The African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights has called on African countries to ratify the Africa Disability Protocol and to commit themselves to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities living in their respective countries.
The commission made the call through the Working Group on the Rights of Older Persons and People with Disabilities in Africa in commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 2020.
The Working Group also noted that the ratification of the ADP must go hand-in-hand with the necessity that work towards developing programming and implementation strategies must be commenced without delay.
The Working Group explained that “it is worth noting that having adopted the Protocol to the African Charter for Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with disabilities (Africa Disability Protocol or ADP), the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) through its Working Group on the Rights of Older Persons and People with Disabilities in Africa championed the adoption of the Protocol in all Member States of the African Union.
“The Africa Disability Protocol was subsequently adopted by the Summit of AU Heads of States and Governments on 29th January 2018. An accompanying draft Model Disability Law (MDL) was developed and adopted by the Pan African Parliament (PAP) on 19th October 2019.
“The MDL will facilitate the domestication of the Africa Disability Protocol in the AU Member States once adopted by the AU Summit of Heads of States and Governments.”
The working group also tasked countries to promote the understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for ensuring the dignity, rights and well-being of Persons with Disabilities.
Speaking on the theme for this IDPD “Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 World”, the Working Group said the theme “recognises the fact that the COVID 19 pandemic has affected all population groups at all levels of society without discrimination.”
The Working Group, therefore, calls upon all African countries to ensure that mainstreaming strategies are put in place in all sectors of government in to fully accommodate persons with disabilities in COVID 19 response strategies and stimulus packages.
Furthermore, the Working Group calls on all African countries to prioritise disability interventions, strategies and programmes, at all times avoiding the cutting of budgets for programmes and services of benefit to persons with disabilities.