Talent Gore and Reason Razao
Members of Parliament and Senators have challenged law enforcement agencies to learn how to communicate in sign language as well as to be patient with people living with disabilities. The call was made during a Regional Network of the Children and Young People Trust conference that was held in Harare recently. The meeting which was also attended by junior parliamentarians, was held under the theme: “Amplifying voices of young women on issues to do with governance.”

“A review of our laws shows that most of the persons with disabilities cannot represent themselves in the courts of law, and those abused find it difficult to communicate to officials due to communication barriers,” a Senator representing persons with disabilities, Annah Shiri, said.

“Girls with disabilities are more vulnerable and more marginalised. They are excluded from the mainstream activities and have got more challenges than the able-bodied girls.” She castigated the way society negatively stereotypes persons with disabilities.

“The society does not view persons with disabilities as people who can contribute to development in community, but rather, they are neglected from day-to-day activities,” she said. Sen Shiri applauded President Mugabe for ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The conference also tackled issues to do with girls.

Mufakose MP Paurina Mpariwa said Government has to come up with a gender responsive budget that caters for girls.

She also said a motion to eradicate early child marriages had been passed in Parliament and encouraged parents to join the fight.

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