Malawi government has reiterated its commitment to mainstream disability issues in its national development programmes and thus complying with the post-2015 development agenda.
Addressing the Eighth session of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD), currently underway in New York, Senior Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Isaac Katopola said Malawi is committed to ensuring that the rights, needs and aspirations of all persons with disabilities are part and parcel of the national development agenda.
“Malawi through the Ministry responsible for disability is undertaking several initiatives in mainstreaming disability in its policies and programmes at all level”, said Katopola.
He said the development of a National Disability Mainstreaming Strategy (NDMS) which aims to provide guidelines in the development of policies and programming on disability, is one of the steps government has taken to make sure disability issues are given a priority.
Katopola said government will be reviewing the 2006 National Policy on Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities to incorporate emerging issues, adding that the Malawi Disability Act, 2012 is a major milestone in ensuring the domestication of the UNCRPD by the Malawi Government.
The Disability Act makes provisions for, among others, the equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities through the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disability.
The Malawi Constitution provides for persons with disabilities by recognizing their rights. Section 20(1) of the Constitution guarantees non-discrimination of persons with disabilities.
Further, the Constitution guarantees all Malawians their right to development and therefore to the enjoyment of economic, social, cultural and political development.
Section 30(1) in particular gives special consideration in the application of this right to women, children and persons with disabilities.
Despite these achievements Malawi has still challenges in the implementation of disability policies and programmes.
Said Katopola, “Recently, Malawi has experienced increased and gross human rights violation of persons with albinism. They are being abducted, killed and their remains being exhumed for body parts”.
He however, went on to report that some measures are being carried out by government to address these atrocities.
“At national level, the State President has taken the lead in condemning these inhumane acts” he said.
He reported that a National Steering Committee consisting of all stakeholders, including the Association of Persons with Albinism, on the response to atrocities to persons with albinism was also established and has put in place a strategic implementation plan which includes: education and awareness; Intensifying internal security; carrying out an investigative research; strengthening administration of justice and victim support; and the enforcement of laws on human body parts trafficking.
“Mr. Chairman, Let me report that Malawi has finalized its initial and second report and will [be] submit [ted] to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in due course”, Katopola announced.
Malawi ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in August, 2009. State parties to the Convention meet annually in New York to review progress in the implementation of disability related programmes.
The theme for this year is “Mainstreaming disability in reduction of poverty and inequality”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :