Rights of persons with disabilities during COVID-19

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and her Deputy, Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize, will on Friday host a webinar focusing on upholding the rights of persons with disabilities.

The webinar will be held under the theme: ‘Persons with Disabilities and COVID-19 South Africa’.

The purpose of the webinar is to conduct an interface dialogue as a direct result of the disability specific interventions undertaken by government across services and infrastructure within the COVID-19 government and civil society responses.

Small Business Development Deputy Minister Rosemary Capa will unpack economic interventions for persons with disabilities during the lockdown period and beyond.

The White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities provides clear policy directives and implementation methods and guidelines, for government to implement programmes and projects to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities.

The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, states that ‘Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law’.

It thus guarantees the right of persons with disabilities to equality, non-discrimination and human dignity.

The Webinar is particularly relevant because persons with disabilities who are dependent on support for their daily needs may find themselves isolated and unable to cope during lockdown measures, while those living in care facilities are particularly vulnerable, as evidenced by a number of deaths in residential care homes and psychiatric facilities.

“Persons with disabilities also continue to face discrimination and other barriers in accessing livelihood and income support, participating in online forms of education, and seeking protection from violence,” the department said.

The webinar will bring together representatives from national governments, provincial governments, academic institutions, civil society organisations, donors, United Nations agencies, private sector organizations and youth-led organisations from across the relevant sectors to have an open discussion on challenges that exist and the interventions being put in place to address these challenges. – SAnews.gov.za

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