Thandeka Moyo, Chronicle Reporter
ZIMBABWE has endorsed the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities protocol, a move that will entrench the rights of people living with disabilities.
The protocol which was drafted in 2016 was endorsed during the just ended 28th African Union Summit. The summit was held from 22 to 31 January in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
According to the draft protocol which now has to be ratified by Zimbabwe’s parliament, State parties shall take appropriate and effective measures to ensure, protect and promote the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities.
It also says there must be no discrimination on the basis of disability.
“State parties will work towards modifying, outlawing, criminalising or campaigning against, as appropriate, any harmful practice applied to persons with disabilities. They will also take measures to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability by any person, organisation or private enterprise,” reads the document.
President Mnangagwa’s special advisor on Disability Issues Cde Joshua Malinga said yesterday the endorsement is a great step to safeguarding the rights of people with disabilities.
“As people with disabilities, we recognise the efforts by the African Union but primarily we wish the Government would first domesticate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
“This needs to be domesticated into our own laws followed by the African and the Sadc regional protocols which will ensure that we are treated with dignity,” said Cde Malinga.
“In definition, disability is determined by my relationship with the environment and is normally imposed on us by the society. For example, I cannot access the Bulawayo High Court because up to now it still has no ramp meaning it’s not accessible. We hope to see such changes in how society views and treats us.” — @thamamoe