National Dialogue sheds light on challenges faced by persons with disabilities in Nepal

Published On: June 14, 2023 07:19 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, June 14: Stakeholders underscored the need for innovative programs and practices to address the challenges faced by Persons with Disabilities (PwDs). They made such a remark during the National Dialogue on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities held in Kathmandu on Wednesday. The event brought together UNICEF, the Government of Nepal, and various stakeholders to discuss this issue with particular focus on children.

Nepal, as a signatory to the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), reiterated its commitment to upholding the rights of individuals with disabilities. However, discrimination against PwDs continues to persist, leading to abuse, exploitation, neglect, and economic hardships. During the program, UNICEF made it clear that it advocates for equal treatment and aims to ensure that PwDs enjoy the same rights as their fellow citizens.

The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) conducted by UNICEF in collaboration with the Government of Nepal and the Norwegian Embassy in 2019 revealed that 13 percent of children aged 5 to 17 in Nepal face functional limitations, including depression and anxiety, UNICEF said in a statement.

During the dialogue, Minister for Women, Children, and Senior Citizen, Surendra Raj Acharya, emphasized the need for collaborative action from the civil society, NGOs, and other stakeholders to complement the government’s efforts in supporting individuals with disabilities.

Usha Mishra, the Social Policy Chief of UNICEF, provided an overview of the current situation of persons with disabilities, focusing on the prevalence of disability and the lack of access to education for many children with disabilities. Mishra highlighted the achievement gap that exists and the high incidence of harsh discipline, violence, and school bullying faced by these children. She also discussed the issue of teenage pregnancies, which disproportionately affect children with disabilities from families with lower socio-economic status.

Tika Dahal, president of the National Disabled Women Association, reflected on the evolving social movements and the growing emphasis on equality for individuals with disabilities. She raised concerns about the limited implementation of policies and acts related to disabilities and the lack of representation and participation of underrepresented groups, such as those with autism and spinal cord injuries.

The conference featured a panel discussion on the overall state of individuals, particularly children, with disabilities. The discussions highlighted the importance of collaboration among government institutions, healthcare professionals, and parent organizations to provide sustainable support and solutions for their families.

Innovative practices were showcased during the event, including inclusive education initiatives, the development of an online platform for teachers, and the introduction of a digital library to support children with visual impairments. The conference also discussed an innovative model for disability screening and the use of identification cards, as well as the importance of accessible WASH facilities in schools.

The dialogue concluded with a strong call to mainstream the agenda for persons with disabilities within the government’s development programs and policies. It emphasized the need for collaboration, synergy, and innovation to improve the situation and well-being of individuals with disabilities in Nepal.



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