CRPD Committee Highlights Critical Issues for Persons with Disabilities in Rwanda
The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD Committee), has published Concluding Observationsfollowing review of the initial report of Rwanda on implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Concluding Observations closely echo concerns and recommendations of Rwandan persons with disabilities.
The Committee explicitly calls on the Rwandan Government to review the Law on Persons with Disabilities as well as all other laws, to revise provisions that deprive persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities from exercising their legal capacity; ensure that anti-discrimination provisionsrecognize denial of reasonable accommodations as a type of discrimination, and; ensure persons with disabilities are meaningfully consultedand mechanisms for participation are accessible to people with diverse impairments and are age and gender sensitive.
In addition, the Committee has called on the Rwandan Government to ensure liberty of movement for refugees with disabilities; to provide access to sexual and reproductive health servicesfor girls and women with disabilities in their own communities; and to ensure that women with disabilities are represented in leadership positions at all levels. The Committee also called on the Government of Rwanda to ensure access to sunscreen and other means of protection from skin cancerfor persons with albinism; and to recognize Rwandan Sign Languageas an official language.
Over the past four years, the Disability Rights Fund (DRF) and its sister organization, the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund (DRAF), have provided financial and technical support to Rwandan DPOs for the drafting and submission of a CRPD Alternative Report – including a specific report on Equal Recognition Before the Law. DRF & DRAF also supported a diverse group of Rwandan DPO delegates to travel to Geneva during the review process, to provide key information to the Committee.
Now, Rwandan DPOs are ensuring that the broader disability community and the public are aware of the Concluding Observations to increase demand that the government take action. DPOs will translate the Concluding Observations into Kinyarwanda, meet with government officials, and, in July, convene with government to strategize on the way forward.
DRF is thankful for the support of our donors including: The Ansara Family Fund of the Boston Foundation, the Ford Foundation, The Estelle Friedman Gervis Family Foundation, the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation, and the Foundation to Promote Open Society, part of the Open Society Foundations. DRAF is supported by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and U.K. aid from the U.K. government (DFID). The views expressed in this communication do not necessarily reflect the official policies of any of our donors, or the governments they represent.