week in Sinkor during a two day refresher training organized by Internews-Liberia for fellows reporting on persons with disabilities across the country.
According to Paybayee, persons with disability are in the streets as the result of neglect from family as some family feel uncomfortable having PWDs in their family.
“We want the media to tell our parents to accept us and allow us enjoy those privileges and benefits because we are human beings.”
Article 10 of the declaration on human rights provides for equal right to life for all, but the NCD chairperson says PWDs does not have right to life as they are being neglected and go through different form of abuse.
“The children you see at the Antoinette Tubman home were abandoned by their mothers, some are at JFK, and other hospitals. People are there taking care of them, but that child needed to be in the home of their mother, in the arm of their mother for that matter, but they go there at an early age,” she laments.
She noted that people still sees disabilities as a disease as such, the media has an important role to play because it can uplift and break pwd.
Paybayee noted “we do not have right to life, so we want you to report the best side of our lives. Report us as seamstress, report us as caterers and make our family know that when they invest in our lives and invest in the other children that are coming up, we will be at that level to do even better.”
According to research, 30 percent of person with disabilities who need assistance for daily life suffer from some type of mistreatment. People with disabilities are also at a higher risk of abuse, neglect and being victims of crime. Estimates shows they are at least four to ten times more likely victims than people without disabilities are.