December 13, 2017 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
President of the Sierra Leone Union on Disability Issues (SLUDI) , Santigie Kargbo, has expressed that they are among the categories of people that are frequently marginalised and suppressed in society.
President Kargbo was speaking at a presser organised by various civil society groups at the headquarters of the National Electoral Watch (NEW), Kingharman Road.
He called on members of parliament to disregard government’s ‘white paper’ on the review of the 1991 Constitution, stating that almost all the recommendations they made to the Constitutional Review Committee(CRC) were not factored in the said white paper.
The SLUDI president further called on parliamentarians to treat their issue with all the seriousness it deserves, adding that they should not pass into law the White Paper without recognizing persons with disabilities.
“The category of people that are mostly marginalized and suppressed in society are people living with disabilities. We have been suffering for too long and many of our colleagues are in the streets of Freetown begging for their living,” he said.
It could be recalled that President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, on 30th July, 2013, officially launched the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) at the Miatta Conference Centre, Youyi Building, Brookfields in Freetown.
In his keynote address at the ceremony, President Koroma called on all compatriots irrespective of region, district, ethnic, political or religious affiliation to support, fully participate and take ownership of the entire review process.
After the launch of the CRC, many individuals, institutions and groups including people living with disabilities presented position papers, highlighting issues for a possible inclusion in the final document.
After almost three years six months of the process, the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC), led by Justice Edmond Cowan, presented its final draft report on the review process to President Ernest Bai Koroma at State House.
At the presentation of the final draft report, Justice Cowan drew President Koroma’s attention to his demand during the launch of the committee for them to consider inclusiveness, international best practice, women, youth and persons with disability.
But a vast majority of recommendations made by various parties to the CRC were rejected by government, hence left many people including persons with disabilities, aggrieved.