TRAINING WORKSHOP ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND DISABILITY AT THE REHABILITATION INSTITUTE FOR THE BLIND, MILE 16 BUEA, SOUTH WEST REGION OF CAMEROON
THE INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION (IHRC) SPECIAL MONITORING MISSION (SMM) CAMEROON
A disproportionate number of persons with disabilities live in Cameroon, and face discrimination including barriers that restrict them from participating in their communities on an equal basis with others.
They are often marginalized and as well live in extreme poverty.
During humanitarian emergencies, they are recurrently left behind, with little or no say in the rebuilding of their lives and communities.
The protection guaranteed in other human rights treaties, and grounded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, should apply to all.
Persons with disabilities have, however, remained largely ‘invisible’, often excluded in the rights debate and denied from enjoying and exercising the full range of human rights.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was adopted in 2006 and entered into force in 2008, signaled a ‘paradigm shift’ from traditional charity-oriented, medical-based approaches to disability to one based on human rights.
It calls for the inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities across the human rights, development and humanitarian agendas and highlights the rights and empowerment of persons with disabilities as groups which face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. It is with this concern that the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) of the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC) Cameroon, headed by the Multi National Volunteers’ Coordinator (MNVC) / Peace Ambassador, His Excellency (H.E) Bienvenu Goare Hiroua and the National Volunteers’ Coordinator (NVC) of Cameroon, Ms. Holy Anagho Asanji, together with Mr. Medard Ousmane Kemba, the NVC for Chad today 25 January 2021, convened a one-day training workshop on ‘Human Rights and Disability’ at the Rehabilitation Institute for the Blind (RIB) at Mile 16 Buea, South West Region of Cameroon.
The workshop was aimed at advancing the rights guaranteed in the Constitution of Cameroon’s Bill of Rights for persons living with disability and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability.
Coordinated by Ojong Kevin Tabot, an IHRC SMM volunteer, the workshop was delivered through structured presentations with experience-sharing, including questions and answer session.
The first session of the workshop highlighted the historical background of RIB and a welcome address delivered by the director of the institution Mr. Godfred Anutmeh.
The director in his speech emphasized on the fact that the workshop was one of its kind from the creation of the institution.
In presenting a brief history and goals of IHRC, Mr. Ojong noted that the IHRC protects, respects, fulfills and promotes the human rights of persons around the world irrespective of status, nationality, race, political affiliation etc.
In the second session of the workshop, the IHRC NVC Ms. Holy Anagho Asanji took participants through an overview of human rights.
Having gone through the Bill of Rights, discussions were centered on civil and political rights, including economic, social and cultural rights.
A glimpse through the principles of human rights enlightened participants on their entitlement to enjoy all the human rights contained in the bills of rights.
Participants were also familiarized with all the articles contain in the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
This session also culminated in a discussion on the opportunities to advance visually impaired and disability rights.
Ms. Holy Anagho advised participants on IHRC SMM’s mandate in upholding human rights and urged them to report violations that fall within the commission’s mandates.
An experience-sharing, including questions and answer session that followed saw participants relate witnessed violations of human rights on the basis of disability. Having been empowered with information on disability rights, it was also deemed necessary to build the participants’ skills in self-representation to enable them claim these rights.
Generally, the workshop provided a platform for participants to share experiences and challenges faced by persons with disabilities and to discuss the role of human rights and Cameroon laws in addressing the challenges.
It was also an avenue for discussing opportunities for the advancement of rights of people living with disabilities living with visual impairment.
The participants acquired knowledge and skills in human rights and disability which they undertook to incorporate in their work for the purpose of sensitizing their peers on their rights identifying and proactively seeking redress for human rights violations.
The day concluded with a session on presentation of a complete text of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons Living with Disabilities
by the Peace Ambassador H.E Bienvenu Goare to RIB, accompanied with other material gifts from IHRC, SMM Cameroon.
The workshop ended with words of appreciation from of the participants and administration of the institute followed with family pictures.
# NVC, SMM Cameroon/ Ms. Holy Anagho Asanji
# MNVC/ P.A H.E Bienvenu Goare Hiroua
# IHRC SMM Volunteer/ Mr. Ojong Kevin Tabot