MDAC attends Inclusion International’s Regional Forum in Africa

On 2 and 3 March 2011, MDAC participated in a forum bringing together around 60 self-advocates, parents and activists in Johannesburg, South Africa. The forum focused on the rights of people with intellectual disabilities in Africa, and covered the areas of the right to legal capacity, family support, right to live in the community and right to inclusive education. These are the four priority areas of Inclusion International, the global NGO which was the main organiser of the forum.

Eyong Mbuen, MDAC Legal Officer, gave a presentation on the right to legal capacity, a human rights theme which MDAC deals with in several countries. The presentation highlighted some of the challenges to implementing the right to legal capacity, drawing from MDAC’s work in Europe and Africa. These include:

  1. the deeply-held beliefs that persons with intellectual disabilities are incompetent to make decisions autonomously or with support;
  2. the low level of awareness among a variety of stakeholders of alternatives to taking away people’s right to make decisions about their own lives; and
  3. the way that legal capacity impedes therealisation of many other human rights so that implementing a range of other rights may not be possible without reforming legal capacity systems.

At the end of the forum Inclusion Africa adopted a resolution containing ideas on how to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa. The resolution calls for action at the African regional and sub-regional levels, as well as by member associations in various countries.

The forum was organised by Inclusion International, Inclusion Africa, Disabled Children’s Action Group, Down Syndrome South Africa and the Norwegian Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities.

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