Burkina Faso: Implementing disability rights

5 Things to Know About the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Burkina Faso
Women in wheelchairs

1. A milestone for people with disabilities: The government of Burkina Faso has recently handed in its initial report on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the first legally binding international instrument, which sets out the rights of persons with disabilities. With the submission of the report, Burkina Faso fulfils not only its reporting obligations under the CRPD but also defines clear priority actions to strengthen the legislative, institutional and programmatic framework for the protection and promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities in the country. 

2. The CRPD belongs to everyone: In Burkina Faso, a national structure responsible for coordinating, monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the Convention was created by the government. It is called ‘COMUD Handicap’ or the multisectoral Council for the Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. To ensure participation and ownership of the CRPD, the Permanent Secretary of the Council involved several other technical and financial partners in the report development including Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs), local authorities, representatives of ministerial departments, expert organisations, NGOs active in the field of disability and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA). These activities were carried out under the supervision of the Ministry of Social Affairs.

3. Participation is at the heart of all actions: The development process of this initial report has been participatory and inclusive. Recognising the importance of Article 32 of the CRPD (international cooperation), consultation frameworks have been created between public governance, development partners and local DPOs. The dynamics created by such a multi-stakeholder approach perfectly represent the fundamental principles of the convention and are aligned with the motto of the disability rights movement: "nothing about us without us".

4. Light for the World: a reliable partner for the government of Burkina Faso: Light for the World in Burkina Faso strives for a system change in which the government ensures the participation of persons with disabilities in the development, monitoring and implementation of all national policies. The disability and development organisation helped to initiate the reporting process and accompanied the government throughout the process with technical and financial support. Additionally, Light for the World organised a training of trainers in Disability and Inclusive Development in which representatives from the Ministry of Social Affairs, local DPOs and civil society organisations participated. Moreover, Light for the World supported the development of the national Inclusive Education Strategy, which contributes to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 4: Inclusive and equitable quality education and promotion of life-long learning opportunities for all. 

After many years of successful cooperation, in 2018 Light for the World was also awarded an honorary distinction by the Ministry of Women, National Solidarity and Family.

5. The report is not the end: The initial report, which was submitted to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the UN in Geneva, is merely the beginning of a comprehensive process to improve the situation of women, men and children with disabilities in the country. Civil Society Organizations and DPOs will prepare their report, which will provide further information to the Committee on achievements and challenges connected to the CRPD implementation in their country. Afterwards, the CRPD Committee will set a date for its Constructive Dialogue for Burkina Faso to discuss the state of implementation and provide concrete recommendations.