11 July 2018

Malawi: Minister Condemns Exploitation of People With Disabilities

Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Dr Jean Kalirani has warned that anyone found violating the rights of people with disabilities will bear the consequences of facing the long arm of the law.

Kalirani issued the warning on Tuesday when she presided over the launch of the National Disability Mainstreaming Strategy at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.

"It is disheartening to see some parents and guardians exposing children with disabilities to practices that amount to violation of the rights of these children," Kalirani said.

The minister cited practices such as locking these children in doors and using them for generating income through street begging.

Kalirani, therefore, appealed to the general public to help in curbing exploitation practices such as street begging by stopping giving money to children engaged in this conduct.

"Giving these children money encourages them to remain in the streets than attaining their right to education by attending school.

"Those willing to assist should do so through disability organisations or the responsible ministry but not in the streets," she said.

The minister also spoke against the killing of people with albinism which is increasingly becoming common in the country.

She called on the police and relevant stakeholders to work together in fighting against this inhuman behaviour.

Chairperson for the Executive Council for the Federation of Disability Organisations in Malawi (FEDOMA), Nitta Hanjahanja has appreciated the support demonstrated by some agencies in mainstreaming disability inclusiveness even before the launch of the strategy.

She appealed to government and relevant stakeholders to show commitment in ensuring that the strategy meets its desired goals through proper implementation.

The United Nations (UN) in Malawi has since commended government for taking this very important step in formulating this strategy.

UN Women Representative Clara Anyangwe described the strategy as a good framework for advancing the rights and welfare of persons with disabilities in all sectors.

"The strategy is a basis for a holistic response to addressing the diverse and intersecting ways affecting people with disabilities. It is also one of the important means of implementing the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF)," Anyangwe said.

She added that disability mainstreaming should be a continuous process for achieving equality through promotion of inclusion and combating norms, prejudices and stereotypes that fuel human rights' violations against persons with disabilities.

The National Disability Strategy, which aims at providing guidelines in the development of policies and programmes on disability, has also been launched in Braille.

The formulation of this framework is one of the steps government has taken in ensuring that disability issues are given a priority.

Available statistics indicate that the population of persons with various forms of disabilities is around 500,000.

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