Governments and decision-makers in African Union Member States are being urged to ratify the treaty that protects the rights of people with disabilities.
Sightsavers’ Equal World campaign, in partnership with the African Union and the African Disability Forum, is launching a new regional campaign on October 29th calling for the ratification of the African Disability Protocol.
Campaigners across the continent are using the hashtag #RatifyTheADP on social media to influence decision makers in key countries. The human rights protocol addresses forms of discrimination that specifically impact people with disabilities living in Africa. It supplements the provisions of the existing African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.
Many people with disabilities living in African countries face specific forms of discrimination – for example, people with albinism in some African countries are at risk of being kidnapped, injured or murdered as their body parts are seen as having magical properties. In other countries, there are widespread misconceptions that disability is a curse or punishment.
*Lefhoko Kesamang, Senior Social Welfare Officer at the African Union Commission, said: * “We are so close to making this critical step forward in protecting the rights and dignity of people with disabilities in Africa.
“This treaty is a vital instrument in tackling discrimination and inequality and improving the lives of millions of people with disabilities.
“We call upon African Governments to step up and take the lead in creating a safer, more accessible Africa, in line with the vision AU Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030.”
Grace Antwi-Atsu, Senior Global Advisor for Sightsavers, said: “People with disabilities continue to suffer the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever we urge governments across the continent to take immediate action to protect disability rights by ratifying the ADP. They must take every necessary step – now – to make sure no one in Africa is left behind.”
The African Disability Protocol was adopted in 2018 by the African Union, to address forms of discrimination affecting people with disabilities living in African countries. For the protocol to come into force, at least 15 member states must sign and ratify it. So far Angola, Burundi, Kenya, Mali and Rwanda have, and several others are nearly there. The Protocol is an additional protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (1981) to set standards and promote and protect human rights in Africa. It aligns with the globally recognised United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which guarantees all people with disabilities their human rights on an equal basis with others.