The ‘forgotten tribe’: Persons with disabilities in Ethiopia and the State’s response to COVID-19Posted: 25 June, 2020 | Author: AfricLaw | Filed under: Dagnachew B. Wakene | Tags: ableism, African Disability Rights Protocol (ADP), COVID-19, CRPD, Declaration of State of Emergency, disability, Ethiopia, international disability treaty, Marrakesh Treaty, pandemic, persons with disabilities, PWDs, right to life, social distancing, suicide | 3 Comments
Author: Dagnachew B. Wakene
Institute for International and Comparative Law (ICLA), Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria
A person with visual impairment residing in Dire Dawa – Ethiopia’s second largest city in the Eastern part of the country – was recently reported to have set himself on fire in broad daylight and in public, apparently attempting to commit suicide. His reason, as later affirmed by his neighbors and acquaintances, was that he was entirely segregated, deserted by society, including friends who, pre-COVID-19, would assist him as his guides, give him a hand to run errands and go out-and-about his daily routines. Now, owing to the COVID-19 era mantra of ‘social distancing’, no one would approach the blind man altogether, hence instilling in him a feeling of despair, abandonment, lack of self-worth, so much so that he no longer saw the need to continue living thus decided to set himself alight right there on the streets of Dire Dawa. He was rushed to the hospital afterwards, but only in vain. The man died a few days later while on treatment.