By Adama Tine
Magistrate Muhammed Krubally who doubles as Chairman of The Gambia Federation of The Disabled has called on the government, Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs), and other stakeholders to help in the implementation of the disability bill that has been passed at the National Assembly on Tuesday 29 June 2021 and assented by President Adama Barrow on 6 July 2021, referred to as Persons With Disability Bill 2021.
The bill seeks to safeguard persons with disability against stigma and discrimination but also safeguard them against exploitation and provide access to physical environment, training, employment and access to services provided by the public body. In an interview with Mamos on Tuesday at Paradise Suites hotel, Magistrate Krubally said his main concern on the bill is the implementation and called on people to respect and uphold the fundamental rights of persons with disability provided in the bill.
He said section 11 of the Disable Act talks about composition of the disability advisory committee. “The committee is established under article 8 of the Act to establish a national disability advisory committee,” he explained.The bill according to him had been at the parliament for a decade just to become law. He said the bill had been unanimously passed by National Assembly members. He revealed that the federation is now working on the popularization and implementation of the bill.
“We are glad to have the disabled bill passed; it is the most guaranteed legislation we have apart from the constitution of the land that ensures respect, promotion and protection of all our fundamental rights and freedoms,” he said.Asked about their expectations on the bill, he said they expects government, NGOs, Individuals and other authorities to respect and uphold the fundamental rights of persons with disabilities that are set in the bill. Responding to questions about how they get the information of the bill been assented, he responded:
“I received a text message from someone working with the ministry of Women, Gender and Social Welfare who informed me that the bill has been assented.”He said after receiving the information, he was so excited and immediately sent a text message to all the pages of persons with disabilities.
“I informed them that we have ‘good news’ since the bill had been assented on Tuesday 6 July 2021.” He recalled that the president was given statutorily 30 days to assent to the bill but within that period, the president successfully assented to the bill.
Magistrate Krubally further stated that the federation will still engage National Assembly members, other government ministries, NGOs and partners to see how they can popularized the bill and to further sensitize government and the society to promote, respect and protection the bill.He stressed that individuals and government authorities should now be ready for law suits to be filed against them for any misconduct against persons with disabilities.
He noted that whoever disrespects these laws, the federation will file a law suit for the court to make and order for respect of the law.Here are some of the clauses that the bill seeks to address:The bill in clause 37 indicates that any person who denies a person with disability in respect to right to care services has committed an offence.The bill in clause 30 advocates for the prevention of persons with disability against matters such as road safety and in clause 31, it provides measures of rehabilitation of persons with disability.It also advocates in clause 32 for vocational rehabilitation and employment of persons with disability, and in clause 33, it provides for education, especially the provision of assistive services during exams by the Government and their training as well.
Clause 34 prohibits discrimination in learning institutions and services against person with disabilities, while clause 36 aims to provide employment for person with disability and that the position of the Executive Secretary be changed to Director and clause 37 provides to safeguard continuation of employment for person with disabilities at work place.In clause 38, the bill provides for the prohibition of termination of employment of person with disability, and that any employer who discriminates against a person with disability, in relation to his or her disability, unless the employer can provide proofs, or otherwise would amount to an offence on conviction to a fine of D100, 000.