This year’s theme ‘’Removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all’’ reflects the exclusion from participation in mainstream society at all levels, thereby increasing the vulnerability. The CRPD recognises the direct link between accessibility and persons with disabilities; particularly recognizing the fact that disability results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
Zambia joined the world in observing this significant day for persons with disabilities. The event was coordinated by the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities (ZAPD) with the collaboration of Disabled People’s Organisations and other key stakeholders like CBM. The venue was the new government complex and was officially opened by the Deputy Minister of Community Development, Mother & Child Health Hon. Dorothy Kazunga who also flagged off the match past from the Main Post Office. ILO was among the institutions invited to join in the commemoration of this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
In her speech, the Deputy Minister acknowledged the various barriers faced by disabled people in Zambia at in all aspects of their lives and further stressed the great importance the government attaches towards enhancing the welfare of the disabled and ensuring the realisation of inclusive development issues. This will be realised through the domestication of the UN CRPD and the revision of some of the country’s pieces of legislation. Some progress has been achieved in this regard; notably the enactment of the Persons with Disabilities Act No. 6, 2012.
Other pieces of legislation that were said to be under review to ensure inclusive development and equal access to services which include those relating to education, employment, health care, transportation, political participation, accessibility to built environment and information and justice. With these proclamations, it is hoped that the government will live up to its declarations and take steps towards implementation of the newly enacted Disability Act of 2012.
The event was characterized some entertainment from disabled people through dance, music and poetry. The children with disabilities were equally represented and joined in entertaining the gathering. The children through poetry appealed to the government to improve the education system and ensure accessibility for all. This was also an opportunity to showcase the different talents and abilities through the display of crafts, art and other merchandise as to show to other disabled people and society at large that ‘disability is not inability’.