Bureau Régional pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest
Human Rights Day 2015: The Gambia Federation of the Disabled celebrates The International Day for Persons with Disabilities 2015©

Human Rights Day 2015 : The Gambia Federation of the Disabled celebrates The International Day for Persons with Disabilities 2015

14 décembre 2015 On 3 December, the International Day for Persons with Disabilities was celebrated in The Gambia in the frame of the celebration of Human Rights day 2015 which has started on 25 November with the 16 days of activism against gender based violence. The event was celebrated through the organization of a symposium by the Gambia Federation for Disabled* in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Justice. The event gathered around 50 participants from government, national assembly, civil society, media and community-based organizations. OHCHR WARO provided technical and financial support to the event.

The International Day for Persons with Disabilities aims to promote a better understanding of disability issues. It is a day to support the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities, and seeks to increase awareness on the importance of integrating persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. This year’s international day for persons with disabilities went by the following theme : “Inclusion matters : access and empowerment for people of all abilities”. In light of this annual theme, different presentations during the Symposium focused on inclusivity and accessibility in cities and in rural areas, as well as improving disability data and statistics, mental health, and the role of civil society in empowering persons with disabilities.

Earlier this year, the Government of the Republic of The Gambia has taken an important step towards the increased protection of the rights of persons living with disabilities. In June 2015, The Gambia acceded to the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (ICRPD) and its Optional Protocol.

The purpose of the Convention is set out in its article 1 : “to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and promote respect for their inherent dignity”.

By ratifying the ICRPD and its Optional Protocol, the Gambia agreed to be legally bound by the provisions of the Convention and to adopt all appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures to implement the rights recognized in the Convention.

During the Symposium, presentations and discussions were organized on the recently ratified (OP) CRPD and the draft Disability Act. The Government of The Gambia confirmed it is finalizing a draft of a national Disability Act and a representative of the Ministry of Justice presented a summary of the provisions of the draft Disability Act.

*The Gambia Federation of the Disabled (GFD) is the umbrella organisation in The Gambia of all organisations working for and with persons living with disabilities. It was established in the 1990s and officially registered as charitable organization in 2008. GFD is leading the advocacy work for the promotion and protection of the human rights of living with disabilities in the Gambia, and for the empowerment of persons living with disabilities.

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