Zimbabwe commemorates International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Zimbabwe joined the rest of the world in commemorating this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities with activities spread over 2nd and 3rd December 2019.
Organised within the 16 days of activism against gender based violence, the commemorations took place under the theme, “Promoting the Participation of Persons with Disabilities and their Leadership: Taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda”. The theme clearly signified the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda of “leaving no one behind” by empowering people with disabilities. 
Events in Zimbabwe included an “Advocacy, Leadership and Sexual Reproductive and Health Rights Training” for 21 women and girls with disabilities and care givers from nine districts participating in the UNESCO-led United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) project dubbed, “Advancing the rights of women and girls with disabilities”. These women and girls interfaced with the UN Resident Coordinator, Heads of Agencies from UNICEF, UNESCO, UNFPA and UNDP and shared their aspirations and concerns on inclusive education, sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) service delivery, access to justice, stigma and discrimination, among others.
As part of the commemorations, UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA) also delivered a training to United Nations staff in Harare on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the new UN Disability Inclusion Strategy. UNESCO ROSA Social and Human Sciences Specialist, Phinith Chanthalangsy and UN Human Rights Advisor Fiona Adolu facilitated the training emphasising the UN’s move towards systematically implementing the CRPD through a policy and accountability framework. 
Speaking at the main commemorative event held at the National Art Gallery in Harare, Zimbabwe’s Special Advisor on disability issues, Honourable Joshua Malinga emphasised the importance of partnerships in advancing the rights of persons with disabilities.
Representing the Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Mr Clifford Matorera (Chief Director in the Ministry), applauded persons with disabilities in Zimbabwe for their continuous efforts in raising awareness on disability rights. He added that the Government of Zimbabwe and its partners had made significant strides towards protecting and promoting the rights of persons with disabilities in the country. He pointed out that the country was working towards a National Disability Policy as well as reviewing the National Disability Bill.
Her Excellency Bronte Moules, the Ambassador of Australia to Zimbabwe said her Government was a big partner in promoting the rights of persons with disabilities globally. 
Through the UN Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities project, the Australian Government is participating in the advancement of disability rights and addressing various challenges such as stigma and discrimination, cultural and societal barriers towards the achievement of rights by persons with disabilities in Zimbabwe.
A key feature of the commemorations was an art exhibition by artists with disabilities which was graced by 23 Ambassadors accredited to Zimbabwe. The exhibition promoted artistic expression of artists with disabilities and raised public awareness on disability rights and barriers related to accessibility.
The annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons was proclaimed in 1992, by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3. The observance of the Day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
For more information please contact: Phinith Chanthalangsy