A Milestone in Disability Rights in Africa – Entry into Force of the African Disability Protocol 

The African Disability Protocol (ADP) is a vital legal framework guiding African Union member states in developing disability laws and policies. Inspired by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the ADP reflects a social and human rights approach to disability. It aligns with the commitment to Leaving No One Behind formulated in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Adopted in January 2018, the ADP officially entered into force on 5th June 2024, following its 15th ratification on 5th May 2024. This milestone was achieved through dedicated advocacy by organisations of persons with disabilities across Africa. The ADP addresses inadequacies in the African human rights system, tackles deep-rooted issues of disability discrimination, and promotes community living and inclusive development. 

Countries that have ratified the ADP include Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Photo of the various flags of the member states of the African Union.
Flags of the Arican Union memberstates. (c)GIZ
He was sharing an announcement informing the Member State of AU  that the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa had entered into force. This significant milestone occurred on 3rd May 2024, following the deposit of the requisite 15th number of instruments of ratification.
Dr. Dr Thomas Ongolo (left)
Flag of the AU
Flag of the AU. (c) AU

GIZ Regional Advisor Thomas Ongolo from the project inclusion of persons with disabilities was present at the office of the Legal Counsel at the African Union Commission Headquarters. He received the official announcement from senior staff Dr. Papa Mamadou Diop, informing the member states of the AU that the protocol had entered into force. 

The African Disability Protocol's entry into force gives us the right to be treated with dignity, and the right to be protected by the rule of law. ADP therefore opens to all persons with disabilities in Africa, fundamental rights which should be cherished and upheld by all.

The ADP reinforces the CRPD and highlights the importance of inclusive and sustainable development in Africa. It acknowledges the role of development cooperation among African states in realising the rights of persons with disabilities and involves disability specialists and civil society in its implementation.  

The protocol states ten principles such as non-discrimination, equality between men and women, accessibility, and reasonable accommodation to name a few. Member states are required to take measures and interpret the protocol based on these principles with the goal of fulfilling the rights of persons with disabilities. 

By integrating these measures, AU member states can take a human rights-based approach to disability inclusion, thereby fostering a more inclusive and equitable Africa for all. 

Further Resources

Quotations about the ADP Entry into Force

A Milestone in Disability Rights in Africa – Entry into Force of the African Disability Protocol 

The African Disability Protocol (ADP) is a vital legal framework guiding African Union member states in developing disability laws and

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