On 12 August 2021, the United Nations office issued a notification (Ref: C.N.216. 2021.TREATIES-IV.15) communicating Botswana’s accession to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) with effect from 11 August 2021.
The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) applauds the Government of Botswana for ratifying CRPD after years of delay, despite intense advocacy by CSOs working on disability rights in Botswana and the SADC region.
We commend the Botswana Government for acknowledging the importance of the principles within the CRPD to persons with disabilities and call for urgent action to address access to justice, dignity, autonomy, non-discrimination, equality, and mobility. Having ratified the Convention, the first step is for the Government of Botswana to develop national legal frameworks on disability rights, guided by the norms contained in the CRPD.
In the next two years before Botswana reports on its progress in implementing the CRPD, SALC recommends that the Botswana Government:
- In collaboration with CSOs, take urgent steps to domesticate and implement the principles enshrined in the Convention;
- Prioritise the removal of barriers to access to justice for persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities;
- Recognise and act on stigma and discrimination driven by cultural beliefs and stereotypes, as these often shape policy decisions around disability issues and result in inadequate policies that fail to present persons with disabilities as individuals with full legal capacity with the right to autonomy and dignity; and
- Act to dismantle all other barriers as it moves towards developing policy frameworks specific to the needs of persons with disabilities.