BY ARNOLD LETSHOLO
The Assistant Minister of Tertiary Education, Research Science and Technology, Mosieraele Goya has assured the albinism society that the Botswana government will ratify the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities this year.
During the International Albinism Awareness Day he said it is critical that “an inclusive and friendly environment supported by laws and policies” are put in place to positively respond to the obligations and expectations of the Convention.
“It is against this background that Botswana is currently establishing a National Disability Framework geared towards responding to all its Batswana with disabilities. It is worth noting that in principle Botswana has been addressing some of the challenges leading to discrimination and stigmatizationthrough various policy documents,” said Goya
As testimony to this he gave examples like programmes and acts including the Health policy; the Policy on the Care of People with Disabilities; the Inclusive Policy; the Revised National Policy on Education; the Destitution Policy and the Disability Cash Allowance.
Goya underpinned that the implementation of these policies as well as the National Disability Framework and the envisaged Rehabilitation Policy, should also adequately respond to the needs of people with albinism.
He highlighted that in the developments of the National Disability Framework, the government is being assisted by its donor partner, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP.
The framework, he said, comprises the development of the National Disability Strategy, the Disability Legislation and the Revised National Policy on Disability. He added that he was reliably informed that the National Disability Strategy and the Revised National Policy on Disability will be ready by the end of June this year.
He emphasised the fact that the government cannot effectively and appropriately address albinism issues alone. That the involvement and engagement of all is key! He therefore urged all to stand strong and identify organisations that can assist to build a formidable community that can take Botswana to greater heights.
This year the commemoration went by the theme; “Still Standing Strong,” which Goya said could not have come at a better time as it is truly motivational.
He said it is a source of inspiration to people living with albinism, because it comes at a time when they find themselves against all odds.
“However, they are determined to find their place in all spheres of life, like everyone else. Whereas there is all evidence of challenges they face on a daily basis, like stigma, discrimination, inadequate supply of their critical health and educational needs, they are still going strong,” he said.