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Civil society has petitioned parliament to ratify the African Disability Protocol

Story by Patience Nyagato

THE local civil society has petitioned parliament to ratify the African Disability Protocol, which seeks to address unique challenges faced by persons with disabilities in Africa.

The African Disability Protocol complements the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) which Zimbabwe is a signatory.

The protocol recognizes other forms of disability including albinism and introduces new rights that reflect on the African culture including addressing issues of ritual killings something that was not contained in the UNCRPD.

NASCO Acting Director Mr Henry Masaya noted, ‘‘We want our government to ratify the Africa disability protocol. The Africa Disability Protocol is not a competition with the protocol of the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities but it complements the provisions of the UNCRPD. The Africa Disability Protocol tries to recognize the fundamental rights of people with disabilities and promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities in various facets of life.’’

Sight Savers Country Director Mr. Peter Bare said, ‘‘There are quite a number of issues which were not covered by the CRPD, which the Africa Disability Protocol is trying to address, including issues of poverty, issues of ritual killings which are very common in the African continent, so the African disability protocol contextualizes issues that are unique in Africa.’’

The Parliamentary Caucus on Disability, which received the petition on the protocol, believes the ratification is attainable.

Parliamentary Caucus on Disability Chairperson Honourable Josiah Sithole noted, ‘‘We are ready to take the document to parliament for the tabling of the protocol for debate in parliament.’’

Zimbabwe is among some of the African countries that have made positive strides toward disability rights.

Deaf Zimbabwe Trust Programmes Manager Ms Paidamoyo Chimhini said, ‘‘So far we have seen positive strides towards disability rights, for example, we have seen the setting up of a disability caucus in parliament where we are having parliamentarians who champion disability rights. There is an appetite in the country towards the inclusion of persons with disabilities.’’

The African Disability Protocol is expected to strengthen legislation on the rights of people with disabilities.

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