Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, June 24th, 2021

People with Disabilities Deserve Better


People with Disabilities Deserve Better

People with disabilities are facing a tough time in Afghanistan, as their rights are being neglected by the authorities. Actually, the authority fail to realize that such people need special care and certain privileges, which stand paramount for them as they struggle to make both ends meet in a society like Afghanistan. In fact, they neglect their responsibilities of providing what such people deserve. One of its examples can be observed in the capital Kabul where the people with disabilities have been staging a sit-in protest for the last three weeks, but everybody seems to have turned a deaf ear to their voices.
Around 40 people with disabilities have arranged this protest in front of the parliament to make the government authorities listen to their demands. Their basic demand is that the government must fulfill its responsibilities of providing jobs to the people with disabilities as per their quota and must end its negligence in releasing the stipends for the people with disabilities. However, they have been neglected so far, which has caused them to declare that they would expand their protest to other provinces as well. One of the participants of the protest was quoted in a news report: “We installed the protest tent 20 days ago but no government official has visited us to listen to our voice or respond to our request… We want the rights and privileges of people with disabilities law to be implemented and our benefits are given to us based on the law.” However, the officials from Ministry of Martyrs and People with Disabilities have only a lip service to offer. Meanwhile, the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission (IARCSC) also seems reluctant to take any tangible action for filling the employment quota for the people with disabilities.
The government authorities, instead of listening to them and solving their issues, have added to their grief and difficulties. Recently, Kabul Municipality removed the stalls of around 500 people with disabilities from the city, which disrupted their small businesses and left them vulnerable in tough economic conditions of the country. Now, they are left with no option but to protest for their rights in freezing cold weather of Kabul City, with no one to listen to them seriously.
It is very necessary that all the citizens are ensured their fundamental rights by the state. These rights must be guaranteed without prejudice, since all the citizens are equal in the eyes of justice. The rights of special people – individuals with various types of disabilities – must also be guaranteed by the relevant authorities with appropriate policies and actions. In particular, the underdeveloped countries, like Afghanistan, must take careful account of the people with disabilities, as in such countries they face more problems than others. Moreover, the opportunities and arrangements in such countries do not exist that can allow the people with disabilities to meet the daunting challenges of life and live their lives normally.
Afghanistan is a signatory of The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities but specific measures to that effect have still not been taken. As per the Convention, persons with disabilities ought to be given every opportunity to obtain adequate care and normal livelihood. Sadly, both fronts have suffered from the negligence of the government in Afghanistan.
On the other hand, the treatment services for such people are meager. There is a lack of hospitals and special care centers, while existing ones are severely impacted by the lack of new facilities. Moreover, if there are treatment opportunities, they are mostly outdated.
Therefore, it should be remembered by the policy-makers that one of the ways to help the people with disabilities and their families is to provide them financial compensation. At the moment, less than AFN 1000 is given to them by the government every month, which is insignificant, given the needs of the people and the ever-increasing inflation. At the same time, it must not be forgotten that the work prospects and vocational training are more important than charities. It helps people with disabilities to be financially independent and live a life of reverence and self-esteem. They cannot continue to count on the government’s favor forever, which is inconsistent and mostly insufficient.
The reaction of fellow citizens to people who have a disability is also an important issue in this regard. The majority of people prefer to torment them by their discriminatory and sometimes violent behaviors, instead of supporting them. There are so many examples in which such people are ignored socially. Since they cannot do things in the way others do, odd and even inappropriate names are used for them.
Families of such people, compelled by the financial difficulties and other problems, curse their children and regard them as a burden. Moreover, it is difficult to find individuals who readily accept such people as marriage partners. Many of them are forced to beg. Women with disabilities in particular have no adequate chance of marrying. They are ignored and suffer from extreme social alienation for most of their lives.
The challenges being encountered by the people with disabilities must be understood properly, before any efforts are made to solve their issues. It is the duty of the government to ensure that people with disabilities receive required facilities and care that can assist them in living their everyday lives. The attitude of the society towards people with disabilities should, on the other hand, be markedly changed as well – they should be treated with respect and care.

Sajjad Aasim is a PhD scholar in International Relations. He can be reached at sajjad.aasim@hotmail.com is a PhD scholar in International Relations. He can be reached at sajjad.aasim@hotmail.com

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