Author Topic: Cabinet approval for accessibility regulations  (Read 1471 times)

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Offline sithari

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Cabinet approval for accessibility regulations
« on: September 16, 2006, 10:04:22 AM »
Rasika Somarathna

COLOMBO: The accessibility requirements of disabled to common places, public buildings and essential services will become a reality in Sri Lanka, with the amended regulations of the Ministry of Social Services and Social Welfare with regards to accessibility regulations getting the green light from the Cabinet.

Accordingly the design and construction of physical environments and buildings need to be equipped with proper access for the disabled in the future, and the buildings and facilities, which are already in existence have to be modified according to requirement within three years.

In addition steps have to be taken with regards to equity of resources in transport, Education/Vocational training and communication sectors. The notification announcing the amendments is to be gazetted shortly.

Accordingly the Ministry of Social Welfare launched an awareness campaign yesterday to educate the masses and muster the support of all for this worthy cause under the theme of "Accessibility enables everyone".

According to Dr. Ajith Perera about 10% of the total population in Sri Lanka are disabled and more than 20% of the population will soon be senior citizens. The chances of anyone becoming so impaired are now alarmingly high in our society. "The very next victim unexpectedly could easily be you or your loved ones" Dr. Perera said.

Dr. Perera pointed out that every body is a fully fledged citizen of Sri Lanka, as such denial of their fundamental legitimate human rights and freedom was a crime.

"Disability is only a society created problem. We need to focus on empowering them with empathy, not sympathy to get them to be independent, productive and resourceful citizens with considerably improved quality of life", Dr. Perera commented.

According to Dr. Padmini Mendis a member of the WHO, the unemployment ratio among the disabled in the country is 84% and only 14% have access to vocational training. According to a survey only a few public places have accessibility facilities for the disabled.

"So we should make the disadvantaged, partners in national development by providing them conducive environment and opportunities", Dr. Mendis said.

Minister Douglas Devananda who is spearheading the welfare activities of the disabled appealed to all to support this worthy cause, he made a special appeal to the business sector to come forward to assist the short term demonstration project which is to be implemented to coincide with the International Day of the Disabled which falls on December 3.

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