THE House of Assembly last week ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities aimed at protecting disabled persons from being discriminated against.
Report by Veneranda Langa
Labour and Social Welfare minister Paurina Mpariwa, who brought the Rights of Persons with Disabilities convention for ratification, said approximately 10% (over 650 million) of the world’s population were persons with disabilities with 80% of them living in developing countries.
“The convention teaches us to use respectable terms like ‘persons with disabilities’ and discourages us from using the terms ‘handicapped’, ‘physically or mentally challenged’,” said Mpariwa.
“However, preferences for terminology among persons with disabilities and among geographic regions may vary and the individual wishes of persons with disabilities should be respected.”
Mpariwa said there was need to mainstream disability in all development activities and to fully implement the convention principles in the internal operations of government.
“There is need to include persons with disabilities in all stages of implementation and build capacity of organisations of persons with disabilities to do so as the persons with disabilities echo the adage ‘nothing about us without us’”, she said.
The Labour and Social Welfare ministry administers the Disabled Persons Act and according to Mpariwa, Zimbabwe was one of the first countries to craft the law, but to date it had not been aligned to international instruments that addressed the needs of the disabled persons.
She said although pre-existing human rights conventions offered considerable potential to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities, this potential had not been tapped.
Parliament also ratified the Bonn Convention on International Renewable Energy meant to promote the use of alternative energy.
Energy and Power Development minister Elton Mangoma said the country was going to benefit a lot from the convention as it would be on the forefront of generating new energy.
“The issue of renewable energy has become of paramount importance in terms of generating new energy,” said Mangoma.