Government recognizes rights of the disabled

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Harare April 28, 2022 (New Ziana) –THE Government recognises
that persons with disabilities have human rights, which entitle them to
occupy space in all facets of life, including in education and
employment, a cabinet Minister said on Thursday.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Paul Mavima made the
remarks while officiating at a belated function to mark World Autism
Day.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a broad range of conditions
characterised by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours,
speech, and non-verbal communication.

ASD is influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors
because each person with autism has a distinct set of strengths and
challenges.

Mavima said the Zimbabwean Constitution and the National Disability Policy,
which was launched by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on June 9, 2021,
clearly articulate government commitment towards fulfilling, promoting,
protecting and respecting the rights of persons with disabilities,
including the rights of persons with Autism.

Section 3.9 of the National Disability Policy is dedicated to
inclusive education, with a provision clearly stating that persons with
disabilities must be exempted from paying fees at public learning
institutions, thus promoting their right to education and ultimately
increasing their opportunities to enter the formal labour market, as well
as to establish different livelihood projects.

“The Government of Zimbabwe is making great efforts towards achieving an
inclusive education system of appropriate standards, at all levels, as
well as life-long learning for persons with disabilities including
persons with Autism of all gender affiliations,” he explained.

“The idea is to ensure the full development of human potential,
including that of children with Autism, development of their sense of
dignity, self-worth, personality, talents, creativity, as well as their
mental and physical abilities.”

Section 3.2 of the National Disability Policy is also dedicated to the
Economic Empowerment and Self-Reliance of persons with Disabilities,
thus calling for an end to the discrimination of persons with
disabilities in all matters concerning all forms of employment,
including in career advancement and  in workplace safety and health
initiatives, he said.

The Department of Disability Affairs in the Ministry of Public Service,
Labour and Social Welfare was committed to working closely with all
persons with disabilities and their representative organisations, Mavima explained.

“We take cognisance of the fact that when disability such as Autism
affects a child, Autism does not just affect one person but the family
as whole, hence the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social
Welfare does not only work with individuals but with families as a whole
– we seek to support both the individual with disability as well as the
family,” he said.

Mavima urged the nation to focus on recognizing the talents of persons
with Autism, rather than focusing on their weaknesses, to create a
society, which embraces diversity and one, which is rich in terms of
inclusion.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed April 2 as World Autism
Day, with the aim of raising awareness on the condition and to encourage
people to support persons suffering from it.

New Ziana

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