Building a Disability Inclusive Society: Leaving no Place and No one behind
08 September 2022
Zimbabwe has made tremendous progress in a number of areas to advance the rights of Persons with Disabilities
His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa
Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, Hon. O. Muchinguri – Kashiri
Minister of Public Service, Labour, and Social Welfare, Hon. P. Mavhima
Minister of State for Provincial affairs and Devolution Mashonaland East Province, Hon A. Munzverengwi
Special Advisor on National Disability Issues, Hon J.T. Malinga
National Disability Expo Chairperson, Ms. S. Mutevedzi
Senior Government Officials
Representatives of Umbrella Bodies of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities
Ladies and Gentlemen
Director of Ceremony
On behalf of the United Nations Family, I am pleased to be part of this auspicious occasion - the 2022 National Disability Exposition held under the theme ‘Building a Disability Inclusive Society: Leaving no Place and No one behind.’
This theme is truly a befitting message for all of us. It resonates with the central promise that the United Nations Member States made in 2015 when they adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - ‘to leave no one behind and to reach those furthest behind first.’
Human rights, peace and security and sustainable development for all can be enjoyed only if persons with disabilities in all their diversity are included in society on an equal basis with others and as both agents of change and beneficiaries. Mainstreaming a human rights-based approach to disability, in combination with targeted measures, will make the concerns and experiences of persons with disabilities an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres.
The United Nations in Zimbabwe remains committed to partnership with Government to advance the national development agenda in line with the National Vision of 2030 and the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS 1). The UN and Government also work very closely to implement the Zimbabwe UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF-2022-2026). The Cooperation Framework outlines the key areas of cooperation in the next four years, and I am pleased to share that disability rights remain priority within the Cooperation Framework.
As you are all aware, the work of the United Nations on disability inclusion is shaped by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The Convention’s principles and provisions mandate Member States to protect, promote and fulfil the human rights of persons with disabilities. This is to ensure inclusion, accessibility, and meaningful engagement of persons with disabilities including women, children, indigenous people as well as other vulnerable groups.
I wish to recognize and commend the Government of Zimbabwe for continued efforts towards domestication and implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. As the UN Family, we remain committed to working closely with Government to embed the rights of persons with disabilities and build trust and confidence among persons with disabilities to ensure that they are valued, and their dignity and rights are respected and participate on an equal basis with others.
Let me also take this opportunity to congratulate the Government of Zimbabwe for adopting the National Disability Policy that was launched on the 9th of June 2021 by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Dr E.D. Mnangagwa. As the UN Family, we have joined forces with Government to roll out the implementation of this policy. Let me also congratulate Government for launching the National Technical Coordination Committee that will lead the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of this Policy. This new mechanism is a clear sign of commitment buy Government to translate policy into action. As the UN we ready to support prioritized actions through our programmes such as the Spotlight Initiative, and the United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) Programme.
Zimbabwe has made tremendous progress in a number of areas to advance the rights of Persons with Disabilities. This includes strong legal and policy reforms. I was elated to learn of the provisions for the elections of Persons with Disabilities as Senators. This is a good practice that should be replicated for other elective and representative positions at all levels. Other key milestones include enhanced capacities of stakeholders, especially Organizations of Persons with Disabilities. Government and other partners have also invested a lot on strong advocacy and awareness raising for disability rights. Such commendable milestones must be preserved.
I take this opportunity to appreciate Government and other partners for the life transforming initiatives on disability inclusion in Zimbabwe. This is a positive trajectory for the achievement of the Agenda 2030, the SDGs targets and the UN Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The United Nations system reaffirms that the full and complete realization of the human rights of all persons with disabilities is an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. This is consistent with the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments, in particular the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the Convention on the Rights of the Child; the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, as well as applicable International Labour Organization conventions. These commitments are essential for the advancement of development, human rights and peace and security, and as the UN we remain as strong partners towards their realization.
Lastly, I wish to congratulate Government of Zimbabwe for hosting the National Disability Exposition, yet again. I believe this is a very good platform for useful exchanges on lessons learned, advocacy and awareness raising necessary for ‘Building a Disability Inclusive Society: Leaving no Place and No one behind.’
I thank you for your attention.
Remarks by the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr Edward Kallon at the 2022 National Disability Exposition in Marondera