Regional consultations open with calls for the ratification of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights

 

 

The first phase of the regional consultation process on the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Model Disability Law took place in Rabat, Morocco from 08 to 09 April 2019. The consultations between PAP, Africa Disability Alliance and stakeholders from Northern Africa resulted in the adoption of the proposed legislation.

The consultations are being undertaken by the PAP and ADA with the support of the African Union Commission following the adoption of a resolution of a Draft Model Law on Disability by members of the PAP in October 2018. Chaired by Hon. Simplice Zingas, Chairperson of the PAP Committee on Health, the meeting in Rabat mobilized civil society organizations working on the issue of disability, human rights activists, youth leaders, academics, donors, government representatives and media from Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria.

 “The aim of these consultative meetings is to facilitate effective engagement with the Draft Model Disability Law by the key stakeholders from the various African regions dealing with the disability issue to ensure that the final Model Disability Law reflects the aspirations of the peoples of Africa. Our consultations with stakeholders in Rabat generated thorough and robust engagements on the content of the law and we are delighted that we concluded with a consensus on the way forward,” says Hon. Zingas.

Participants also renewed calls for the ratification of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa, adopted in January 2018 by the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government.

Mr. Kudakwashe Dube, Chief Executive Officer of ADA remarked it was time for action and the effective implementation of the existing legal instruments without further delay. “We are racing to ensure that this Model Law is finalised in time for adoption by the PAP Plenary at its May 2019 Ordinary Session.  As we continue to advocate for the ratification of the ACHPR, we are already putting ecosystems in place to move ahead with the implementation of the key elements contained in the Protocol.”

Mr. Dube also revealed that His Majesty Mohammed VI, the King of Morocco has accepted to be a Goodwill Ambassador for persons with disabilities in Africa. The King will work with PAP, ADA and relevant partners to push the disability agenda in Africa. Other Goodwill Ambassadors include the Prime of Mauritius among others.

Mr. Lefhoko Kesameng, representative of the African Union Commission in these consultations committed to ensuring that the Model Disability Law is taken through relevant the AU process for adoption by the AU Assembly once finalized. He also called on PAP members and civil society organizations to help speed up the ratification of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

 “The PAP Model Disability Law will be an extension of the Protocol adopted by Heads of State and Government in 2018, as it will provide a framework for the implementation of the key elements contained in the Protocol. As the PAP embarks on this consultative process, we urge member states to ratify the Protocol in order to facilitate the smooth enactment of the Model Law. So far, only two countries have signed the Protocol and there are no ratifications.”

The PAP Draft Model Disability Law is a continental framework which proposes the domestic implementation of disability rights in line with international and regional instruments. The consultation process is spearheaded by the PAP Permanent Committees on Gender, Family, Youth and People with Disability as well as Health, Labour and Social Affairs.

The next phase of the consultations will be held in Nairobi, Kenya with Stakeholders from Eastern Africa.