Disability Rights and Law Centre (DRLC).
The Disability Rights Law Center (DRLC) is a unit within Deaf Zimbabwe Trust focusing mainly on advocating for the rights of people with disabilities through policy reform, strategic litigation when necessary, monitoring institutions dealing with PWDs and educating persons with disabilities on the law and their rights. The Centre was established after the realization that most Deaf people do not know their rights and do not know how to get recourses when their rights have been violated.
When was it Started?
In 2018, The DRLC focused on a number of projects. These included the increased access to information for persons who are Deaf and hard of hearing through engaging with ZBC, state and non-state actors. The objective of the project was to ensure that service providers become aware of the information needs of the Deaf.
In addition, the DRLC launched the ID project for persons with disabilities. The project seeks to ensure that the rights of persons with disabilities are protected through correct identification. The Centre has noted with concern that a significant number of persons with disabilities have not been able to receive services due to the stereotypes and wrong perceptions of persons with disabilities. In 2019, the Centre will engage with the relevant Parliament committees and line ministries to make the case for a disability identity card.
The Centre engaged with relevant stakeholders during the year in order to build strategic alliances. These stakeholders included the Justice for Children and the Lawyers with Disabilities Association in Zimbabwe (LDAZ
The Centre also monitored 2 ongoing criminal cases, one in Bindura and another in Bulawayo. They are both rape cases involving girls who are Deaf. The Centre is monitoring these cases to ensure access to justice for the Deaf girls. Many times, when a party to a case is deaf, certain procedures may not be followed due to the fact that there a language barrier. As the DRLC, we partner with the Sign Language department and provide interpreters to take care of the language barrier problem.