Thursday, 24 Jun 2021
Improving the Lives of People With Disabilities Through Influencing the Legal Framework in Papua New Guinea
People with disabilities experience greater inclusion and their lives are significantly improved when the law upholds the rights of people with disability. That’s why CBM has supported the PNG Government to better address disability inclusion through improving its legal framework.
CBM worked with the Australian aid program to support progress on a national disability law in PNG. We’ve provided advice throughout the drafting process, and now the law is making its way through Parliament. This is a massive achievement for people with disabilities, and it will provide the foundation for the rights of people with disability to be enforced nationally.
Similarly, CBM has supported the development of a disability policy that will guide the Bougainville local government. Due to the legacy of the Second World War; poor health and early childhood services; and remote populations with poor health access, estimations are that four in every 10 people in Bougainville have some sort of impairment. Having strong and localised policies in place means that everyday issues affecting people with disability will be considered, especially in areas such as access to health, education and employment.
“CBM has been the catalyst for the PNG government recognising that people with disability need better access to law and justice”, one high-level government official said.
CBM has also been active in ensuring that a comprehensive justice program, funded through the Australian aid program, incorporates disability issues – through training of police, court officials and the Justice Department to be better aware of disability issues and the legal framework.
“Discrimination, poverty and low education levels means that people with disability face many challenges when dealing with the police and courts – and face physical challenges in accessing services,” a member of a PNG women’s organisation said.
A person with disability is more likely to be the victim of a crime, and it is much harder for a person with disability to report a crime. CBM’s work in partnership with this justice-focussed DFAT program is challenging this reality and working to bring about real change.