Disable Groups Advocate For Involvement In Sudan Referendum

Persons with physical disabilities in the semi-autonomous South Sudan have called for full inclusion in the referendum processes.

The resolution was passed at a recent training workshop organised by the Deng Foundation for nine groups of the disabled last Friday in Juba.

Those who spoke at the meeting said the disabled have been greatly marginalised in national activities since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005.

The Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of the Deng Foundation Daniel Deng said that during the 2008 National Sudan Census and subsequent general elections in April 2010, the persons with disabilities were left out and their issues not addressed.

He explained that because of the sidelining the disabled were unable to cast their votes during the elections like the rest of the people.

“This is discrimination and therefore isolation of others in a society which is said to be democratic”, he said. We are advocating for the inclusion of persons with disability in the democratic society”.

He decried that up to date there is no body governing persons who are visually impaired and physically disabled.

“It is a struggle every where in the world for the persons with disabilities to be involved in all national issues. My foundation will work hard to ensure that all persons with physical disability are brought in to participate in all the national activities of the country”, said Deng.

The workshop trained the literate persons with disabilities on how to sensitise the rest in the region on the referendum registration and voting processes.

Deng described the referendum as crucial to South Sudanese and called for the participation of everyone in the society.

He appealed to the Government of Southern Sudan and the United Nations to support the persons with physical disabilities in South Sudan in the areas of logistics, information dissemination among others with regards to the referendum.

An estimated 10 percent of South Sudan’s population are physically disabled with 1.5million being visually impaired.

Deng Foundation was established in 2002 in the United States of America and in Sudan in November 2009 by a South Sudanese Daniel Deng.

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