Justice Sector Focuses On Language Barrier

Language that stigmatises and discriminates against people with disability is a huge barrier to equal access to justice services for all Papua New Guineans.

For this reason, addressing language is a key focus of the law and justice sector.

The Law and Justice Sector - Gender Equality, Disability and Social Inclusion Community of Practice (GEDSI CoP) has launched nationwide consultations on a draft Disability Inclusion Communications Guide (the Guide) for government agencies and staff on how to communicate in an inclusive and non-discriminatory way with and about people with disabilities.

The guide, which is developed with support from the Papua New Guinea-Australia Partnership, explains how to communicate respectfully and inclusively in Tok Pisin and English with people with disability.

Speaking at the launch, Disability Sector Coalition representative Ben Theodore highlighted that people with disability currently face enormous barriers in seeking justice and called on government agencies to make their services inclusive for all.

Theodore, who was a police officer blinded during the Bougainville conflict, cited the experience of a young deaf woman survivor of physical abuse who was unable to file a complaint with the police because no one at the station understood sign language.

“People with disabilities, particularly women and girls with disability, are suffering in silence because they are unable to access justice,” Theodore stressed.

He further said if put into practice by agencies, the guide would ensure that officers providing justice services engage with people with disabilities in a respectful and appropriate manner.

The Department of Justice and Attorney General’s Gender Equity, Disability and Social Inclusion (GEDSI) Manager, Teisi Kalamo (a member of the GEDSI CoP), said the draft guide was part of a cross-sector Disability Policy Implementation Plan developed by DJAG to promote inclusiveness and diversity across the Law and Justice System.

Consultations on the draft Disability Inclusive Communications Guide involving law and justice agencies, organisations of persons with disabilities and community organisations are due to commence early this year.

Any persons interested in participating in the consultations are encouraged to contact the Law and Justice GEDSI CoP on ljgedsicopsect@gmail.com or +675 7660 4160.

(Disability advocates and representatives attend the launch of consultations on the draft Disability Inclusive Communications Guide)

Press Release