‘Ensure Differently-abled’s Right to Sanitation’

Dec 11th, 2014 | By | Category: Nepal, Sanitation
Representatives from government and non-government agencies as well as social workers today laid emphasis on ensuring legal provisions for persons with disabilities to address their right to water and sanitation with accessible infrastructure, including taps and toilets in private houses, housing colonies and public places.

The representatives said construction of water and sanitation facilities for users with disabilities did not seem mandatory in most public places and private institutions, as a result of which people with disabilities have not been able to be independent.

Speaking at an interaction on ‘Recognising Inclusive WASH Rights to Ensure Dignified Lives of People with Disabilities’ in the capital today, Ram Chandra Devkota, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Urban Development, said, “The government has formulated disabled-friendly water and sanitation policies, however, lacks the drive to implement them.”

He urged government officials, civil societies, development partners and private institutions to come together through public-private partnership scheme in constructing disabled-friendly infrastructure.

“The standard of disabled-friendly infrastructure should be followed by regular monitoring,” he said, adding, “Access to safe water and sanitation facilities should be mandatory in development works as well.” He said disabled-friendly toilets and water facilities are necessary infrastructure to ease daily activities of the elderly, children and pregnant women, besides people with disability.

Amrita Gyawali, Equity and Inclusion Consultant at WaterAid Nepal, informed that there are 61 public toilets in Kathmandu and none of them is disabled-friendly. “Priority has not been given to construction of water and sanitation facilities for users with disabilities in most public and private institutions,” she said.

Similarly, in rural context, access to water and sanitation for people with disabilities is more critical because of geographical location, practice of open defecation and lack of safe water.

“The growing number of public buildings in urban areas do not have ramps and wheelchair accessible toilets either,” she said.

The representatives of various business houses, media houses, academia and public institutions jointly made an appeal to commit to establishing disabled-friendly sanitation and water infrastructures by 2017.
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