Nearly one million people in PNG have some form of disability, with only two percent having access to public services, says Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC) Secretary Dr. Mange Matui.
“Out of the 976, 500 estimated persons with disability, 30,000 people have hearing impairment,” Dr. Matui said.
He said it was a wake-up call for government officers to know such vital facts to enable them to develop suitable policies and programs that can also impact the lives of these people.
Dr. Matui was speaking at a workshop that marked the International Sign Languages Day on the 23rd of September 2022 under the theme: “Sign Language Unite Us”
“The day helps to promote Sign Languages as the fourth language which have been accorded equal status as any other spoken languages,” he said.
He said the intention of the government was for Sign Language to be used in all aspects of life and in government programs.
Dr. Matui said the day reminded the public service to give prominence to sign language interpreters as well, as awareness on the rights, privileges, challenges, and needs of persons with hearing impairment increase.
Dr. Matui said the event was the first for a government sector particularly, the Law and Justice Sector GEDSI (Gender, Equity, Disability, and Social Inclusion) Community of Practice to host with the support of PNG Disability Association, the Australian High Commissioner, and Justice Services and Stability for Development (JSS4D)
He thanked those stakeholders and other partners for the partnership and support.
“To take back PNG, we must all work together to take back our people first from all forms of violence, depressions and suppressions by creating enabling environment where they can progress and actively participate in the economic, social, political and cultural life of the nation,” he said.