The Working Group on the Rights of Older Persons and Persons with Disabilities in Africa (the Working Group) of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) joins today 3rd December 2016, the whole world in celebrating the 2016 edition of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD).
The theme of 2016 for the celebrations of this International Day dedicated to Persons with Disabilities reads “Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want” and speaks to how the concerns and issues facing Persons with Disabilities would be tackled in the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals, which are the major agenda of the world aiming at ending all forms of poverty, fighting inequalities and addressing climate change, within the 15 coming years starting from 2016.
The Working Group notes with satisfaction that core challenges hindering the full enjoyment of all their rights by Persons with Disabilities on an equal basis with others, are covered in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These include a strong stand against discrimination based on disability, the commitment to provide quality education, offering all necessary reasonable accommodations for Persons with Disabilities, enabling them to access employment and all tools for their effective and total inclusion in society, the commitment to work toward making cities and settlements as well as other facilities like transports systems inclusive and disability-friendly. The goals also underscore the necessity for States to gather reliable and accurate disaggregated data to be utilised in achieving all targets envisioned in the Sustainable Development Goals, including disaggregated data relative to Persons with Disabilities which is critical in mainstreaming rights of Persons with Disabilities.
While expressing its full support and best wishes as well as commitment to contribute to the realisation of these goals generally and specifically in the area of concerns to Persons with Disabilities, the Working Group seizes this occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities to inform the general public that the Draft Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa (Draft Protocol), which it worked on, has been adopted by the Commission and transmitted to the African Union Commission where it is currently undergoing the treaty-making process of the Union of which the most recent milestone has been the experts validation workshop held from 29 to 30 November 2016 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at which the Draft Protocol was validated and would move to the next critical steps of the treaty-making process of the African Union.
The Working Group recalls that this projected major legal framework for the protection of the rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa would offer specific and stronger guarantees against violations of basic rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa. This would reinstate their dignity as equal members of their families, communities and States in which their full inclusion would be based on structural and institutional settings provided in the Protocol for this purpose.
The Working Group commends all stakeholders involved in the adoption process of an African treaty on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for their relentless efforts toward the effectiveness of this goal.
The Working Group wishes all persons with disabilities a happy celebration.
Done in Banjul, the Islamic Republic of The Gambia, on 3rd December 2016