By Ritah Kemigisa
The Minister for Persons with disabilities Grace Asamo has urged government to prioritise sign language in the country as a basic human right for all persons with hearing impairments.
The call comes at a time Uganda is joining the rest of the world to commemorate the Deaf awareness week which is marked every third week of the month of September.
Appearing on Morning at NTV show, Minister Asamo said many of the deaf people have been victims of sexual and Gender based violence and have not been helped and for some of the reported cases, justice has delayed due to communication challenges arising from lack of sign interpreters.
“I want government to take the issue of sign language as a very critical area to help people with hearing impairment to gain their rights. If i am sexually harassed, if i go police, i should find a sign language interpreter at the counter,” says Asamo.
Asamo has now tasked the police force and public service to ensure sign language interpreters are recruited in all ministries to ensure the people with hearing disabilities get the help they need.
Relatedly Dr Edson Muhwezi, the assistant UNFPA representative says the deaf people just like other members of the community have similar rights and equal access to all services without any discrimination.
It is from this that he asks government to prioritize rights of people with hearing disabilities including sign interpreters.
“The bottom-line is to make sure that there is equality and inclusiveness in all services provided to the deaf and they are treated with dignity,” says Mr Muhwezi.