'State must recognize need for accessibility for disabled'

2013-08-14 11:52

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News24 Readers Braam Jordaan shares his passionate opinion on the issue of Comair policy not allowing a deaf and blind priest to fly on his own, despite having the medical approval to do so.

"The recent publications reporting on a leading international advocate for deaf and blind people being refused to let him board a domestic flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg:

I fully agree with the comments made by Deaf Federation of South Africa (DeafSA) however I don't think Comair should not take the full blame. The South African government should also take the long overdue action.
In March 2007 the United Nations opened a new human rights convention, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, for signature and ratification. South Africa was one of the first countries internationally to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN:CRPD), which it did on 30 November 2007. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognises the importance of sign language, the deaf community and culture and protects the rights of all Deaf people to use sign language. I applaud the South African government for taking its commitment to human rights seriously.
However, it emerged that, since ratification of the UN:CPRD in 2007, South Africa had not adequately incorporated the Convention into its own legal framework which weakened the effect of the Convention in South Africa.
Hereby, I humbly appeal South African Government to use tax payers' fund to comply with the following articles of the CRPD:
Article 3:  respect for difference and acceptance of deaf persons as part of human diversity and humanity,
Article 9:  enabling persons with disabilities to participate fully in all aspects of life including access to information and communications including provision of professional sign language interpreters,
Article 21:  recognising and promoting the use of sign languages,
Article 25: ensuring deaf persons have the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health without discrimination,
Using taxpayers' fund is actually a win-win situation for everyone of us as it is mutually beneficial between Comair, the Government and the citizen:
* Enabling Comair (low-cost airline) to render its services without having to fork out extra costs (imagine if there is a Deafblind conference, they will make huge losses). They pay taxes on profits and the expenses incurred can be considered as tax deductible.
* Enabling Father Cyril Axelrod to enjoy his rights on an equal basis with others. Enabling him to interact with, and inspire others and help building the nation.
* Enabling the Government to realize and implement the long overdue convention (CRPD) ratified in 2007. It is high time that the South African government recognize the importance of accessibility to the physical, social, economic and cultural environment, to health and education and to information and communication, in enabling persons with disabilities to fully enjoy all human rights on equal basis with others.
To this end, the South African government shall take appropriate measures, including using tax payers' fund to facilite the learning of sign language and the promotion of the linguistic identity of the deaf and deafblind community. I also need to stress that the sign language interpreter is mutually beneficial, enabling the professionals to execute their task properly and without any risk or barrier.  
South Africa can also be an inspiration to other states parties when they report the implementation at the UN Conference of the States Parties (CoSP) and UN high-level meetings in New York City and Geneva."

Read more on:    flights  |  disabled  |  travel


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