The plight of people with disabilities is back to focus with national human rights commissions of several African countries this week developing monitoring tools that seek to protect and promote the rights of people with disabilities (PWDs).
Mr Med Kaggwa, the chairperson Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) said PWDs now live in a safer and more convenient country than in the recent past. He, however, noted that several challenges are yet to be addressed.
“We are seeking to improve the wellbeing of PWDS, buildings still do not have rumps, others lack lifts and we have had cases of lame people being thrown out of taxis or abandoned at stages because the taxis cannot carry their wheelchairs,” Mr Kaggwa said.
He added: “The situation in prisons is worse as their crutches are confiscated and they have to crawl to toilets.”
Despite all this, however, he noted, the commission continues to register positive progress and changes every year.
This, though, was contested by several PWDs on Kampala streets. One disabled man on Kampala Road wondered: “A good number of beggars on Kampala streets are PWDs. We have so much potential but government never thinks of uplifting our economic status so I wonder what Mr Kaggwa is basing on to say things are improving for us.”
But Mr Kaggwa noted: “We still have gaps here and there but the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development is trying its best... This is steady progress but the work has only started,” Mr Kagwa said.
The tools developed this week are particularly important for PWDs as they are a follow up on the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities in which state parties across Africa agreed to establish a framework to promote and monitor implementation of the convention and bring PWD participation in the monitoring process on board. With the monitoring tools, Mr Kaggwa said employers will be asked to have incentives for the disabled.