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February 26, 2024

CCD advocates partnership to enhance civic space, disability rights

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The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) advocates enhanced civic space for Persons with Disability in Lagos State.

Mrs Florence Austin, the Interim Head of Office, CCD, made this known when the centre visited the Office of the Chief Judge of Lagos State on Thursday in Lagos.

Austin said the repression of civic space actors limit citizen’s freedom of thought, expression, association and freedom of assembly, hence the need to advocate for enhanced civic space, beaming the light on disability rights.

“The discourse around disability rights and enhanced civic space has gained popularity in recent times owing to the prevalence of disability and human rights violations.

“The governments engage extreme force in response to civic space issues such as militarisation of protest, arrest of human right activists, use of deadly force to disperse civil demonstrations among others.

“Persons with Disabilities and organisation of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) are not spared from the overbearing use of force and her more prone to harm, harassment, danger and even death,” she said.

The organisation, however, urged that the High Court should prioritise cases of disability rights violation to ensure a more inclusive and equitable society.

Austin added that the High Court should partner CCD in providing free legal advice and representation for persons with disabilities in Lagos State whenever their rights are violated.

According to her,  such partnership  is in line with the Section 21(4) of the Lagos State Special People’s Law.

“Government shall be required to provide free legal aids without condition to persons living with disability through the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) when required.

“ The High Court should collaborate with CCD, government institutions, and other civil society organisations in enlightening the society, security agencies and the government on the concept of civic space.

“This will help to demystify the misconstruction of civic actor’s activities as subjugate activity aimed at defrauding the Federal, State or Local Government.

“All offices and courts under the Judiciary should be made accessible for persons with disabilities to enable easy access with ramps, braille signals, handrails, magnifying glasses and bold signals to aid the seamless movement and interaction of PWDs during visit.

“The High Court should have functional disability desk(s), staffed with officers with good knowledge of disability rights including sign language interpreter.

“Similarly, we are proposing that the Judiciary should implement the 5% employment reservation for PWDs to promote inclusion and representation.” (NAN)www.nannews.ng

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Edited by Vivian Ihechu

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