Why Hasn't The Botswana Government Signed The UN Convention On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities?

The United Nations  Convention On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities (CRPD) is a treaty of the United Nations adopted in December 2006 and opened for signature by member states in March of 2007. Its mandate include among others,to promote,protect and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by persons with disabilities and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.

Botswana,despite being a member state of the United Nations,has not signed this treaty. The country remains one of only four of the 193 UN member states to not have signed this treaty and no reason has been provided as to why is this has not been done. The map below shows states which has signed and ratified the convention:

The CRPD was the first human rights treaty of the 21st century and has helped accelerate the movement which aims to stop the viewing of disabled people as objects of charity but as subjects with rights and capable of claiming those rights and making decisions of their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active members of society.

The following are the general obligations of member states to the Convention if they sign and ratify it:

a.Member states have to adopt appropriate legislation which would provide an enabling environment for the implementation of the aforementioned rights of people with disabilities.

b.Abolish laws,customs,practices and regulations which foster the discrimination against persons with disabilities.

c.Take into account the protection of the rights of people with disabilities when formulating policies.

d.To refrain from engaging in any acts or practices which are inconsistent with upholding the rights of people with disabilities and ensure that public institutions conform to the mandates of the Convention.

e.To take all measures necessary to abolish the discrimination against people with disabilities by persons,organizations or private enterprises.

f.To undertake the research and development of facilities which would meet the requirements of persons with disabilities.

h.To provide accessible information to persons with disabilities about assistive technologies,devices and aids which can be beneficial to the quality of their everyday lives.

i.To facilitate the training of professionals and staff working with persons living with disabilities

The aforementioned obligations of the CRPD shows that it can go a long way in ensuring that persons living with disabilities enjoy the same quality of life as their able bodies counterparts so it is appalling and shameful that 12 years after the opening of signatures for the treaty,Botswana still has not done so.

If the country is serious about elevating the status of the country, it has to adopt the concept of social inclusion which ensures that no group of people is placed at a disadvantage when initiatives which aim to elevate the country are adopted and the CRPD ensures that persons living with disabilities are not excluded.

The signing of the CRPD by the government of Botswana is long overdue and unless reasons are publicly stated as to why this has not been done yet,this sheer incompetence by those who are responsible should not be left to slide by citizens.

The purpose of a government is to indiscriminately serve the interests of all its citizens and if is unable to do so but instead focuses its energy and taxpayers' money on appealing court cases about which orifices people should insert their members in the privacy of their bedrooms,it fails to serve its main purpose.