Liberia is one of the least developed countries in the world. Liberia was brutalised by more than a decade of civil war, leaving many people without limbs. The war has also left a lasting legacy in the country.
Some Facts about Liberia:
- 16% of the population has some sort of disability
- 99% of people with disabilities live in extreme poverty, compared to 48% of Liberian population as a whole
- Only one third of primary school age children are enrolled in school
Exclusion from basic rights such as education, work and income generating activities has led to 99% of people with disabilities living in extreme poverty. Many face barriers such as stigma, inaccessible infrastructure, exclusion from education and a lack of representation in the law. This means that individuals are socially marginalised, above average unemployment and face higher rates of illiteracy.
In addition, it is estimated that Liberia is more than years behind the Millennium Development Goals targets to reach universal primary and secondary education. One in six children aren’t enrolled in primary school, the highest proportion in the world. This increases children’s exposure to abuse and exploitation as well as affecting their possibility to move out of poverty.
Liberia has taken some legislative steps towards inclusion for disabilities by signing and ratifying:
- UN convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- UN convention on the Rights of the Child
- The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights
- The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
There have been effective lobbying schemes by disability groups in Liberia meaning that disabled individuals are often included in wider national poverty alleviation schemes. Labour law is one of the few areas with specific legislation e.g. disability pension for insured workers, target of 4% employment quota for persons with disabilities and tax income incentives.
However, legal protection is still weak and there is no guarantee that legislation enforced in practice. Supporting ELoH’s work means breaking down some of these barriers such as access to healthcare and education.
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