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Remove barriers to protecting rights, dignity of disabled: Bangladeshi PM


Dhaka, Bangladesh : Terming negative outlook of the society on the people with disabilities as a big obstacle to their welfare, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called for removing this barrier to protecting their rights and dignity.

“Due to negative attitude of the society, almost all of the people with disabilities have to face a painful experience of disparity and negligence from the beginning of their life, So, we must to change this negative outlook on them,” she said.

The Prime Minister urged the well-off people to come forward further to rehabilitate the people with disabilities by fulfilling their demands as she termed disability as a part of human diversity.

“We see the disabled people are confined to the corner of the house, but disability is a part of human diversity. But we will have to keep in mind that they have special demands and we should sincere in fulfilling those demands,” she said.

The Prime Minister said this while inaugurating the 21st International Day of Persons with Disabilities and the National Day of Persons with Disabilities 2012 in the Osmani Memorial Auditorium here this morning.

Social Welfare Minister Enamul Hoque Mostafa Shahid presided over the programme, organized jointly by National Foundation for Development of the Disabled Persons, Social Welfare Department, Bangladesh National Social Welfare Council and the National Forum for Disabled Persons under the Social Welfare Ministry.

Health and Social Welfare Adviser to the Prime Minister Professor Syed Modasser Ali, State Minister for Social Welfare Advocate Promod Mankin, Social Welfare Secretary Ranjit Kumar Biswas and president of National Forum for Disabled Persons Rajab Ali Khan Mujib also spoke on the occasion.

Mentioning the theme of this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities—‘Removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all’— as very time- befitting, the Prime Minister said her government will take necessary steps soon to frame a law to protect the rights of the people with disabilities.

She said the people with disabilities are a part of the society and members of our family. “Minors-seniors, rich-poor, males-females, the disabled-non-disabled all belong to society,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said overall global development is possible through inclusive formation of a unified society comprising all including disabled and autistic.

“To this end, each family, society and country will have to take initiatives in an organized way. The government has been working to execute this policy and the National Day of Persons with Disabilities is being observed to create social awareness,” she said.

Highlighting the steps of her government for the welfare of the disabled people, Sheikh Hasina said her government has framed a modern, time-befitting and comprehensive education policy and started its implementation.

“We have enacted a special education policy on disabilities creating a scope for mainstream education for the disabled,” she said.

The Prime Minister said her government has been providing cent percent salary and allowances to the teachers and employees of the non-government schools for the disabled. “Now over one lakh disabled students are studying in the primary schools,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said initiatives have been taken so that the disabled students can get enrolled in general schools. “It would help general children to know about the disabled students and create their tolerance and social responsibility as well as benefiting the entire society alongside the students,” she added.

Sheikh Hasina said the present government has built a social safety net incorporating the disabled community. We are giving allowances to the insolvent persons with disabilities and increased the number of beneficiaries and allowances.

She also listed various government measures for the welfare of the disabled persons. The steps include providing education stipend to the disabled students, giving allowance of Taka 2000 to the inmates of the disabled organizations, introduction of free autistic schools, providing special grants for such schools and running service and help centres for the disabled and preserving quota for them in the government job.

The Prime Minister said safety measures have been taken for the female, child and elderly disabled persons on a priority basis. Besides, she said, one stop mobile service has been introduced for them side be side with making Protibandhi Unnayan Foundation more work- oriented.

She said a centre has been established at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital to provide medicare services to the disabled and autistic children.

Sheikh Hasina said the persons with disabilities have been included in building Digital Bangladesh. ” To this end, computer training centres have been set up for them,” she said. She said initiatives have been taken to establish a multipurpose sports complex for the disabled, while the children with disabilities have been included in the activities of Shishu Academy.

The prime Minister also mentioned that her daughter Saima Hossain Putul, who is an autism expert and psychologist, has been working as the chairperson of the national advisory committee of “Global Autism Public Health Initiative in Bangladesh” to raise awareness about autism in Bangladesh.

“Due to Putul’s initiatives, awareness about autism has been created in Bangladesh. The society also witnessed an awakening due to her steps,” Sheikh Hasina said.

Later, the Prime Minister handed over sewing machines, wheel chairs and artificial limbs among the disabled persons. She also enjoyed a cultural function performed by the disabled children.