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LNFOD hails enactment of disability law

Bereng Mpaki

THE Lesotho National Federation of Organisations of the Disabled (LNFOD) has hailed parliament for passing the Persons with Disability Equity Act of 2021.

The law, which recognises and protects the rights of people living with disabilities, was passed by parliament earlier this month.

LNFOD executive director, Advocate Nkhasi Sefuthi, on Friday told the Sunday Express that the enactment of the law would bring lost hope to persons living with disability.

The bill was tabled by Social Development Minister ‘Matebatso Doti in the National Assembly in 2018 before it was eventually enacted into law by parliament on 12 March 2021.

Advocate Sefuthi said by enacting the law, Lesotho has also domesticated the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which it ratified in 2008.

“This is indeed a great milestone which impacts positively on the rights of people living with disabilities and indeed amplifies all other measures taken to realise and promote the rights of persons with disabilities in Lesotho,” Mr Sefuthi said.

With the passing of the law, LNFOD is optimistic that the rights of persons living with disability will be protected.

“The domestication of this treaty which recognises and protects the rights of people living with disabilities has not only brought the long-lost hope to the community in Lesotho but is a life-changing milestone which calls for huge celebration by all.”

Advocate Sefuthi attributed the eventual promulgation of the disability law to great advocacy by organisations representing people living with disability and other partners such as the National Human Rights Non- Governmental Organisation, the media houses and the great collaboration of the Social Development ministry and other stakeholders.

He said their input ensured that the provisions of the Act benefit persons living with disability in line with human rights standards prescribed under the UNCRPD and chapter 1 and 2 of Lesotho’s Constitution.

Among other things, the Act introduces the new social perspective of disability as well as human rights approach to disability issues. It also prescribes how human rights apply to people living with disabilities.

It also introduces among others, the disability advisory council whose main function is to advise of how different stakeholders should make adjustments and modifications in ensuring that people living with disabilities enjoy their rights.

“Also found in the Act is the provision relating to the establishment of the public fund for disability. This shall be necessary for financing projects empowering the disabled community and the provision introducing the disability grant and the care dependency grant which shall mitigate the disability related costs suffered by its recipients. In terms of this Act, people with disabilities have a right to choose their residential area and the forced institutionalisation is prohibited,” Adv Sefuthi said.

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