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Input on Draft National Action Plan to Combat Racism and Related Intolerances

nat act pUbuntu has responded to the call for input on the draft National Action Plan on Racism and Related Intolerances:

 

 

 

Deputy Minister Jeffery

C/O Ms Danaline Franzman,

Chief Director: Social Justice and Participatory Democracy,

Department of Justice and Constitutional Development

30 June 2016

 

The Ubuntu Centre, South Africa Submission on:

 

Draft National Action Plan to Combat Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerances

 

The Ubuntu Centre South Africa is the only independent membership based Disabled People’s Organization, run for and by people with psychosocial disabilities in South Africa. It is registered in the NPO Directorate in the Department of Social Services as a Non Profit Organization.  The main activities of the organization are lobbying and advocacy for human rights and thus securing the dignity of people with psychosocial disabilities that remain a stigmatized, marginalized and discriminated vulnerable group in South Africa.

 

The Ubuntu Centre thanks the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development for the opportunity to comment on the Draft National Action Plan to Combat Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerances.

 

Introduction:

 

  1. In 2007, South Africa ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and this unambiguously commits the State to ensure non-discrimination as outlined in article 3 and 4 of the CRPD and other relevant articles are realized.

 

  1. The White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (WPRPD) 2015 articulates the existing framework to ensure the eradication of the persistent systemic discrimination and exclusion experienced by persons with disabilities in South Africa.

 

  1. Appropriate measures must be put in place to provide the required protection and therefore the National Action Plan to Combat Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerances (NAP) should ensure that related intolerances vis-a-vis people with disabilities is appropriately articulated, described and considered to give effect to SA’s international obligations and with consideration of the contents of WPRPD.

 

  1. The term “disablism” is recognized and defined in the WPRPD as:

 

“Describes the negative attitudes, behaviours, practices and environmental factors which discriminate (intentionally or unintentionally) against disabled people and create barriers to their equal participation in mainstream society.”

 

  1. The NAP should complement the existing framework and policy directives of the WPRPD to promote and protect the rights of people with disabilities, including inhumane, degrading and cruel treatment.

 

Noting that:

 

  1. People with disabilities may look or be perceived to be different, or even act or speak differently. They may require the assistance of a wheelchair, a cane, or other assistive technologies. They may have seizures or difficulty understanding seemingly simple directions and they may even appear to be disconnected to a commonly accepted reality. These perceived differences can be interpreted as inferiority and evoke a range of negative emotions or reactions in others, from misunderstanding and apprehension to feelings of disregard and hatred. This disablism, arising from the hostility towards the disability, or perceived disability, of the victim, or because of their perceived connection to disability can lead to discrimination.

 

  1. Discrimination against people with disabilities takes many forms, often resulting in discriminatory actions in employment, health and service delivery. But, disability discrimination can also manifest itself in the form of practices, some violent and criminal, and it is imperative that a message be sent to our country that these acts of discrimination motivated by perceived inferiority, hostility and hatred are unacceptable.

 

  1. International research and local evidence has indicated that persons with mental disabilities are especially vulnerable to discrimination, are extremely stigmatised and often exposed to human rights violations.  These phenomena can take many forms, from verbal abuse and bullying to fraud, vandalism, assault, rape or even murder.

 

The following submissions are made:

 

In the section: DEFINITIONS

 

  1. It is suggested that a reference to disability is included in the definition of Hate Crime on page 5 and that it reads:

Hate Crimes: Acts motivated by bias based on the identity (with reference to race, religion, and national origin, DISABILITY, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity) of the victim are forms of bias-motivated violence, more commonly referred to domestically and internationally as “hate crimes”.

 

  1. It is suggested that on page 6: “New’ Forms of Intolerance should read as “Other” forms of intolerance and should include disability discrimination in the list as:

 

  • Forms of disablism and disability discrimination manifesting in negative stereotyping and harmful practices or violent acts that seek to degrade, degrade or exclude people with disabilities.

 

  1. It is further suggested that “disablism” is defined and added to the list of definitions, paying attention to the precedent set in in the WPRPD and so that this is further elaborated in terms of the objectives of the NPA in including “other related intolerances”. It is suggested that the following definition is used:

 

Disablism is an attitudinal orientation or ideology of hostile negative attitudes, behaviours and practices which degrade reject or exclude disabled people based on their perceived inferiority.

 

 

In CHAPTER 1 – INTRODUCTION AND PUROSE OF NAP:

 

  1. This chapter refers only to CERD as a guiding international treaty for the NAP and should also make clearer the intersectionality of the obligations articulated in the other relevant more recent international treaties such as CEDAW, CRPD etc.  It is believed that the advancement of the rights of all marginalized groups and the addressing of the plurality of discriminations in South Africa will foster a truly tolerant society.

 

In CHAPER 3 – DEMOCRACY – THE END OF DISCRIMINATION?

 

  1. While disability information is integrated into the section on employment, there is no corresponding information of disability disparities or indicators regarding income distribution, education, housing, poverty and social security. Disability is rendered invisible in these important socio-economic indicators.

 

  1. No clear statement on preventing discrimination and prejudice against people with disabilities is articulated in this chapter while xenophobia, homophobia and gender discrimination is clearly articulated.

 

 

  1. On page 25 in the section: Eradicating the Legacy of Apartheid, the issue of disability is silent. We need to acknowledge the historical racial discrimination of services for people with disabilities that lead to black people with disabilities being one of the most marginalized sectors of society who now often continue to experience extreme levels of exclusion, prejudice, isolation and denial and/of lack of access to fundamental rights and services.  Unless the ongoing and continuing discrimination against people with disabilities is not fully articulated in relation to the legacy of apartheid, people with disabilities risk not being paid adequate attention in the NPA and benefitting from associated programs. They may be left behind.

 

  1. It is also worrying that there is no mention of civil society organizations, such as Disabled Peoples Organizations. They are not acknowledged as stakeholders in eradicating the legacy of apartheid but only government, labour, corporate and faith based organizations are stated. (79, page 25) even though later in the NAP they are acknowledged together with Media.

 

 

In CHAPTER 4 – ADDRESSING RACISM AND DISCRIMINATION AND PROMOTING EQUALITY

 

  1. This Chapter does not address the formation of the WPRPD as a complementary existing mechanism in place to address discrimination and the promotion of equality for people with disabilities.

 

In CHAPTER 5 – SOUTH AFRICA’S NATIONAL ACTION PLAN TO ADDRESS TO COMBAT RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, XENOPHOBIA AND RELATED INTOLERANCES

 

  1. In the introduction of this Chapter, the stated aim of the NAP appears to exclusively deal with racism. Mention is not made in relation to disability, sexual orientation or gender even though “related intolerances” are mentioned in 148. This serves to narrow the focus of the NAP to only address racism and this makes the promise of a “comprehensive policy” to address adequately constitutional equality and non-discrimination hollow (149). This also contradicts the principles of universality, interdependence and indivisibility of human rights as stated in 151.

 

In CHAPTER 6 – IMPLEMENTATION PLAN

 

  1. The relationship to the National Development Plan (NDP) and the NAP is unclear and as to how it will directly complement the NDP and other existing relevant implementation plans and policies. It risks overlap, duplication and confusion of powers, especially in issues of land restitution, housing, economic opportunities and poverty reduction in the actions of Goal 3.

 

In CHAPTER 7 – GOVERNANCE MODEL

 

  1. The fourth option is partly supported, however it is suggested that the coordinating focal point is situated in the Presidency. All spheres of government are required to work together coherently and participate in the further development and implementation of NAP, which together with the NDP, will redress poverty, underdevelopment, marginalization of people and communities, and other legacies of apartheid and continuing discrimination and inequality on a national level.
  2. For any NAP to succeed inter-ministerial co-operation is necessary and cannot fall to one ministry and must be coordinated across all spheres of government, including Provincial and Local implementation. These powers can only be derived from the Presidency.
  3. There must be a Government-Civil society interface so as to ensure full participation of civil society.
  4. It is noted that the responsibilities of a rapid response mechanism are essentially a policing function together with Chapter 9 (SAHRC), national and provincial disaster management structures and the judicial process and there are serious concerns of parallel and duplicated structures being formed here.
  5. It is suggested that an annual report to Parliament is tabled by the Presidency on progress of the NAP and that this is debated in the National Assembly. Relevant Chapter 9 Institutions need to have adequate financial resources to monitor progress.

 

Conclusion

 

We thus urge the South African Government to continue to design and take effective measures to combat rising levels of intolerance and crime against marginalized and discriminated groups.

 

 

Annie Robb,

+27 (0) 720441024 or theubuntucentre@gmail.com

Date: 30 June 2016

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