Nairobi, Saturday 3rd December 2022
THE 2022 INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
- The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) joins all Kenyans and indeed the global community to commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPWD), held annually on December 3rd. This day calls for reflections by all stakeholders to devise ways to improve the situation of persons with disabilities in line with the year’s theme “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: The role of innovation in fueling an accessible and equitable world.”
- The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that globally, over 1 billion people are experiencing disability. This corresponds to about 15% of the world's population, with up to 190 million (3.8%) people aged 15 years and above having significant difficulties in functioning, often requiring health care services. The WHO avers that the number of people experiencing disability is increasing due to a rise in chronic health conditions and population aging.
- Based on the 2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census (KPHC) conducted by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), 2.2% (900,000) of Kenyans live with some form of disability.2 The census results indicate that 1.9% of men have a disability compared with 2.5% of women, thereby making women with disabilities even more vulnerable. The census also revealed that there are more persons with disabilities living in rural than urban areas with prevalence rates by residence showing that 2.6% (0.7 million) of people lived in rural areas and 1.4% (0.2 million) of people in urban areas have a disability.
- The Commission notes that people with disabilities often face multiple violations of their rights, including acts of violence (both physical and psychological), abuse, accessibility challenges, prejudice, abandonment and disrespect because of their disability. This infringement of their rights often intersects with other factors including age and gender. This calls for urgent concerted efforts by the entire criminal justice system, independent Commissions, and other non-state actors in arresting the situation.
- The Commission seizes this opportunity to laud the enactment into law of the Mental Health (Amendment) Act, 2022. It is imperative that both the national and county governments take up their respective roles in implementation of the Act as amended. The Commission however expresses concern that the review of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 2003 remains long overdue.
- In line with this year’s theme, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights will continue to work with all stakeholders to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities in the country and hereby:
- Calls on the thirteenth Parliament to consider and urgently pass into law the Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2021 that seeks to repeal the Persons with Disabilities Act, 2003 to bring it in line with the CRPD and the Constitution of Kenya, 2010;
- Advocates for the enactment and implementation of laws on disabilities across the forty-seven (47) devolved units mirroring the aspirations of the Constitution, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa, which Kenya has already signed and ratified;
- Further Advocates for increased budgetary allocations to the National Council for Persons with Disabilities, which runs life-saving programs such as the National Albinism Sunscreen Support Program (NASSP);
- Appeals for concerted efforts by all stakeholders and communities to fight stigma and discrimination that continue to hinder social inclusion for persons with disabilities across various spheres including schools, employment, criminal justice and other sectors of the society.
- Calls on His Excellency the President, Dr. William Ruto and his Administration to actualize the Charter signed in June 2022 with persons with disabilities in the country;
- Further Calls on both the public and private sectors to enhance access to employment for persons with disabilities through affirmative programmes and to ensure realisation of the constitutional threshold of 5%;
- Supports research, design and advancement in technology and development that promotes accessibility and does not leave any one further behind.
- Encourages the KNBS, in conjunction with relevant disability sector players, to conduct a countrywide disability-specific survey that will inform proper planning for this group, thereby realizing the clarion call of leaving no one behind.
- In conclusion, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights continues to stress the need for innovative interventions that will lead to inclusive development with persons with disabilities playing a role an equal basis with others. The Commission reiterates its unwavering commitment to ensuring the promotion, protection and fulfillment of the rights of persons with disabilities in the country in line with the sub-national, national, regional and international policy and legal frameworks.
Roseline D A Odede, HSC
KENYA NATIONAL COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS