Before the Convention, disability laws were often copied in some places from the laws of neighbor countries. This was particularly the case in many countries of the Commonwealth, whose laws were clearly inspired by the United Kingdom Disability Discrimination Act (which by the way has better prepared a lot of these countries to welcome the Convention). Now that the Convention exists, the law adopted in a signatory country is evaluated - including by the Committee- in reference to the Convention. This changed a lot of things.
In Mali, there was no specific mention of disability in the legislation. So, first we needed Mali to ratify the Convention to open the gate for the elaboration of normative laws linked with the rights of people with disabilities. As a member of the cabinet of the Ministry of solidarity in charge of disability issues, I have worked on the development of a law for the protection of people with disabilities. It is one of the positive consequences of the ratification by Mali. This law foresees that accessibility of buildings shall be taken into account at all levels, including public buildings, the right to health and the promotion of women’s rights. A strategic plan to promote advancements in the socio-economic situation of persons with disabilities was developed, providing a plan of action for the period 2015-2024 that takes into account the major concerns of people with disabilities. One of its fundamental principles is inclusion, to include disabled people in public life, rather than to implement segregated specific measures.
Djikiné Hatouma Gakou
In Nicaragua, there have been great dynamics. The organizations took the Convention as a basis to start working on the elaboration of a national disability law that came out in 2008. This law aligns with the Convention. Organizations have been able to work more closely with the government, which is oriented towards the human right to restitution. They have also been able to design new policies, that take into account the rights of persons with disabilities. Things happened in the same way in other countries, as organizations were using the Convention as a tool for the elaboration of new laws. Statistically, important improvements have been made.
There has been progress in Costa Rica since the ratification. This progress includes advances in terms of physical accessibility, communication on specific issues, mobility. In inclusive education, progress has been made, but there are still great challenges. Concerning employment, a law provides that 5% of the jobs in the public sector are to be filled by persons with disabilities, but unemployment and underemployment rates for people with disabilities remain high. However, this year (2016), Costa Rica developed a great tool, which is the Law for the Promotion of the Personal Autonomy of the Persons with Disabilities. This law does no more no less than what no country had ever done before, by harmonizing itself with Article 12 on the exercise of legal capacity [Equal recognition before the law], which especially affects people with intellectual or psycho-social disabilities. This has led to the eradication of institutions like guardianship. So, there have been many achievements, but pending issues do still remain. This is why I consider the progress irregular, which leaves me with a bittersweet flavor in mouth.
Luis Fernando Astorga
The fact of having a 10-year strategic plan in line with the Convention in Mali seems to be a fundamental achievement to me. It will help inclusion to become a cross-cutting issue. The situation of disabled persons will no longer be solely an affair of the Ministry of social development, but all governments will have disability as a cross-cutting issue in their sectoral budgets. This will allow us to address a lot of problems, such as education, employment. So these are things that we are fighting for. Employment is strongly linked with education; let’s say that it is the purpose of the inclusion of people with disabilities. That's why we feel really concerned about these things.
From 2011-2012, Togo was to develop its development strategy. In the earlier version, the so-called “strategy on poverty reduction”, organizations of persons with disabilities had been only involved at the terminal phase to validate the final document. This time, people with disabilities were able to participate from start in the elaboration of the strategy entitled “accelerated growth and employment promotion”. People with disabilities from all regions, among our member associations, were invited to participate in consultations on certain aspects that had been previously defined. After consultations, the Federation was responsible for working again with all these associations to ensure a general coordination. The Federation attended the final validation of the document, so that people with disabilities are namely visible in this document, for the first time in the history of development strategies of our nation. This was a great achievement.
The action that fascinated me the most was my participation in the development of the Social and Economic Development Plan adopted by Niger in 2011. It covers the period 2011-2015 (it was recently extended for one more year, until end 2016). This is the reference document for all development actions in Niger. I represented the Federation in the elaboration, the monitoring and the evaluation it. I was involved along prominent stakeholders, including the direct representatives of the President, and of the Prime Minister. In addition to this advocacy towards the inclusion of persons with disabilities in this action plan, I have had the opportunity to advocate for the cause of persons with disabilities in general.
The ratification marks a new beginning in Madagascar, it awoke the movement of people with disabilities there, giving hope that there a change in the living situation of persons with disabilities could happen. Since the ratification, disability is taken into account in almost all of the political areas, through institutional and legal frameworks. In the public sector, the State starts to include disability in its policies: in the national development plan, in its general policy. We were invited to the validation of the national policy planning for public services, which mentions the accessibility of public service and public administration. Regarding the implementation of inclusive education, the Ministry of National Education has been one of the main initiators, with technical and financial partners. There was also the elaboration, the implementation and the validation of the National Plan on Inclusion and Disability, launched by the Ministry of Population. Moreover, in the social protection policies, persons with disabilities were identified as priority targets. This marks the willingness of the State to move forward since the ratification of the Convention, although the first changes are slow. But it is already a consequence of the ratification.
Hugues Rakoto Ramambason
After ratifying the Convention, we advocated for the national government to issue a new law in accordance with the CRPD. However, even before ratification, we had already started to work at the local level, to submit regulations to the local government, in compliance with the Convention that was being elaborated. In parallel, we were pushing national government to ratify the Convention. Eventually, the Convention was ratified in November 2011, and our local regulation was implemented in Yoggikarta in May 2012. Then we pushed the national government to change the regulation to make it compliant with the CRPD and submitted a support draft to Parliament (which resulted in the Law n°4 adopted in 2016). The government stepped in and is now conducting national action planning relating to the rights of diff-abled persons. At a local level, our governor declared Yoggikarta as the province of inclusive education. We also have a special health insurance for diff-abled persons.
Setia Adi Purwanta
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