Zambia has ratified the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) in 2010 and almost all other international human rights treaties. Only three Optional Protocols are pending ratification: the Optional Protocols to the CRPD, to the Convention against torture, and to the Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. Zambia is also overdue to present its first and second reports to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. I encourage the authorities to submit a combined report to the CRPD as soon as possible and to ratify these three international protocols.
In relation to the national normative framework, the new amended Constitution adopted in January this year introduced some positive changes that contribute to strengthening the protection system for the rights of persons with disabilities. These include for instance the mention of disability as a ground of discrimination, and the fortification of the powers of the National Human Rights Commission and the Electoral Commission of Zambia.
Importantly, the additional constitutional amendments that will be subjected to referendum in August present an important opportunity to broaden the protection of human rights in Zambia. I would like to commend the Government for considering the abolition of the dead penalty and I strongly encourage the national authorities to include economic, social and cultural rights in the Bill of Rights. Despite these positive developments, I am deeply concerned about some of the remaining constitutional dispositions that are discriminatory towards persons with disabilities, as I will illustrate further on.
Overall I have found that Zambia has a wide range of well-formulated and well-intended policies and strategies to realise the rights of persons with disabilities. I commend the adoption, in recent years, of the Persons with Disabilities Act, the National Policy on Disability, the National Implementation Plan on Disability, as well other inclusive policies, such as those on Social Protection, on Free Basic Education, or on Youth. The Government has also commissioned a National Disability Survey. I encourage the prompt dissemination of its final results and to include the short set of questions of the Washington Group on Disability Statistics in all other demographic surveys, which will allow the State to disaggregate all national collected data by disability and to obtain international comparable data.
Zambia has also benefited from several important social reforms, particularly through the introduction of a National Social Protection Policy and the expansion of social cash transfer and other funds for persons with disabilities to some 70 districts in the country, which have the potential to contribute to reduce poverty rates. It is also positive that the 6th National Development Plan, which aims to promote inclusive growth and significantly reduce hunger and poverty, is inclusive of persons with disabilities in all its programmes. I encourage the relevant authorities to ensure that the 7th National Development Plan for 2017-2021, currently under development, will translate the Sustainable Development Goals in the national development framework at all levels of governance and will prioritize the mainstreaming of disability into the various sectors.
Norway makes considerable efforts to include persons with disabilities in society and allocates significant financial resources to this goal. However, its commitment to the rights of persons with disabilities is yet to be reflected in everyday practice. In the areas of legal capacity, mental health and social care, Norway still needs to embrace the paradigm shift proposed by the CRPD.
Canada is a country of significant disparities in accessibility and access to education, health, justice, and social protection, depending on where in the country a person lives. The situation of indigenous persons with disabilities is of particular concern. But the country also counts with experiences like the inclusive education system in New Bronswick, which are a model for the rest of the world.
In Kuwait's National Development Plan, launched in 2017, there were several projects aimed at promoting the inclusion of persons with disabilities. But the country still needs a specific national strategy on disability to ensure that barriers against participation are lifted, and that a human rights-based approach to disability is adopted in all public policies.
Steps to reform Kazakhstan’s social protection system and provide universal health coverage are a clear indication of the country's committment to the rights of persons with disabilities. But more efforts are required to include them in society, particularly in the areas of education and political participation. Legal capacity laws need to be reformed, and the country must move towards ending institutionalization and involuntary treatment.
France is a country with a strong tradition of republican and democratic values, resting on the ideals of ‘freedom, equality and fraternity’. Disability policies in France need to embrace these ideals to guarantee the full inclusion of all people with disabilities.
Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)
The Governmnet of the DPRK has taken positive steps on disability issues, but there is still a long way to go to realize the rights of persons with disabilities: “I hope that my visit will generate further opportunities for constructive engagement to advance the human rights of persons with disabilities in the DPRK.”
"The one main issue permeating the whole society and influencing how persons with disabilities are perceived therein is the strong prevalence of the medical model of disability. This approach focuses on defining a person’s defect and separating those that are ‘healthy’ or ‘normal’ from those that are ‘unfit’ – resulting in exclusion and segregation, objectifying attitudes and forced interventions."
Paraguay ratificó la Convención sobre los Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidad (CDPD) y su Protocolo Facultativo en 2008. Desde ese momento, el país ha logrado mejoras importantes para establecer un sistema de protección de los derechos de las personas con discapacidad acorde con el tratado.