Organisations petition parliament to lobby for African Disability Protocol

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By Darlington Gatsi

ORGANISATIONS representing people with disabilities have petitioned Parliament to crank up pressure on the government to adopt the African Disability Protocol (ADP).

The ADP Legal framework established in 2018 addresses forms of discrimination faced by people with disabilities. It was adopted by the Executive Council of the African Union.

Since 2018 only five African countries – Angola, Burundi, Kenya, Mali and Rwanda – have ratified with at least 15 member countries required for ADP to be enforced.

Deaf Zimbabwe Trust executive director Barbra Nyangairi said the ratification of the ADP by Zimbabwe will go a long way in assisting the country to address inequality and discrimination against people with disabilities.

“Zimbabwe was one of the first countries to have disability legislation in 1992. Zimbabwe has been a trailblazer in regards to the disability rights. Many times disability in Africa is associated with negative and cultural issues.

“From this harmful cultural practices are dealt with in the ADP and we are looking at how we ensure that Zimbabwe also weighs in and ensure that ADP becomes a law and practice in the continent,” said Nyangairi.

The petition submitted  to parliament has 2 000 signatures appended for it to lobby the government to ratify ADP.

People with disabilities have been subject to stigma in African communities, in extreme cases some being killed.

ADP framework seeks to protect people with disabilities from these harmful cultural tendencies.

Deaf Zimbabwe Trust programmes officer Paidamoyo Chimhini weighed in saying they are buoyant that the lobby will be fruitful as the parliamentary caucus on disability had made great strides in representing the disabled in the national assembly.

“We have confidence in Parliament to push the agenda of people with disabilities. Parliament has made some strides in addressing the disability Issues.

“Zimbabwe is one of the few countries that have adopted sign language as one of the 16 official languages and we would like to continue upholding rights of people living with disabilities,” said Chimhini.