House Passes Key Resolution on PWDs
East African Legislative Assembly, Dar es Salaam, September 4, 2014: EALA has passed a key Resolution urging the United Nations system to include disability issues in the post 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The Resolution moved by Hon Dr. James Ndahiro urges UN agencies, Governments and civil society to ensure that the key issues of PWDs as identified by advocates/experts/researchers in the EAC on disability issues be adopted as one of the key development goals in the post- 2015 Millennium Development Goals.
According to the mover of the Resolution, PWDs have challenges. There is a correlation between poverty and disabilities. Post 2015 targets are important to include PWDs. Currently the MDGs are not explicit on matters to do with disabilities”, the legislator noted.
The Assembly thus urges the UN to establish a permanent agency within the UN Framework to deal with issues of persons with disabilities. It further calls upon the Secretary General of the EAC and the Council of Ministers to urgently bring this matter to the attention of the Summit of the EAC Heads of State.
The United Nations agencies and stakeholders agreed on and adopted the Millennium Development Goals through establishment of a unifying set of eight key developmental objectives for the global community.
The objective of these key development issues was to foster collaborative action to reduce poverty, improve health and address educational and environmental concerns around the World’s most pressing problems, but specifically to address the needs of the World’s poorest citizens and the world’s most marginalized populations;
Despite this initiative, there is a striking gap in the current MDGs to the effect that an estimated 1 billion people worldwide who live with one or more physical, sensory (blindness/deafness), intellectual or mental health impairment are not mentioned in any of the 8 Goals, the attendant 21 targets, the 60 indicators nor in the Millennium Declaration.
During debate, Members stated there was need to ensure access to resources to enable PWDs to live a meaningful life and to contribute to development of the economies.
Hon Abubakar Zein urged for a specific MDG on PWDs. “We are neither begging, nor pleading, we are demanding this be done since it is a human rights issue”, Hon Zein said.
“We must mainstream the rights upfront in the same way we have done with the rights of women and all others,” the legislator added.
Hon Zein further remarked that it was necessary as a first for the EALA to revise its Rules of Procedure to ensure the Assembly is disability compliant.
Hon Shyrose Bhanji decried the harassment of albinos and said they were been denied the basic rights including education. “We must support the fight against such harassment and I want to laud the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania for taking up the matter at the forefront” she added.
It was noted that a network of EAC Parliamentarians with disabilities had been established at the EAC PWD Conference in Nairobi and that the linkages may be used to advocate for their case further.
Hon Frederic Ngenzebuhoro supported the move to ensure PWDs get fair treatment in line with article 120 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC.
Hon Nancy Abisai called for equal opportunities for all. “We must provide opportunities including education, to ensure citizens of the region are empowered”, Hon Abisai said.