19.8 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) aims to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. Parties to the Convention (including Ethiopia) are required to promote, protect, and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities. The Convention was signed in 2007 and ratified by the Ethiopian House of Peoples’ Representatives in June 2010.
The UNCRPD introduced the concept of ‘reasonable accommodation’. This acknowledges that people with disabilities face many barriers and reasonable accommodation should be made to redress this. Reasonable accommodation involves providing the necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments, while ‘not imposing a disproportionate or undue burden’. This reflects the fact that addressing all the barriers faced by people with disabilities requires a lot of resources that may not always be available. Nevertheless, there are a number of possible reasonable accommodations that providers could make. These include making existing facilities (such as health centres) accessible for people using crutches and wheelchairs, providing sign language interpretation, providing information in Braille, and so on. At a community level, you can help in making these changes.