Government Action on Disability Policy
A Global Survey
Part II - Government Replies as Country Profiles


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© Dimitris Michailakis 1997

Council for the Handicapped (5 February 1996)

General policy

The officially recognized disability policy in Zambia is expressed in law, and in guidelines adopted by a national disability council. The emphasis - in descending scale - is on: individual support, rehabilitation, prevention.

Since the adoption of the Rules the Government has not done anything in order to convey the message of full participation.


The rights of persons with disabilities are protected by a combination of special and general legislation. The judicial mechanisms adopted to protect the rights of persons with disabilities is due process (legal remedy through the courts). Administrative and other non-judicial mechanisms include a Governmental body (administrative).

The general legislation applies to persons with different disabilities with respect to education and employment. The following benefits are guaranteed by law to persons with disabilities: health and medical care, training, rehabilitation and counselling, employment, and participation in decisions affecting them.

No new legislation concerning disability has been enacted since the adoption of the Rules.


There are no laws and regulations ensuring accessibility of the build environment. No measures have been promoted to facilitate accessibility in the build environment. There is no special transport. When planning to build accessible environments the most difficult obstacles are: attitudinal factors, economic/budgetary factors, lack of legislation and regulations, lack of knowledge, research and information. There is no disability awareness component incorporated in the training of planners, architects and construction engineers.

Sign language for deaf people is recognized as the main means of communication between deaf persons and others. There are no Government measures for encouraging media and other forms of public information to make their services accessible. The following services are provided in order to facilitate information and communication between persons with disabilities and other persons: literature in Braille/tape, and sign language interpretation available for major events.

Organizations of persons with disabilities

There is a national umbrella organization where all organizations of persons with disabilities are represented. Legal provisions mandate the representatives of persons with disabilities to participate in policy-making and to work with Governmental institutions. Organizations are sometimes consulted when laws and regulations with a disability aspect are being prepared. Consultations take place at the national level. The Government gives organizational/logistic support to existing or new organizations. Persons with disabilities participate to a very limited extent in Government, legislature, judicial authorities and to a great extent in NGOs. The organizations have the role to advocate rights and improved services, mobilize persons with disabilities, identify needs and priorities, participate in the planning, implementation and evaluation of services and measures, and contribute to public awareness.

Co-ordination of work

There is a national co-ordinating committee reporting to the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services. The committee includes representatives of several Ministries, from organizations of persons with disabilities, and of other NGOs. The Government expects the co-ordinating committee to participate in policy development and to perform other tasks e.g. advise the Government on disability issues. The establishment of the co-ordinating committee has had the following effects: improved co-ordination of measures/programmes etc. in the disability field, improved integration of responsibility, a better dialogue in the disability field, and improved promotion of public awareness.

The adoption of the Standard Rules has led to a rethinking of the approach to disability policy, however not to a great extent.

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