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By Wasita Royal

A community leader, Dickson Kondaul raised concern on what he referred to as an exclusion of Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWD) from the National Census.

He shared this concern after noting that the Census Team that came and interviewed him and his family, never asked if they had PLWD in their family.

Mr. Kondaul is a steadfast advocate for inclusivity and social justice in Rabaul, East New Britain Province.

“A very special group of people with special needs are being ignored. This needs to be corrected if I am wrong here,” he said.

 “The disability section was not accommodated in the census form to indicate the People Living with Disabilities. Could this be a technical error that was overlooked in the production of the documents? These are a special group of people covered by law and have the right to be counted in with special consideration for the government’s planning purposes,” Mr. Kondaul added.

Mr. Kondaul now calls for an immediate action to rectify the oversight and ensure that PLWD are properly represented in future data collection efforts. He has urged that NSO and relevant government agencies collaborate with disability advocacy organizations to design inclusive data collection strategies that can capture the full spectrum of the population.

As East New Britain Province grapples with the implications of this, it is evident that there is still much work to be done to create a truly inclusive and representative census process. The spotlight is now on the government and the NSO to acknowledge and address this oversight, demonstrating a commitment to upholding the rights and dignity of all members of the community, including Persons Living with Disabilities.

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