Persons with disabilities have made calls for realization of their rights by advocating for an environment that promotes their full inclusion and active participation as equal members of the family, community and society.
This came out during the roundtable meeting held at Crown Plaza Hotel in Harare meant to scale up African commitment and efforts towards realizing the rights of persons with disabilities.
In a speech read on her behalf, Vice President Joyce Mujuru said the meeting organized by the African Disability Alliance in partnership with the government of Zimbabwe would culminate in the domestication of provisions of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (ICRPD) by individual countries.
“The coming of the ICRPD as the first human rights convention of the 21st century bears testimony to how critical it had become necessary for a legally binding instrument to guarantee comprehensive protection of the right of persons with disabilities,” Mujuru said.
Zimbabwe ratified this Convention on the 23rd of September 2013. The Convention is intended to strengthen the rights of persons with disabilities as fundamental human rights.
“The provision of the ICRPD of ensuring equal rights to persons with disabilities through elaborating in detail the rights of persons with disabilities and setting out a code of implementation calls upon countries to address challenges hindering disabled people in their pursuit of development,” Mujuru said.
Mujuru added that government’s commitment for mainstreaming disability is evident in the fields of inclusive education, physical rehabilitation and vocational training.
Africa Disability Alliance chief executive officer Kudakwashe Dube praised the government of Zimbabwe for providing a quota for women and disabled persons in Parliament but said there was room to contain more people with disabilities.
Annah Shiri, the senator representing people living with disabilities said she was encouraged by being included on the committee of the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus and the thematic committee of gender and community development.
Speaking on the same occasion, Miriam Chikukwa, the minister of state for Harare province said there was need to continue strengthening enabling services to meet the specific needs of individuals with impairments and incorporate gender as a part of every programme element.
She added that there was need to make disabled persons concerns and challenges the key background to design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of government policies.