The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) and the Africa Disability Alliance (ADA) are set to embark on regional consultative meetings aimed at paving way for an African Model Disability Law. The consultative engagements will be held from 7 to 13 April 2019 in Morocco and Kenya.
These consultations follow the adoption of a resolution of a Draft Model Law on Disability by members of the PAP during the first Ordinary Session of the fifth Parliament which took place from 18 October to 02 November 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda. The resolution also called for thorough regional consultations to obtain input from African citizens from all background as well as civil society organisations and other relevant stakeholders before the finalisation of the Model Law.
Hon. Roger NKODO DANG, President of the PAP is adamant that these consultations will set the stage for a continental legislative framework that will promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities in line with the objectives of the African Union which advocate for social inclusion, equality, non-discrimination and representation of people living with disabilities.
“The urgency of creating an inclusive environment for persons with disabilities on our continent requires that we follow up on the commitment made in Kigali to engage with Africans from all walks of life. This is a crucial step in formulating a law that encompasses all the aspects of this subject matter. We are resolute to make significant efforts to improve the plight of disabled persons as this is linked to PAP’s human rights mandate, and we believe collaboration with organizations such as ADA will strengthen our ability to advance this agenda,” says Hon. Nkodo DANG.
Spearheaded by the PAP Permanent Committees on Gender, Family, Youth and People with Disability and on Health, Labour and Social Affairs, the consultative meetings are supported by the Department of Social Affairs at the African Union Commission and will be expected to dwell on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities under the UN and African Human Rights Systems; mainstreaming disability in Development Policy and Programming in Africa; and legislative challenges and opportunities from a country perspective among others.
In January 2018, the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government adopted the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa. During the consultative engagements, the delegation will also seek to mobilize support for the ratification of this instrument which will mark an important step towards recognising the equal dignity of persons with disabilities on the continent.
The Draft Model Disability Law is a continental framework that encompasses the domestic implementation of disability rights in line with international and regional instruments. The upcoming consultations are in line with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between PAP and ADA in 2016 which provides for the sensitisation of Members of PAP on disability advocacy and mainstreaming and the strengthening of their knowledge and capacity on disability inclusion and development in their role as African legislators.
The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) is the legislative organ of the African Union, established as a platform to represent the voices of all the African peoples and the interests of the African Diaspora. As such, one of its core functions is to promote all AU legal instruments and principles of human and peoples’ rights. In discharging its mandate, the PAP is working in close collaboration with the civil societies and community based-organisation as well as grassroots organisations. Its mandate is to ensure the effective participation of the peoples of Africa in the integration and economic development of the continent. This is achieved through, among other things, ensuring the harmonisation of laws and policies to protect the interests and rights of every group of the society, especially the vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities. The PAP wishes to acknowledge the generous support from, and continuous collaboration with, the Africa Disability Alliance.
The Africa Disability Alliance (ADA) is a disability-led technical agency that works on and utilises a broad range of policy tools in disability programming and implementation processes. The organisation has successfully used international relations and diplomacy to add value to policy formulation and implementation processes within the AU and its organs, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and governments in Africa. The organisation’s continental Board and Secretariat are comprised by a majority of persons with disabilities. The ADA’s vision is that of an African continent where persons with disabilities enjoy their human rights, while its mission is to be an African knowledge-based organisation that works in partnership with the AU, African governments, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Disabled People Organisations (DPOs).