The training is based on the fact that the current approach on issues of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) is human rights based approach in which PwDs are rights holders as they are equal in dignity and respect as other people.
On 31st January 2017, three staff from NCPD and HRCSL Commissioners and Staff participated in a day training of trainers on the CRPD and Persons with Disability Act 2011 in Freetown, organized by HRCSL. HRCSL and NCPD have therefore decided to replicate the training at the regions for the benefit of DPOs and NCPD staff that are based in the regions to strengthen these institutions in order to effectively carry out their mandates as contained in the CRPD and the Persons with Disability Act effectively.
In several of its annual State of Human Rights Reports, HRCSL notes the challenges faced by NCPD that impede on its effectiveness and efficiency, especially in its strides in carrying out its functions. The Commission have noted challenges faced by Persons with Disability in the areas of access to provision of basic necessities such as:, Shelter, Health, Education, Access to justice , Accessibility ,Participation in public and other decision making processes, Protection from discrimination and Employment for persons with disabilities. DPOs also lack the capacity to give suitable support to the NCPD.
The NCPD Northern Region Commissioner, Commissioner Alie Martin thanked HRCSL for their support and collaboration and informed that HRCSL was the first institution to enhance the capacity of the staff at NCPD. He said the training was an extension of HRCSL’s effort to support the work of NCPD. He emphasized the importance of the training and encouraged participants to not only keep the knowledge gain to themselves, but use it as a tool for advocacy to enhance structural change.
The Regional Coordinator West for NCPD, Jonathan Conteh in his opening statement updated participants about the main purpose of the training, which he said was to build the capacity of DPOs and NCPD staff in the region. He further said the training was one of its kind in the district as it will provide an opportunity to staff of NCPD to better understand the Disability Act 2011 which will serve as a tool for advocacy and ensure the thorough implementation of the provisions therein.
In 2006 the United Nation General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and it immediately entered into force. In 2008, the optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was also opened for signature which marked the beginning of a new era in the purpose of the CRPD as stated in Article 1of the CRPD which says“the purpose of the Convention is to promote, protect and ensure full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and promote respectfor their inherent dignity”.
Although Persons with Disabilities are entitled to the same rights as everyone else, adoption of these documents set out comprehensively for the first time, a binding international instrument protecting the rights of persons with disabilities. SierraLeone has signed and ratified the CRPD. In March 2011 it was domesticated in the form of ‘The Persons with Disabilities Act-2011, as the legal frame work that established the focal points and implementation mechanism within the administrative system of government as prescribed by Article 33(1) of the CRPD.