A consultant hired by SAFOD, Mr. Wamundila Waliuya, who is also Commissioner at Human Rights Commission in Zambia, presented the Key findings of the “Review of SADC Protocols and Other Key Relevant SADC Documents to Assess
the Extent to which they are Inclusive of Disability Rights.” The desk review eventually informed the drafting of the SADC Disability Protocol which was also presented during the forum.
This was followed by another related presentation by Mr. Bheki Jele on the establishment of the Regional Advocacy Platform on the Campaign for the SADC Disability Protocol, to support SAFOD's campaign for the adoption of the SADC Disability Protocol by December 2019.
The campaign involves carrying out a series of consultations with various stakeholders and soliciting their inputs into the draft disability policy framework for SADC, and consolidating the inputs from stakeholders in order to develop the final draft of Disability SADC Protocol that can be shared with SADC Secretariat.
The other objective of the series of consultations is to popularize and secure buy-in from the stakeholders until the draft Protocol is overarching enough to be presented to the SADC Secretariat in 2019 for their own review, inputs and presentation to the member states for consideration and possible adoption.
However, it is pertinent to note that the role of SAFOD in this regard is just to initiate and lead the process during the initial stages. A more independent platform of different stakeholders needed to be formed to continue driving the campaign forward if the process is to be more credible and owned by various stakeholders beyond just SAFOD and its national affiliates of DPOs.
It is therefore against this background that the platform was endorsed during the Regional Disability Round Table Forum whose structure and terms of reference (TORs) are outlined below.
PURPOSE OF THE PLATFORM
To ensure that persons with disabilities have full access to fundamental human rights through their active involvement in policy development and implementation in Southern Africa.
OBJECTIVES OF THE PLATFORM
a) To provide technical support and inputs towards the drafting of the SADC Disability Protocol
b) To lobby and advocate for the adoption of the SADC Disability Protocol both a national level and international level.
c) To fundraise for resources that will ensure successful drafting and final adoption of the protocol
d) To promote and systematically monitor legislative proposals and strategic campaign work to influencing policy and practice throughout Southern Africa.
KEY ACTIVITIES OF THE PLATFORM
a) Bring together and facilitate an active network of representatives from the UN, governments, NGOs, civil society, disability networks and organizations, donors, academic institutions, etc.
b) Meet at least twice a year to review and make inputs to the draft protocol. Members of the platform will attend the meetings at their own costs. SAFOD Secretariat will ensure the representation of national federations in these meetings.
c) Organise national consultation meetings to ensure broader participation and inputs in the drafting of the Protocol.
d) Provide the SAFOD Secretariat with local relevant researched data that will assist in the drafting of the Protocol.
e) Undertake studies at both national and regional level that will ensure availability of relevant data that will support the development of the Protocol and advocating for its adoption.
f) Ensure that member countries are sensitized and aware of the process of drafting the Protocol.
g) Sensitize and lobby the departments or ministries responsible for disability at national level to support the drafting and adoption of the Protocol.
h) Attend and hold side events during the meetings of SADC ministers responsible for social development for purposes of lobbying and advocating for the adoption of the Protocol.
i) Play a consultative and coordination role, including providing a regional platform for and with persons with disabilities to have their voices heard, raise issues and challenges, bring forth new ideas and lessons learned, and build knowledge and awareness on equity for and inclusion of people with disabilities.
PRINCIPLES AND APPROACHES PROMOTED AND SUPPORTED BY THE PLATFORM
a. Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons;
c. Full and effective participation and inclusion in society;
d. Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity;
e. Equality of opportunity;
g. Equality between men and women;
h. Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities.
MEMBERSHIP OF THE PLATFORM
Membership of the platform shall be open to any institution with the interest of promoting of human rights of people with disabilities in South Africa. This will include but not limited to:
a) Disabled People’s Organisations
b) United Nations Agencies
d) Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
e) Civil society,
f) Development Agencies / donors,
g) Academic institutions
h) Research Institutions