PAP embarks on disability model law development

The Pan African Parliament has embarked on the development of Model Disability Law (MDL) following the adoption of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disability by African Union (AU) Heads of state in January this year.

The Pan African Parliament Permanent Committees are currently sitting under the theme “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.”

The African Disability Alliance (ADA) on Monday briefed the Pan African Parliament Committee on Health, Labour and Social Welfare, Committee on Gender, Family, Youth and People with Disability and Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline on the next steps to the be taken once the member states sign and ratify the protocol.

The protocol, also known as the African Disability Protocol (ADP) has articles clearly distinguishing how disability impacts different population groups such as women, children, the youth and the elderly.

Chief Executive Officer of ADA Kudakwashe Dube said Africa has 84 million people with disabilities requiring special attention through enactment of laws and policies by African countries.

He said the adoption of the protocol by Heads of State was the first step in ensuring that people with disabilities are given the protection they deserved by the State regardless of  their geographical standing.

“It is now time to take the protocol and prepare a model disability law to be adopted at the national level. We must work together in the development of this law but it starts with the signing and ratification of the protocol by the member states,” Dube said.

According to Article 31 of the ADP, member states must deposit the instruments of ratification with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the protocol would only enter into force 30 days after the fifteenth member state would have ratified.

Deputy Chairperson of the Committee on Gender, Family, Youth and People with Disability Hon Olivier Amoussouvi Kpadenou appealed to the committees and subsequent committee that would be established to spearhead the development of the MDL to expedite the process.

Outlining the process for development of the model law, PAP Legal Counsel Clement Phebe Mavungu said the technical and political processes which will lead to the adoption of the model law would involve the PAP, Parent Committee and drafting team working together before the draft model law would be ready for consultations and inputs from regional Parliaments as well as relevant AU organs and institutions.

ADA has since committed to providing resources to enable the drafting of the MDL, with the goal to have it adopted by Plenary by December, 2019.