GENEVA, Switzerland, August 24, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Despite significant steps taken by the Kenyan government, coordinator of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (EDAN) Dr Samuel Kabue says that “more needs to be done” so that people with disability can enjoy their rights.
“They must have access to inclusive and viable environment, sign language support, feasible transport, communication, legal capacity, health care and employment, among other rights,” he reports.
Kabue adds that people with disability speak about their rights from an experiential point of view: “This point of view may not be the same as the government’s, which mostly implies that all is fine.”
Kabue shared these reflections in an interview following his participation in a session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which concluded its consideration of the initial report of the Kenyan government on its implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 19 August in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Kenyan state ratified the Convention in May 2008, among the early ones to do so. The Convention has been been ratified by 157 states as of the end of Geneva meeting this month.
According to Kabue, the National Council of Churches of Kenya has been instrumental in raising awareness on disability issues. However, he feels that in order to make a stronger impact, churches need to engage with the Convention for an effective implementation.
“If the churches enhance their understanding of the Convention, they will be able to advocate more strongly for the rights of people with disability,” said Kabue. This is one theme, he explained, that was discussed in an elaborate dialogue side-event organized by the EDAN and other civil society organizations that was held during the 14th Session of the CRPD Committee of Experts in Geneva.
Kabue shared that a number of significant topics were addressed at the CRPD Committee of Experts session, including issues related to men, women and children with disabilities; persons with albinism; legal capacity; accessibility both in public transport and facilities; refugees and migrant workers with disabilities; inclusion of persons with disabilities in policy-making processes; multiple discrimination and inter-sectional disabilities.
Kabue said that in Kenya, among other countries, EDAN is working with other disability organizations in pushing for an effective implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. He explained that EDAN was among the influential “non-state actors” whose participation in the CRPD was facilitated by the International Disability Alliance.
Established in 1998, EDAN, along with churches and its partner organizations, addresses the issues affecting persons with disabilities globally, advocating for the inclusion, participation, and active involvement of persons with disabilities in the spiritual, social and development life of the church and society.