Policy makers from 15 African Union members met on Saturday in Rwandan capital city Kigali to explore ways to accelerate ratification of two human rights instruments aimed at protecting specific vulnerable groups.
There is need for more efforts to ensure urgent ratification of these two protocols, Yeung Kam John Sik Yuen, Commissioner at the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, said when addressing participants at the seminar which ended on Saturday.
He urged participants to play an advocacy role and work towards the ratification of the protocols and promotion of the rights as outlined under the protocol.
The Protocol on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa was adopted by the African Union at its 26th summit in January 2016 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and the Protocol on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa was adopted by the African Union at its 30th summit in Addis Ababa in January 2018.
A minimum of 15 states ratification is required for each of the protocols to enter into force.
Only one country, Lesotho has ratified the protocol on the Rights of Older Persons, while no country has ratified the protocol on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, according to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights.
There is need for legal guarantees because elderly persons in Africa still face discrimination, neglect and various forms of abuse in society and the same goes for people with disabilities, Rwandan human rights activist Joel Kamanzi told Xinhua.
Older people comprise about 6.3 percent of the continent's population, said Kamanzi.
People with disabilities are vulnerable because of their impairment and negative society attitudes towards them, he said, adding that many are deprived of adequate access to services, resources and equal participation in the social-economic development processes.
The two-day seminar was co-organized by the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights and the Rwandan government to raise awareness on the existence of the two protocols.
Participants included officials directly involved in the signing and ratification processes of international human rights instruments in their respective countries.