United Nations Development Programme or UNDP and Disability Alliance on SDGs Bangladesh have called on the government for disability inclusion in the upcoming 8th 5-Year Plan.
UNDP and Disability Alliance -- a network of 25 national and international organisations working for promoting disability rights in Bangladesh -- made the appeal in a workshop at a Dhaka hotel on Wednesday, the organisers said in a statement.
Professor Dr Shamsul Alam, a member of the Planning Commission, attended the workshop titled “Making Disability Inclusive Social Security Policies and Programmes in Bangladesh” as the chief guest. Monsur Ahmed Choudhury, trustee, Impact Foundation, was present as the chair.
Aminul Arifeen from UNDP and Ayon Debnath from Sightsavers showed in the key-note papers that people with disabilities are the ones worst affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but the coverage for them under the current social protection framework of the government is “not sufficient”.
Both the presentations emphasised enhanced disability inclusion in the 8th Five-Year Plan of the government with an extended allocation for people with disabilities.
Shamsul Alam said the government is “highly sensitive” to ensuring the rights of the people with disabilities. It has enacted The Persons with Disabilities Rights and Protection Act 2013 while the Action Plan on Disability has been prepared in 2019, he said.
Under the National Social Security Strategy, an initiative has been taken to widen the coverage up to 1 million poor people with disabilities, according to him.
“Though the government has widened the coverage of the social safety-net schemes further to include more of the marginalised population, the percentage of total safety-net budget in disability is still very low, around 2 percent, which needs to be increased to a great extent,” said Amrita Rejina Rozario, convener of the Disability Alliance and country director of Sightsavers.
On behalf of the persons with disabilities present in the workshop, Jahangir Alam emphasised the inclusion of disability-disaggregated data in the upcoming national census of Bangladesh-2021.
AHM Noman Khan, executive director, Centre for Disability in Development, pointed out that COVID-19 has put a hold to the education for children with disabilities in Bangladesh as accessible education for them is yet be ensured.
The participants of the workshop, including several women with disabilities, shared their experiences about the difficulties in health, livelihood and gender issues. A video documentary presented in the event also showcased the sufferings of the people with disabilities in Bangladesh during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The participants of the workshop also included the leaders of different organisations of people with disabilities from different districts.