Persons living with disabilities in the country continue to face all forms of discrimination, the Executive Director for the National Deaf Youth and Miss Deaf Africa, Josephine Kiden has said.
Kiden, who returned from Tanzania where she was crowned first runnersup in the Miss and Mister Deaf International competition in Dar es Salaam, told the media on Monday that persons with disabilities, are denied their rights, including right to education.
Speaking thorough her sign language interpreter, she said persons living with dissabilities are not considered, yet many are missing out on education.
“For example in education, we are not given that priority for us to be in school as people with disabilities, more especially those with hearing impairment. We are left behind because in South Sudan, we have no sign language interpreters,” said Kiden.
She appreciated President Salva Kiir for ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities in February this year, noting that it provides an opportunity for their recognition.
Kiden revealed that there is a category of person with multiple disabilities who are yet to receive any support.
“We have another category of deaf and blind (multiple disabilities). We have not helped this kind of group. Please we need empowerment,” Kiden appealed.
She called for the incorporation of sign language interpreters in public institutions, including the national television, for people with hearing impairment to access information.
Kiden appealed to the government and non-governmental organisations to assist in empowering persons living with disabilities for a sustainable life.
“I call upon different NGOs, Embassies and also everyone in the community to give opportunities to persons with disabilities and give them services they need. For example, the TV is very important. As you know we the deaf do not get information on the TV, there is no sign language interpreter,” she added.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol entered into force on 3 May 2008.
The Convention follows decades of work by the United Nations to change attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities.
It takes to a new height the movement from viewing persons with disabilities as “objects” of charity, medical treatment and social protection towards viewing persons with disabilities as “subjects” with rights, who are capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active members of society.