DRAC launches handbook for women and girls with disabilities

DRAC launches handbook for women and girls with disabilities

- A book has been launched for the benefit of women and girls with disabilities in Nigeria

- The handbook is expected to be a guide for the women and girls to know and understand their rights

- An initiative of the Disability Rights Advocacy Center, the book at a 4th Annual We Are Women Too Convening held in Abuja

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The Disability Rights Advocacy Center (DRAC) has urged the federal government to review certain Nigerian laws to make them disability-inclusive.

Dr. Irene Patrick-Ogbogu, executive director of DRAC, made the call on Thursday, December 10 while speaking to Legit.ng on the sidelines of the 4th Annual We Are Women Too Convening held in Abuja.

The theme of the event was The Intersections of Exclusion: Addressing Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) and Disability.

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DRAC launches handbook for women and girls with disabilities
Dignitaries at the event pose for a photograph after the launch of a handbook for women and girls living with disabilities. Photo credit: @DRACNigeria
Source: Twitter

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Dr. Patrick-Ogbogu said:

“There are two ways that policies are not disability-inclusive either in the text of the policy being that they do not take into consideration the peculiarities of persons with disabilities or in its implementation.
“We as an organisation, DRAC, we have been engaging with the service providers and the government to review the necessary law to make them more disability-inclusive to ensure that they are implemented through a disability lens.
“This will involve consulting with People Leaving With Disabilities to ensure that services are tailored to suit their needs.
“So, we are also working a lot with the government to change or review our laws to make them more disability-inclusive.”

Providing more information on the event, she said:

“It is a convening we hold to talk about issues that affect women and girls with disabilities and to come up with solutions for addressing the challenges that they face

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“This year our focus is on sexual and gender-based violence as it affects women and girls with disabilities, exploring the exclusion of women and girls with disabilities when it comes to programming in that area.
“It is important that the government invest a lot of resources into services that are necessary for people who have survived any form of sexual and gender-based violence
“We need to see more sexual assault referral centers, where people who have experienced sexual assault can go in and receive necessary services.”

On her part, the keynote speaker at the event, Dr. Toyin Aderemi; disability advisor, United Nations Relief and Works Agency, stated that women and girls with disabilities are prone to sexual and gender-based violence than other female folks.

She added:

“Reporting mechanisms are not accessible. Even if they want to report, it is difficult to do so. This category of women are oftentimes denied justice, unintentionally.”

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Also speaking, Grace Nsot, director of international operations, legal aid council, said the council is available for all Nigerians seeking justice on any issue.

Her words:

“Nigerians can come to us to seek justice because our mandate is to give free legal services to indigent Nigerians, so any indigent Nigerian who has any issue with the law can come to us. We give legal advice and representation free of charge.
“So we encourage them to come out and speak up because they are entitled to justice and justice is available for them so they should seek it.”

The highlight of the event was the launch of a handbook on sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and girls with disabilities.

There was also a dance drama, the airing of a documentary on sexual and gender-based violence survivors, and goodwill messages from stakeholders including the Nigeria Police Force and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons.

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Recall that DRAC was at the forefront of advocacy for the federal government to implement the Disability Act signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.

DRAC kick-started a campaign with the message that implementing the Disability Act will protect and cater to the needs of persons living with disabilities in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, a group, Count Disability Coalition, CDC, recently reacted to the news of the approval for the release of funds to the National Population Commission (NPC) and the inclusion of additional funds in the 2021 budget in preparation for the next national census.

In a statement sent to journalists on Saturday, October 10, the CDC commended President Muhammadu Buhari on the initiative.

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