The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) on Wednesday said it had written to Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera recommending him to make a budgetary allocation to make state buildings and transport accessible to persons with disabilities, keeping in line with the country’s laws as well as international obligations.
In its letter, as reported by Xinhua news agency, the HRCSL said that during the past three years the commission had engaged in numerous activities to ensure persons with disabilities had access to public buildings and transport.
It said several training programmes were conducted in collaboration of the Human Rights Commission of Australia along with audits of public buildings to assess disability accessibility.
The HRCSL said Sri Lanka was a state party to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and has undertaken international legal obligations to enable persons with disabilities to access facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. (IANS)
A new report by leading health and safety agencies finds millions of sanitation workers in Developing Countries are forced to work under horrific conditions that put their health and lives at risk.
Sanitation workers everywhere occupy the lowest rung of society and are stigmatized and marginalized because they do the dirty work that other people do not want to do.
The report’s authors – the International Labor Organization, the World Health Organization, the World Bank and Water Aid – say they hope to raise awareness on the plight of sanitation workers and the dehumanizing conditions under which they are forced to work. For example, the report says that many sanitation workers aren’t given the safety training or equipment needed to protect them when handling effluent or fecal sludge.
World Health Organization spokesman Christian Lindmeier says sanitation workers make an important contribution to public health at the risk of their own lives. Poor sanitation, he says, causes more than 430,000 deaths from diarrhea every year and is linked to the spread of other diseases such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid, hepatitis A and polio.
“Sanitation workers are the people who work in jobs such as cleaning toilets, emptying pits and septic tanks, cleaning sewage and manholes and operating pumping stations and treatment plants.… Waste must be correctly treated before being disposed of or used. However, workers often come into direct contact with human waste, working with no equipment or no protection to remove it by hand which exposes them to a long list of health hazards and diseases,” Lindmeier said.
Authors of the report say sanitation workers in developing countries largely operate in the informal sector. They labor under abusive conditions, have no rights or social protections and are poorly paid.
The study calls on countries to rectify these wrongs. It urges governments to enact laws and regulations that improve working conditions for sanitation workers and protect their safety and health. It says sanitation workers must be given the equipment and training necessary for the safe, proper disposal of waste. (VOA)