Sightsavers’ Equal World Campaign in partnership with the African Union and the African Disability Forum has urged governments and leaders in Africa to adopt the African Disability Protocol (ADP) and ensure the rights of people with disabilities are upheld.
In a press release issued by Sightsavers, the organisations noted that the human rights protocol addresses all forms of discrimination that specifically impact people with disabilities in Africa. It supplements the provisions of the existing African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.
In relation to Nigeria, the groups believe the Procol could lead the way and that it needs to be adopted by the Federal Executive Council and endorsed by the National Assembly.
Sightsavers Nigeria Country Director Dr Sunday Isiyaku said, “We are so close to making this critical step forward in protecting the rights and dignity of people with disabilities in Nigeria. Now, more than ever, we must ensure that those who the pandemic has disproportionately impacted are prioritised and protected.
Also, the Executive Secretary National Commission for Persons with Disability, Mr James David Lalu, said, “This treaty is a vital instrument in tackling discrimination and inequality and improving the lives of millions of people with disabilities. While assuring that Nigeria, before the end of this month, shall sign the treaty and the ratification process shall follow suit. “Nigeria must take the leadership at these critical times”.
Lalu assured, “We are counting on Nigeria to step up and take the lead in creating a safer, more accessible Africa.”
The African Disability Protocol was adopted in 2018 by the African Union to address forms of discrimination affecting people with disabilities living in African countries. It is an additional protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (1981) to set standards and promote and protect human rights in Africa. For the protocol to come into force, at least 15 member states must sign and ratify it. So far, Angola, Burundi, Kenya, Mali and Rwanda have ratified, and several others are nearly there.