Joint Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) Anambra State Chapter’s Project Team advocated for persons with Disabilities Inclusion at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The group urged the commission to establish a Disability Desk Officer and free Legal Aid Services in the commission for persons with Disabilities.

The group took an Advocacy visit to the office of the commission in Awka for the implementation of Anambra State Disability Rights Law (ADRL) 2018.

Presenting the brief on behalf of the JONAPWD state chairman Comrade Ugochukwu Okeke, Miss Ncheta Nwanokwara -the project officer read out the issues on focus as it relates with the National Human Right Commission for the implementation of the Anambra State Disability Rights Law (ADRL)2018 as follows:

1) The need for prohibition from discrimination and harmful treatment to PWDs. Section 20 of Anambra State Disability Rights Law (ADRL)2018.

2) The need for prohibition from cruelty and inhuman treatment and right to protection of integrity for PWDs. Sections 21 and 23 respectively of Anambra State Disability Rights Law (ADRL)2020.

Miss Nwanokwara also read the prayers as follows:

1) To kindly provide free legal aid services to PWDs without any condition. Section 20 of Anambra State Disability Rights Law (ADRL) 2018.

2) In section 21 and 31 of the Anambra State Disability Rights Law (ADRL) 2018, to consider it necessary to establish a Disability desk officer in the commission who will be responsible to take records and follow up with the cases of PWDs that are been affected by the aforementioned sections for proper attention.

Responding to the issues raised and prayers of the project team, the State Coordinator of National Human Right Commission in Anambra, Mrs Nkechi Ugwuanyi heartly welcome the team for their visit and stated that the Core mandate of the National Human Rights Commission is to protect, promote and enforce Human Rights in the state. She said that the right of PWDs in the state is one of the areas the commission is very passionate about.

She pointed that their Commission had in the past handled all the referral cases sent to them by JONAPWD Anambra State Chapter to a logical conclusion and also assure the project team of the commission’s continuous support to JONAPWD and the entire Disability Community in the state.

Mrs Ugwuanyi also said that before the end of the year, her office shall respond and provide a name for the PWDs desk officer. She also assured the project team of free legal services to PWDs and stated that they have been providing free legal services to every other person in Anambra and that PWDs will never be left out in such services.

Delivering a vote of thanks, Miss Victoria Okonkwo appreciated the State Coordinator for her warm reception and continuous cordially relationship with JONAPWD. She thanked her for her assurance responses and pleaded that the commission should make their buildings accessible to all by buildings ramps for wheelchair users. She also noted that the reason behind the advocacy visit is to enlighten the public on the need to understand the provisions of the law and as well join hands on the implementation of the Anambra State Disability Rights Law (ADRL)2018.

Responding to the plea to provide ramps, Mrs Nkechi Ugwuanyi apologized for inconveniences such barrier must have caused and explained that the current National Human Rights Commission office is still at the Temporal site and assured that once they get a permanent site, the building must be accessible.

Project Team members present at the Advocacy visit includes: Special Assistant to the Governor on Sign Language Communication, Mr Joseph Collins, Miss Ncheta Nwanokwara (Project officer), Mr Amobi Nwagwu(JONAPWD Treasurer), Miss Elizabeth Ikele( M&E officer), Miss Victoria Okonkwo (member) and Miss Chidimma Ajemba( Media Officer).

While staff of the National Human Right Commission present includes: Mrs Nkechi Ugwuanyi (State Coordinator), Mr Obinna Okoloji(investigation officer), Barr Chuke Ikechukwu (legal officer), Miss Patricia Edenweluja( senior admin officer) and Mrs Agatha Uzo(senior investigation officer).

High points of the visit were the presentation of a copy of the advocacy brief and a copy of the Anambra State Disability Rights Law (ADRL)2018 to the state coordinator Mrs Nkechi Ugwuanyi.

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