Set up National Commission – Nagolla

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A National Commission for Persons with Disabilities should be set up under the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, to find solutions to the difficulties faced by persons with disabilities, said Project Manager of Disability Organisations Joint Front, Nalinda Nagolla.

Speaking to Ceylon Today, he said they have been handing over these proposals to successive Governments for 15 years. Several attempts were made by them to bring this to the attention of the authorities, but it has fallen on deaf ears, Nagolla said.

“No one takes us seriously, but only we understand the importance of this. In Sri Lanka, about 8.7 per cent of the total population above the age of 5 suffers from some form of disability and it is estimated that about 300,000 people in the 18-60 age group have some form of disability as well. Even the United Nations (UN) has highlighted the importance of equal access for people with disabilities. In this backdrop, countries like ours do not pay heed,” he added.

He stressed that if this commission is set up under the Constitution, persons with disabilities will be recognised.

“We have submitted these proposals to all party leaders and hope they will bring this up in Parliament,” he said.

By Sahan Tennekoon