State PwDs press for strict enforcement of RPWD Act 2016

State PwDs press for strict  enforcement of RPWD Act 2016
Nagaland PwD Icon, Deiethono Nakhro with others during the press conference at Hotel Japfu, Kohima on November 21
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Kohima, November 21: The disabled community in Nagaland while lauding the Government of Nagaland for officially notifying the Rights of Persons with Disability (RPWD) Act 2017 has asserted that they would not allow the latest Act to end up like the old 1995 Act.
RPWD Act was passed in parliament in December 2016 and became law in April 2017 while the State Government on September 27 last officially notified the RPWD Act 2016 in Nagaland, which has over 29,631 Differently Abled Persons and PwDs.
“This is a huge milestone for the disability community and we do appreciate the government for the action it has taken,” said Diethono Nakhro, disability rights activist and icon for People with Disabilities (PwDs) in Nagaland while addressing a press conference here at Hotel Japfu today.
She however said that this is only the first step and this notification will serve no purpose unless there is strict and proper enforcement of the laws
Dwelling on the report in a local daily about a young man living with haemophilia, a blood disorder, she said this has exposed how unaware people still are about the RPWD Act 2016 which is already in force in the state – and this, most importantly, includes government departments officials who are responsible for implementation of the various laws and regulations.
Maintaining that even before this new Act, there was already another Disability Act in existence – The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 which was in force for over 20 years, but not even a single law was properly enforced in Nagaland.
With the new Act now officially enforced in the state, she asserted that the disability community will not allow RPWD Act 2016 to end up like the old 1995 Act.
“In the past, our voice may not have been strong and because of that people with disabilities were totally ignored and neglected. But that is no longer the case – we are here, we are proud of who we are and we know that we are equal citizens and we are fighting and going to fight for our rights. We are going to fight for children with disabilities to get quality education and the skills they need to live a full life and explore their potential. We are going to fight for accessibility in the environment and information and technology, for access to quality health services and equal opportunity to employment,” she said.
With regard to the case of Longlong Konyak from Mon district, she said blood disorders like Haemophilia, Thalassemia and Sickle Cell Disease are all specified disabilities under the RPWD Act while it was discovered that the health department was basically unaware of this.
Chapter V Section 25 of the Act clearly states that free healthcare must be provided in the vicinity especially in rural areas. This is just one among the many other healthcare provisions, she said.
However, Konyak did not receive the required service at the hospital in his home district or at Dimapur District Hospital, she said while terming it as “a violation of his right”.
This is just a single case that has attracted some attention, she said, adding that there are thousands of people with various kinds of disabilities with no access to quality healthcare.
This is an unacceptable situation and the Health Department must take immediate steps to ensure that the healthcare needs of People with Disabilities are met as laid down in the Act, Nakhro added.
She also asked all the departments to update themselves on the RPWD Act and do justice to the disability community.
Affirming the PwDs in Nagaland are no longer willing to exist like third class citizens, she said “we are also not looking for pity or charity, we don’t need that but we just want our fellow citizens and our government to ensure the equal rights and opportunities that we deserve as equal citizens”.
This, she hoped can start with the strict and proper implementation of the RPWD Act 2016. (Page News Service)