Disability Commission Urges Govt. to Ratify African Disability Protocol

African Disability Protocol (ADP)

By Abubakarr Harding

In commemorating International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2022 in the country, the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), Saa Lamin Kortequee, has called on the Government of Sierra Leone to Ratify the African Disability Protocol (ADP) on the Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. He made that call during a well-attended press conference held on Saturday 3rd December, 2022 at the Disability Commission’s Office on New England Ville in Freetown.

He said that December 3rd every year is the International Day Persons with Disabilities, which is celebrated worldwide to raise awareness on the issues around disability and that according to WHO, about 1 billion people have some form of disability.

Saa Lamin Kortequee maintained that the theme for this year is: ‘Transformative Solutions for Inclusive Development:  “The Role of Innovation in Fueling an Accessible and Equitable world”.

“The annual observance of the International Day for Persons with Disabilities was proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 47/3. The observance of the Day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the disability dignity, rights, and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life,” he revealed.

The Executive Secretary pointed out that Sierra Leone is on the cusp of becoming the first Mano River Union country to ratify the African Disability Protocol (ADP) but action is needed to push it across the finish line and that is why the NCPD, Sight Savers’ Equal World Campaign, in partnership with the African Union and the African Disability Forum, in a campaign launched on (October 29), urged Governments and leaders to adopt the protocol and ensure the rights of people with disabilities are enhanced and upheld.

He elaborated that the African Disability Protocol was adopted in 2018 by the African Union to address various forms of discrimination affecting people with disabilities in African countries, stating that it 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, furthering that for the protocol to come into force, at least 15 member states must sign and ratify it and that so far Angola, Burundi, Kenya, Mali, and Rwanda have ratified, and several others are nearly there.

Saa Lamin Kortequee maintained that it is therefore in similar efforts and the huge desire to continue taking the lead in addressing disability issues in Sierra Leone that the NCPD on this very important day has prioritized the full and effective commencement of advocacy and the lobbing of the Government of Sierra Leone to ratify this enabling human rights protocol that is sensitive to the rights of persons with disabilities on the African continent.

He thanked His Excellency the President Dr. Julius Maada Bio for his commitment to disability inclusion in Sierra Leone, the UN Country Team for their unflinching support to the advancement of disability rights and inclusion in development agendas, the World Bank for their support and innovative approach to disability inclusion and NaSA for the Social Safety Net (SSN) support for persons with disabilities in Sierra Leone, he also applauded Sight Savers International, Humanity Inclusion (HI) and UNFPA for their support in celebrating this year’s International Day for Persons with Disabilities.

On his part, the Admin Director Sierra Leone Union on Disability Issues (SLUDI), Sylvanus Bundu, said the International Day of Persons with Disability was formed by the UN in the year 1992 and since then it has been set aside to observe, to promote the understanding of people with disabilities, to discuss about the rights, dignity of the people with disabilities and to discuss the problems related to the people with disabilities, in Sierra Leone and all over the world.

He stated that Sierra Leone has been making progress but more need to done in relation to addressing educational, live-hood, healthcare and the rest of issues affecting persons with disability in the country, furthering that based on their observation they have learnt that the persons with disabilities are not included into Government systems, and therefore they would want to appeal to the Government for them to be included as the country is heading towards an election

“Many bill have been passed into law but we hope to see the passing into law of the revised Persons with Disabilities Acts as we appeal to the Government to look into this before the elections,” he concluded.




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