There is no climate justice without disability justice. Climate change is currently the central political and moral issue around the globe. It affects everyone, but not equally. For persons with disabilities, the threat is compounded by discrimination, marginalisation, and other pre-existing inequalities. Africa is the continent likely to bear the brunt of climate change, even though studies have shown that it has contributed the least to the climate crisis. For example, tropical storm Anna recently killed over 89 people, leaving tens of thousands homeless, whole villages decimated and thousands displaced in Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique. The effects of climate change in Africa are grim and deep.
From the 1990s, disability rights started to receive more attention in the African Commission. Though the African continent has made significant strides to include persons with disabilities in society, the same cannot be said of climate justice. Even adaptation and mitigation practices, which seek to combat the effects of climate change may do harm to disability communities in Africa. In order to reduce such harms in the present and avoid them in the future, Africa must employ ethical frameworks that bring disability justice to the forefront of climate justice. Disability justice should be an integral part of conversations in climate change.
The aim of the disability unit’s contribution to the climate justice campaign is to interrogate the impact of climate change on persons with disabilities in Africa. The Disability Rights Unit will do this through a podcast. The Unit will identify an expert on climate justice who will be interviewed on the impact of climate change on persons with disabilities and what they will say are the recommendations for an inclusive climate justice campaign. The podcast will be published on the website and disseminated through the various social media platforms for the Unit.