NATIONAL ASSEMBLY CONSIDERS RATIFICATION OF PROTOCOLS TO CATER FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITY, OLDER PERSONS
A joint sitting of the Departmental Committees on Labour & Social Welfare, and Defense & Foreign Relation yesterday engaged stakeholders on the Ratification of Protocols to the African Charter on Human and People’s rights. The meeting brought together the two committees, the Ministry of Labour and Social protection, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Gender and Equality Commission, Kenya National Commission of Human Rights, and the NCPD, to try and chart a way forward to ensure the ratification of two protocols on the Rights of Older Persons, and the Rights of Persons Living with Disability.
In a session co-chaired by Hon Katoo Ole Metito (Defense) and Hon Kabinga Wachira (Labour), it was noted that a lot of African states have had a very slow uptake of these treaties, as currently only 18 countries have signed while 2 have ratified the Protocol on Rights of Older Persons, while the Protocol on Rights of Persons Living With Disability has only been signed by 10 member states and ratified by one member state. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the slow uptake of these protocols can be attributed to the failure by member states to publicize the treaties and what they seek to offer to the people.
In his submission to the committee, the Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui, emphasized the importance of ratifying these two protocols, as they are appendages to the continental instrument that promotes and protects human rights and basic freedoms. If done, the Ratification will complement existing legal and policy efforts, and address gaps in the same, as these will be catered for under normal budgetary lines, hence improving the services given to the affected persons.
The Cabinet Memorandum on the Rights of Older Persons; and the Rights of persons with Disabilities was submitted to the National Assembly on 19th May 2021, in accordance with Section 8 of the Treaty Making and Ratification Act which provides that once Cabinet approves a treaty, a memorandum is submitted to the National Assembly together with the treaty.
The Ratification process was approved by the Cabinet on 25th February 2021, however, the broad nature of the charter called for a more co-ordinated approach for the two categories of persons.
The protocols, which seek to promote, protect and ensure full and equal enjoyment of all human and people’s rights by older persons as well as persons with disability, will enter into force upon ratification by fifteen states. This, will complement existing legal and policy efforts, and address gaps in the same.
In Kenya today, a total of 2,740,515 persons are categorized as older persons and this accounts for 6% of the population, while Disability rate on the other hand is at 2.2% of the population which translates to 918,270 persons.
Monday, August 16, 2021