President Mnangagwa Jointly Launches Disability And Labor Migration Policies

ZIMBABWE’S President, Emmerson Mnangagwa has jointly launched the National Disability Policy as well as the National Labour Migration Policy, in a move that set to bring dignity as well as better livelihoods for persons with disabilities (PWDs) as well as immigrants seeking better life opportunities.

By Michael Gwarisa

Officially launching the policies, President Mngangagwa said the disability policy should mark an end to discrimination against people with disabilities as well as herald the beginning of a new chapter that is all inclusive and development oriented.

These critical policies augment the already existing pieces of legislation dealing with persons with disabilities and labor migration issues. They also have a bearing on us as individuals and indeed as a nation at large. In relation to disability issues, we may recall that on June, 21, 2018, I held a consultative dialogue with the leadership of organizations of persons with disabilities whereupon topical questions by persons with disabilities were discussed extensively.

“That meeting was informed by my government’s commitment to ensure that disability is mainstreamed in programs, projects and institutions of governance as outlined in section 22 of the Constitution of the republic of Zimbabwe. In line with the promise made in 2018, it is my administration’s determination to develop robust and responsive policies that meet the expectations of persons with disabilities,” said President Mnangagwa.

He called on citizens to stop treating people with disabilities as charitable cases but rather treat them as equals who are capable of productively participating in the building of Zimbabwe.

“The reality is that no one plans to be born with a disability or desire to acquire a disability. Hence, everyone has an equal chance of becoming a person with some kind of disability at any time. Guided by the values of Ubuntu, Hunu and the legislative obligations, both state and non-state actors have the collective obligation to do all which is possible for the fulfillment of the aspirations of this sector.

“The journey towards attainment of vision 2030 of any empowered and prosperous upper middle-income society entails that no one should be left behind. The advance this quest, the importance of legislative frameworks and policies that guide us as we fulfill, promote, protect and respect the rights of this and other constituencies cannot be over emphasized.”

He also said the second republic has been instrumental in advancing inclusion and honoring the plight of persons with disabilities. These include establishment of a special advisor on disability issues unit within the office of the President and establishment of a department of disabled persons affairs in compliance with Section 3 of the disabled persons Act Chapter 17.01.

“In line with the provisions of both the disabled persons Act and the labor Act, government also approved the policy on the equalization of the employment opportunities for persons with disabilities and deployment by deployment procedures. Most recently, the Public Service Commission has commenced recruitment of Gender, Wellness and Inclusivity personnel for all the government ministries, departments and agencies.”

Meanwhile, the launch of the two policies were a culmination of efforts by the Government of Zimbabwe and various United Nations (UN) agencies and partners in Zimbabwe. Speaking on behalf of all UN agencies that took part in the development of the two policies,  UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Maria Ribeiro said the UN recognizes the inclusive nature of the consultations that shaped the development of the two policies.

“The launch of these two policies are the culmination of efforts by the Government of Zimbabwe and partners to advance inclusion, reduce inequality, and take steps leave no-one behind as we work together to achieve the SDGs. The UN recognizes the inclusive nature of the consultations that shaped the development of the two policies. And I am pleased to note that the UN system has been part of these processes providing technical and financial support.

“The engagement of persons with disabilities was done, in part, with support from the joint UN-EU Spotlight Initiative to end violence against women and girls. Through the Spotlight Initiative, the  UN supported the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to conduct consultation on both the Persons with Disability Bill and the National Disability Policy. The UN supported training of 73 persons with disabilities from the two umbrella bodies, the Federation of Organizations of Disabled Persons in Zimbabwe and National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped. I have every belief that the extensive and inclusive process of consultation has strengthened the final product,” said Ms Ribeiro.

She added that a policy was as good as its implementation and urged on government and partners to scale up disability inclusive national programs so as to better the lives of those with disabilities.

“It is our hope that the Policy will safeguard rights of persons with disabilities, including sexual and reproductive health rights of children and women with disabilities and their protection against violence and harmful practices. We continue to encourage the scaling up disability inclusive budgeting by the Government. Policy is as good as its implementation and allocation of adequate resource would facilitate advancing the inclusion and rights of persons with disabilities.”

Speaking on the Labour Migration Policy, she said it will likely improve Zimbabwe’s governance of labour migration and implement the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

“The policy is  forward-looking and  rights-based and aims to foster the empowerment of migrant workers, while ensuring that migration contributes to Zimbabwe’s socioeconomic development. Governed migration has become a policy priority for the migration governance and development strategies of many governments worldwide.

“Enhancing the contributions of migrants is an indispensable policy imperative and a development enabler for origin and destination government countries alike. Labour migration must be considered as a key contributor to the 2030 Agenda and the attainment of the SDGs in Zimbabwe as elsewhere.”

 

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