Pakistan’s first-ever Disability Rights Act becomes law

January 2020
A group of people with disabilities raise their hands.

Sightsavers has joined campaign groups in Pakistan to welcome a new law that will make it illegal to discriminate or exclude people on the basis of disability.

The Disability Rights Act, approved on 10 January, will provide a comprehensive legal framework to protect and promote the rights of people with disabilities in Pakistan.

This ground-breaking legislation comes after more than 5,200 Pakistanis signed a petition that was handed to parliament in December last year. The petition was part of the Equal World campaign, launched in Pakistan by Sightsavers, the National Forum of Women with Disabilities and the Community Based Inclusion Development Network (CBIDN).

“The introduction of this law represents a historic step for our country and we thank the government for making this happen,” said Sightsavers’ Pakistan country director Munazza Gilliani. “Every day, thousands of people are excluded from public life simply because they have a disability. This new law will allow us to challenge incidents involving this kind of discrimination through the legal system. It gives individuals legal recourse in all areas of life including education, employment and healthcare.”

Asim Zafar, secretariat coordinator of the CBIDN, said: “We thank the government for taking action on this issue and look forward to working with them to ensure its fullest realisation.”

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More than 5,200 people signed the petition, calling on the Pakistani government to protect the rights of people with disabilities.

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