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HomeNEWSCCD Seeks Enhancing Disability Rights and Access to Justice in Lagos State

CCD Seeks Enhancing Disability Rights and Access to Justice in Lagos State

Lagos, Nigeria – June 6, 2024:

In a significant move towards promoting equal rights and justice for persons with disabilities (PWDs), the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) today organized a highly impactful press conference in Lagos State. The event, which brought together disability cluster leaders, media houses, and disability advocates, aimed at reaffirming the rights of PWDs to access justice on an equal basis with others.

The press conference underscored the urgency and importance of addressing the barriers that PWDs face in their quest for justice. Ms. Christiana Njoku, a leading voice in disability advocacy, delivered a compelling statement highlighting the critical need for inclusive legal systems. “Access to justice is one of the seventeen sustainable development goals of the United Nations which aims at promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels,” she stated.

Njoku emphasized that equal access to justice is not just a legal requirement but a fundamental human right. “Equal access to justice is a fundamental human right that underpins the functioning of a fair and inclusive society. However, persons with disabilities often encounter significant barriers when seeking justice, leading to a system that can be inherently unequal,” she noted.

A cross of the participants after the Press Conference

Her statement drew attention to both international and national frameworks designed to protect the rights of PWDs, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and Nigeria’s own Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018. These laws stress the need for unrestricted access to justice for PWDs, ensuring they are treated on an equal basis with others.

Njoku also referenced the Lagos State Special Peoples’ Law (LSSPL), which explicitly prohibits any form of discrimination against individuals with disabilities. She quoted the law: “No person with disability shall be discriminated against on the ground of his or her disability by any person or institution in any manner or circumstances whatsoever.” She emphasized that ensuring equal access to justice is not just about adhering to legal norms but also about fulfilling a moral obligation to create a society where every individual, regardless of their abilities, can seek and receive justice without discrimination.

Throughout the conference, participants shared their personal experiences and the challenges they face in accessing justice. These stories brought to light the systemic issues within the judicial system that often prevent PWDs from obtaining fair treatment. Participants expressed a strong resolve to undertake initiatives that would enhance access to justice for PWDs. These initiatives are seen as crucial steps in dismantling the barriers and creating a more inclusive legal system.

The CCD’s initiative is supported by Voice, an advocacy organization committed to amplifying the voices of marginalized groups, including PWDs. Voice’s involvement underscores the importance of collaborative efforts in advocating for and implementing changes that will benefit the disability community.

This conference marks a pivotal moment in the fight for disability rights in Lagos State. It calls on the government, legal institutions, and society at large to recognize and address the inequities faced by PWDs. The discussions and commitments made at this conference are expected to drive significant changes in policies and practices, ensuring that PWDs have the same opportunities to seek justice as everyone else.

As the conference concluded, the message was clear: the journey towards achieving equal access to justice for PWDs is far from over, but with continued advocacy, collaboration, and determination, a fairer and more inclusive society is within reach. The CCD and its partners remain steadfast in their mission to break down the barriers that hinder PWDs, ensuring that justice is truly accessible to all.

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