June 17, 2024

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Rwanda: UNABU urges public institutions and CSOs to fully include people with disabilities in climate change action

Rwandan organization of Women with disabilities (UNABU) has urged public institutions and civil society organizations (CSOs) in Rwanda to favor full participation of people with disabilities in addressing effect of climate change.

This concern was raised by Gaudance Mushimiyimana, UNABU’s Executive Secretary on Friday, May 25, 2024 while closing the workshop about gender and disability inclusion.

The workshop brought together participants from government institutions like the Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC) Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), Ministry in charge of Emergency Management (MINEMA), Meteo Rwanda, NCPD and non-governmental organizations working on climate change, to equip them with knowledge and skills relevant to ensure climate change policies and strategies are inclusive.

 “Being a female can be among the reasons that can cause someone to be excluded from various programs and be exposed to the dangers of being abused and being left behind. When disability is added, there is double discrimination,” Mushimiyimana said.

According to Mushimiyimana, other reasons may include the place of residence, educational opportunities, among others.

“We want your role in preventing all that can affect women and girls with disabilities and make them suffer from the effects of climate change. The way things are now, in different institutions, people with disabilities are recognized to be there, but they are not given the necessary support, what is being done is integration while we want full inclusion,” she added.

“There are some institutions which have persons with a disability but by the fact that they do not know the level of disability, there is not any specific additional interventions to participate in the activities that lead to climate change. We want to share the information so that people with disabilities could not continue to be excluded,” Iyakaremye Theogene, the trainer from UNAB.

Nkurunziza David from the Center for Rule of Law, said: “We need to know the effects of disasters on people with disabilities and law provision in terms of their protection.”

The full participation of people with disabilities in society is the responsibility of all: government, community, disabled people and their organizations, development and humanitarian agencies as well as disability specific organizations or services providers.

John R. Gakwavu, Executive Secretary of RECOR Rwanda emphasized that the knowledge and skills they have gained will help them in advocating people with disabilities, keeping in mind that “disability is not inability.”

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