The East African Community (EAC) has called for the creation of councils for persons with disabilities (PWD) in all partner states as one way of addressing the challenges faced by the disabled.
The call was made over the weekend at the closure of the first ever conference on Persons with Disabilities held in Kampala, Uganda.
The meeting, attended by experts, political leaders, and policy makers, emphasized the need to adequately finance the councils to enable them fully discharge their responsibilities.
In an interview with The New Times yesterday, regional legislator Dr James Ndahiro (Rwanda) said that the meeting also agreed to come up with a legal framework that will put in place a comprehensive EAC Disability Law to serve interests of persons with disabilities.
“The Sectoral Council on social affairs will work on this law which will be presented to the Council of Ministers and later to the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA),” he said.
Participants emphasized the need to conduct research and provide health services for the prevention, control, early detection, management and support to various human disabilities.
They came up with recommendations on how governments and the EAC secretariat can best address the challenges confronting peoples with disabilities.
“We agreed that the secretariat takes up the responsibility of ensuring that the resolutions are implemented,” Ndahiro added.
Among other resolutions, the meeting called for the establishment of a regional disability development fund and for partner states to ratify the UN Disability Convention as a regional bloc.
The meeting also challenged national parliaments to identify weakness in the existing laws, address issues and concerns of PWDs and recommend amendments where appropriate.
Ndahiro revealed that a development partners’ conference involving persons with disabilities would be held this year to chart ways on how there can be mobilization of resources to fund programs for PWD.