Zambia Disability HIV/AIDS Human Rights Programme Director Elijah Ngwale says Africa Freedom Day will remain meaningless to persons with disabilities unless the convention on rights of persons with disabilities is domesticated.
Mr. Ngwale said it is regrettable that since the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted the convention on the rights of persons living with disabilities in 2006 in which rights of disabled people are enshrined, only three countries have domesticated the convention.
He said to make matters worse, most African countries neither have disability legislation in place nor have made any effort to mainstream issues of persons living with disabilities in their programmes.
Mr. Ngwale said it is imperative that African states contribute towards person’s living with disability visibility.
The Zambia Disability HIV/AIDS Human Rights Programme Director said this in an interview with ZANIS in Lusaka today.
Mr. Ngwale has however commended the Zambian Government for being proactive in dealing with issues pertaining to persons with disabilities.
He noted that Government is making every effort to mainstream issues of persons with disabilities in existing programmes.
Last year, the Zambian Government domesticated the convention on the rights of persons living with disabilities and enacted the persons with disabilities act number six of 2012.
The Government has also between 2003 and 2013, included issues of persons with disabilities in 19 of its programmes and strategies that it has put in place including the Sixth National Development Plan, the Citizens Economic Empowerment Fund (CEEF), and HIV/AIDS programmes among many others.
Mr. Ngwale however stated that more still needed to be done to ensure the welfare of persons living with disabilities in the country and the continent at large.
He further urged Government to continue promoting and improving the well-being of persons with disabilities so that Zambia can be a shining example to the rest of Africa in so far as ensuring that the rights of persons with disabilities were prioritized.