Discrimination complaints flood disability cases

Rose-Mary Haufiku

People with disabilities face an array of challenges traversing daily barriers, but must also overcome discrimination on many levels. The government now regularly receives complaints and requests for intervention.

Highlighting the multiple forms of discrimination against persons with disabilities in a panel discussion on February 24, the Deputy Minister of Disability Affairs, Alexia Manombe-Ncube, explained how persons with disabilities suffer due to their disability , race and sex.

Multiple forms of discrimination means discrimination against a person on the basis of more than one ground. The Deputy Minister revealed that people with disabilities are often victims of discrimination and that at least three people report being victims of discrimination on a daily basis.

She explained that discrimination makes it more difficult to participate in daily life. It can affect educational and employment opportunities and limit social interactions.

“Awareness raising is a key aspect in combating these discriminatory practices,” Manombe-Ncube suggested. Conscious people are less likely to discriminate. If disability concerns are mainstreamed in all offices, ministries, organizations and institutions, it will open people’s minds and hearts.

The president of the association of the deaf, Beata Armas, agreed with Manombe-Ncube that people with disabilities face discrimination, adding that the majority of their problems are related to education. She said they too want to be educated but cannot because of their disability.

Armas further stated that their problems have existed for years and nothing has been done to solve them until now. She also said that they sometimes want to study to become nurses or doctors, but are always told that they cannot because of their disability.

“You will find disabled people who may want to become a nurse, but then they will say to you: no, you have a disability, how would you learn or how would you become a nurse or why would you want to become a nurse if you are disabled”, she said.

She said they face challenges not only in the education sector but also in the job market. She said that in most cases, people with disabilities are not considered for leadership positions in companies and are instead relegated to menial jobs.

“You will never find a person with a disability in a leadership position, often we are given junior jobs and sometimes we are qualified, we have the skills, we have the experience but yet we will not get any senior positions in an organizational chart” , Armas said.

She said that in Namibia, most organizations only hire people who are not disabled. Consequently, they feel isolated and discriminated against wherever they go.

2022-03-07 Staff reporter

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