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5 Rights the Kenyan Law Guarantees Persons With Disabilities

Persons with Disabilities in the country often face discrimination because of their disabilities. Some do not know what rights they are entitled to. Article 54 of the Kenyan Constitution 2010 outlines five rights that persons with disabilities are entitled to.

Rights of Persons with Disability Kenya | © Unsplash

Kenyan Disability Laws (Unsplash)

  • 1

    Right to Treatment with dignity and respect

    Section 1 (a) of Article 54 requires that persons with disabilities be addressed and referred to in a manner that is not demeaning to them. This entitlement advocate for non-discrimination of persons with disabilities on any basis. Therefore, this Right requires all persons not to prejudice persons with disabilities because of their disability.

  • 2

    Right to Access to educational institutions and facilities for PWDs

    Contained in Section 1(b), this entitlement requires that educational facilities be made comfortable for persons with disabilities. It advocates for the principles of accessibility, reasonable accommodation, and universal design in developing infrastructures such as buildings.

    Accessibility means that all structures are designed to allow a persons with disabilities to access them without any strain. It calls for buildings to have access ramps for wheelchairs, elevators, and handrails. 

  • 3

    Right to Reasonable access to all places, public transport, and information

    This entitlement in Section 1 (C) of Article 54 calls on the government to ensure that public infrastructures such as buildings and roads are friendly to persons with disabilities. Thus, it advocates for accessibility to facilitate movement with ease for persons with disabilities. 

    It also advocates for universal design to ensure that public facilities are easily accessible for PWDs without requiring no modification. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) defines universal design as “the design of products, environments, programs, and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.” 

  • 4

    Right to the use of sign language, braille, or other appropriate means of communication

    This provision strives to ensure that PWDs who have visual or hearing impairments can communicate effectively. Article 7 of the Constitution complements this entitlement by calling for the promotion of sign language. It requires the government to “promote the development and use of indigenous languages, Kenyan Sign language, Braille and other communication formats and technologies accessible to persons with disabilities.”

    Sign language could become the country's third official language after English and Kiswahili if the National Assembly approves the Kenyan Sign Language Bill of 2021. The Bill, which the Senate has already approved, strives to ensure learners with hearing impairments are "taught in a manner in which they can understand and use the dominant language of instruction in the education system."

    Should the Bill become law, all government institutions such as the judiciary, parastatals, and schools will be required to provide for the use of Sign Language.

  • 5

    Right to the accessibility of materials and devices to overcome constraints arising from the person’s disability.

    Article 54 (1) (e) of the Kenyan Constitution entitles persons with disabilities to the accessibility of assistive devices to become as independent as possible. Such assistive devices include crutches, wheelchairs, and hearing aids.

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