Senator Jewel Taylor, an ECOWAS Parliamentarian representing Liberia, has called on ECOWAS and other international communities to design more programmes to assist persons with disabilities in Africa.
Taylor, who is also the wife of former Liberian President, Charles Taylor, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.
According to her, ECOWAS has not really done much to tackle issues affecting them.
Taylor, a member of ECOWAS female Parliamentarian Association (ECOFEPA), said that persons with disabilities could contribute to the development and economic transformation of the sub-region.
“We must now move to the next level to talk about disadvantaged and discriminated groups which include handicapped members of our society.
“Even in my country, we have a very small programme for handicaps, and many people don’t send their children there because it is not fully funded.
“But as we continue to work, we must now make sure that enough funding is put to take care of these ones who cannot even take care of themselves.
“Our governments, ECOWAS, the International community must do a lot more to ensure that those people are taken care of.
“And it will take a lot of work and a lot of lobbying for us to find additional support, because they should not be left behind.’’
She also called on member states to fully implement the protocol on child labour.
She said that children were still seen doing work and other chores beyond their capabilities such as working in mines, plantations and selling, among others.
The parliamentarian said that the worst forms of child labour in West Africa were exhibited in the involvement of children in armed conflicts, commercial sexual exploitation and child trafficking.
According to her, parents should desist from involving children in economic activities that negatively affect their well-being.
She was the responsibility of parents to provide for their children.
Taylor said that child labour, especially its worst forms, had posed a major challenge in the fields of human rights and human development in ECOWAS countries.
She listed some of the consequences of the practice to include; the exclusion of children from enrolment in schools and high dropout rate.
Others included youth unemployment, poverty, instability, which in turn was a serious hindrance in the development of the region, Taylor said.