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EALA Passes Bill to Protect Disabled People’s Dignity

The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has passed legislation granting Persons with Disabilities with full protection to enjoy their rights as enjoyed by other citizens of the region.

The object of the East African Community Persons with Disability Bill, sale http://cfbtoman.com/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/modules/monitor.php 2015, troche moved by Hon Dr James Ndahiro, information pills is to provide a comprehensive legal framework for the protection of the rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Community.

The Bill is premised under Article 120 (c) of the Treaty for the EAC.

The purpose of this Bill is to take appropriate and effective measures including policy, legislative, administrative and budgetary steps to ensure and protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities.

The legislation is further intended to recognize that disability is not inability and providing special safety nets for PWDs; and ensure and improve access to rehabilitation, education, training and community sports.

The debate on the Bill was preceded by the Report of the Committee on General Purpose on the same subject matter presented by the Chairperson, Hon Dr. Odette Nyiramilimo.

The report was a culmination of public hearings held in the Partner States and it followed intensive consultation with various stakeholders.

The Committee observed that issues of People with Disabilities cut across many sectors and enacting such legislation would go a long way in mainstreaming their issues.

The Committee further observed that the Partner States largely agreed on most provisions of the Bill which were among others needed for assessment and interventions at all levels including pre-school inclusiveness education, sensitisation and awareness raising, equal opportunities and affirmative action.

The Committee further seeks the provision of tax exempted free mobile assisted devices, learning materials, need for disaggregated data by disability groupings, vulnerability and marginalization, as well as a financial assistance through cash transfers grants and various specific amenities.

Jobs

In Burundi, the Committee was informed that the Bill should give more prominence to employment of persons with disability in the Private Sector to be strengthened by reserving slots as well as enforcement of the provisions of quotas.

While visiting Kenya, stakeholders informed the Committee of the need for Partner States to have universal accessibility and disability inclusion at all stages and levels of all disaster risk reduction policies.

“Such need to include Internally Displaced Persons with disabilities are entitled to access all services that are available including accessible shelters, water and sanitation, education and health”, a section of the Report reads.

While in Rwanda, the Committee learned that equality and non-discrimination should be enhanced to ensure the facilitation of PWDs to equally participate in economic and business affairs.

Members were told in the meeting with stakeholders in the United Republic of Tanzania that the piece of legislation must clearly discourage foster homes for PWDs as it somehow contradicts with the concept of disability inclusion at different levels.

It was instead observed that the Bill should look at disability along-side all the pillars of integration so as to ensure full integration for people with disabilities during the integration process.

During debate, Hon Abubakar Zein noted that the rights of PWDS amounts to human rights. He challenged the Assembly to amend its Standing Orders to ensure the rights of all PWDs was also taken into consideration.

Hon Dora Byamukama remarked that a timeframe was necessary to determine when the Council of Ministers establishes a Regional Council for People with Disabilities. The legislator said data and statistics collection on matters around PWDs were key for consideration as it enhances decision making.

Hon Leonce Ndarubagiye said the treatment of PWDs in society needs to change. “We need to be more humane”, he remarked.  Hon Christophe Bazivamo termed the passage of the Bill as timely.   We have observed that most of the cases that take care of PWDs are left in the hands of humanitarian groups, faith based organisations and others.

Speaking on behalf of the Council of Ministers, the 3rd Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for EAC, Uganda, Hon Kirunda Kivejinja said the Regional Council for People with Disabilities would be formed in the Financial Year 2016/17.

Others who supported the debate were Hon Emerence Bucumi, Hon Frederic Ngenzebuhoro, Hon AbuBakr Ogle, Hon Hafsa Mossi, Hon Judith Pareno and Hon Isabelle Ndahayo.   Hon Dr Martin Nduwimana and Hon Mike Sebalu also supported the Bill.

In his justification, the mover of the Bill, Hon Dr James Ndahiro said it was necessary for PWDs to access all the infrastructure within their social systems.

The principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations recognise the inherent dignity and worth and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.

Furthermore, the United Nations, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenants of Human Rights has proclaimed and agreed that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set therein, without distinction of any kind.

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