A Regional Training and Coordination Meeting of Experts and Focal Points for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in West Africa08 Oct, 2022
Accra, Ghana, 8 October 2022.The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), through the Department of Human Development and Social Affairs is organising a regional training and coordination meeting of the region’s experts, focal points for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in West Africa. The event is scheduled to hold in Accra, Ghana from 10 to 12 October 2022.
The meeting will serve as a framework to build capacity of focal points for the inclusion of persons with disabilities, on reporting requirements of the 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It will equally sensitise the region’s focal points on the importance of the Protocol of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights relating to the rights of Persons with Disabilities (AfChHPR-PWDs).
At the end of the Accra meeting, the experts from ECOWAS Member States will draw up a framework on the appropriate means to enable several Member States ratify this important Protocol of AfChHPR-PWDs. To date, only three of the fifteen Member States have ratified the Protocol.
As a reminder, the ECOWAS Regional Action Plan for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, which was validated by the region’s experts in April 2022, clearly states the measures to be undertaken to strengthen the implementation of international and continental instruments on the rights of persons with disabilities. In this context, ECOWAS is keen to field awareness and sensitisation campaigns in the respective Member States for the ratification and implementation of the AfChHPR-PWDs and strengthen the capacities of actors in the Member States.
The action plan is a result of the regional study by ECOWAS on the inclusion of persons with disabilities, which was conducted between August 2021 and April 2022. The study had revealed that persons with disabilities in the region face social stigma, especially those with mental disabilities, or with hearing or visual disabilities.
As a result of this study, the governments of ECOWAS Member States are also committed to taking necessary measures for the inclusive development of persons with disabilities through policies and programmes relevant to persons with disabilities who experience various levels of bias, verbal or physical abuse tied to certain traditional beliefs that remain widespread across several African communities.