OUR RIGHTS HAVE BEEN SOLD OUT

Response to Mrs Daureeawoo’s article published on September 11: The draft Disability Bill should be published because we are equally part of the state as disabled citizens of the Republic of Mauritius and it is important for us to know how our rights and future are being formulated.
Notwithstanding the three decades of betrayal whereby politicians have enjoyed taking us for a ride for their own interest resulting in more than twenty five years of lateness in terms of disability empowerment and the evolution of disability rights, I remain open to important public debates in the supreme interest of shaping the way towards a contemporary evolution of disability rights in Mauritius.  The response of Mrs Daureeawoo to my open letter is a living proof that there is currently a deep need to influence a change of mindset of our politicians towards disability rights.  The principal area of concern and stand of the UN Committee as highlighted in the report available in the link provided by the minister has put Mauritius to shame with the following averment - “The Committee is also concerned about the use of derogatory language against persons with disabilities throughout laws, policies and discourse. The Committee is further concerned that achievements obtained through the implementation of the 2007 Action Plan on Disability are unclear and that persons with disabilities have not been consulted in the development of the draft Disability Bill and the Strategy Paper and Action Plan on Disability 2015-2020”.  The United Nations committee has somewhat confirmed what I have been voicing out for more than a decade, that is “OUR RIGHTS HAVE BEEN SOLD OUT”.
No reliable information is yet available regarding who at the Ministry has prepared the draft Disability Bill.  Who are the people at the ministry who have participated in the development of the draft Disability Bill?  Is the Draft Disability Bill similar to the successful American with Disabilities Act which was enacted twenty five years ago in America or is it just similar to the Training and Employment of Disabled Persons Board (TEDPB) Act which represents a disgraceful step forward and two steps backward?  So far I have no idea about what is written in this Draft Disability Bill but the concern of the United Nations Committee is itself indicative that we need to put the required pressure to ensure that we are not taken for a ride again.  In order to maximize transparency and efficiency, it is of utmost importance to have both the Action Plan 2015-2020 and the draft Disability Bill published on the website of the Ministry thereby making them publicly available for consultations, transparent monitoring and reactions to support improvement because the vetting of the SLO is only technical and is focused on the legal field.  In line with fair practices and managerial efficiency, we need a specific timeline of about six months for the public consultations, public research, public submission, official development, parliamentary enactment of the Bill and Presidential assent as we cannot just wander around without a specific strategic plan that will probably lead towards the accumulation of unjustified delay. My propositions reflect the genuine requirement of a true democracy, that is power to the people and for the people, because a draft Disability Bill conducted by the government and members of the ministry without an adequate participation that reflects the voice of the people with disabilities of Mauritius does not tally with our constitutional requirement for democracy given that we constitutionally stand as a sovereign democratic state;  moreover it is in breach of the essence of our Conventional rights; that is “NOTHING FOR US WITHOUT US”.  In my view, this inefficiency makes the draft Disability Bill ANTI-CONSTITUTIONAL in the light of the fact that the inefficient Draft Disability Bill is likely to lead towards situations that will expose our Disability Rights Management System to abuse of power, thereby undermining the constitutional essence of our democracy.  I am therefore requesting the minister to move for the formulation and development of a fresh draft Disability Bill  through the participation of people with disabilities of the Republic of Mauritius.  My stand is more than clear.
It is my duty as a Disability Inclusive Human Rights Activist to put the required pressure for things to move the right way.  My role is not only to criticize the managerial inefficiency of the disability right dossier but equally to praise any managerial efficiency that is likely to support disability empowerment, this is the essence of disability activism.  Actually I am only questioning and trying to push for concrete actions for disability empowerment whereby the enactment of a contemporary Disability Bill remain the priority of all priorities.  While I have no reason to doubt about the commitment and stand of Mrs Daureeawoo to lead her Ministry relentlessly towards the strengthening of Disability Rights and the welfare of Disabled Persons, I remain however very much concerned in regard to the future of people with disabilities in Mauritius.  The main question that is taunting my mind is whether Mrs Daureeawoo will genuinely fulfill the averments contained in the last words of her response to me or whether she will just manage her Ministry the same way like her predecessor?  This, only time will tell and on my behalf I have no choice but to hope for the best towards a disability friendly Mauritius.  One thing is however sure, you will hear from me again because I mean business.