DISABILITY should be accepted and addressed through partnership by all stakeholders as the way forward, a senior officer from the East New Britain Community Development Philip Kuamin said.
Speaking during a provincial disability forum at the Vunapope Conference Centre in Kokopo last Friday, he said it was important to create partnership to address this in order to build a resilient community.
“The environment involves people and it is vital that we help those people living with disabilities feel that they are part of the community we live in,” he said.
Kuamin urged all stakeholders to provide special services for the vulnerable population to enable team work in development processes.
ENB Disabled People chairwoman, Vincencia Lidon said the forum was important as it strengthened the voice of people with disabilities.
“Our disabilities do not matter, look at our ability and be assured that we can contribute to nation building,” she said.
She said disability was not a health issue but a cross-cutting issue that needed to be discussed and addressed openly in all sectors.
“If you are focusing on the disabilities of the disabled people then you are a barrier to development. Make the environment conducive for us. It is about us as a human beings and what we can do to contribute to development,” she said.
Lidon said the government was obliged to protect the rights of people with disabilities.
She urged people with disabilities to be aware of their rights and demand for their needs to be met but the demand should come with responsibility and respect.
The forum was organised to raise awareness on the national policy on disability and the convention on the rights of people with disabilities.
A five-year strategic plan for them will also be created from discussions during the forum.
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