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A PARAGIDM SHIFT FROM 'CHARITY' TO 'RIGHTS AND DIGNITY'


The process of drafting and adopting the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the member countries of the United Nations has now brought the issues of discrimination and exclusion faced by persons with disabilities to centre stage.

The universal definition and understanding of Disability has rightfully moved from being a merely 'Medical' to a 'Human Rights' framework and heralded a paradigm shift from 'charity' to 'rights based' approach.

Article 1 of the Convention says "The purpose of the Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity."

In Oct 2007, India has become one of the first few countries to ratify this convention a move that has made all of us happy and proud indeed.

Questions usually addressed to persons with disabilities like "When did you become disabled?", "How did you become disabled?" should now make way to discussions and finding solutions on questions such as "Are you getting the freedom and choice to live the way you have wanted at home and in society?", "Does your house/ educational institution / place of work have provisions to enable you to access the toilet safely/ independently?", "Are you able to make use of the public transport?", "Are you able to get education on an equal footing like everyone else?", "Are you getting opportunities for gainful employment?", "Are you able to benefit from the different development schemes from the Govt.?", "Do you get an equal share in the property?" , "Are you being restricted from setting-up your own family?".

In 1995, India enacted "The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act". The various articles in the present Convention further strengthens the above Act by elaborating the various rights, obligations and monitoring mechanisms that the state parties (countries) need to build on/ adopt.

The Convention, in Article 1, further does not limit to only the 7 disabilities (Blindness, Low vision, Leprosy-cured, Hearing impairment, Loco motor disability, Mental retardation and Mental illness) that have been mentioned in the Persons with Disabilities Act but has opened up a wider definition as - "People with disabilities who have long-term impairments, for example, physical, psycho-social, intellectual and who cannot get involved in society because of different reasons, such as attitudes, language, stairs, and laws, which prevent people with disabilities from being included in society."  This broad based definition and the recognition of various barriers posed by society assists us to develop a more holistic and sensitive approach in addressing the discriminations faced by persons with disabilities in society.

Following these developments, there is a huge need for creating awareness among persons with disabilities, their care givers, the society at large, and the Government and Non-Government Organisations on the UNCRPD. There is also a need to develop appropriate strategies to review existing laws, policies, programmes and monitoring mechanisms of Govt. Non-Government Organisations and other agencies.

Further, this convention by design is not limited to only Govt. establishments. The Convention states that private businesses and organizations that are open to the public parties have to take initiatives to "eliminate barriers that people with disabilities face in buildings, the outdoors, transport, information, communication and services".

It is no longer enough to be content with providing a few "good willed" services such as a "wheelchair" or a "hearing aid" or "disability pension" .  It is going to be whether the laws, policies, programmes and schemes are in line and reinforce the principles of the Convention that focus on Dignity,   Ability to choose,  Independence,  Non-discrimination, Participation, Full inclusion,  Respect for difference, Acceptance of disability as part of everyday life, Equality of opportunity, Accessibility,   Equality of men and women and Respect for children.

By signing and ratifying this Convention, it is now legally binding on India and other countries of the UN to create and promote an environment where persons with disabilities are able to exercise their civil, political, social and cultural rights fairly and without prejudice.

It is time that Govt. representatives, representatives from Disabled People's Organisations, NGOs and other stake holders sit together and chalk out precise strategies as operation plan to take the Convention forward. If this is not done the Convention will be just another book on the shelf.

Finally, this Convention is about creating a society that recognizes and respects the diverse needs of humankind.

References:

  1. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) is at http://www.un.org/disabilities/
  2. The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act is at http://ccdisabilities.nic.in/


About the author:

C. Mahesh works for CBR Forum, as the Advocacy Coordinator in promoting the rights of persons with disabilities through 87 of their community based rehabilitation programmes across the country. In addition he is actively involved with the Office of the Commissioner (Disabilities) Karnataka and other networks in promoting 'barrier-free' environment and advocating for the effective implementation of The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act.

C. Mahesh;  +91 80 2549 7387 or 2549 7388; advocacy.cbrforum@gmail.com or cbrforum@gmail.com; www.cbrforum.in



17.01.2008

All news:

Second seminar in Mataruska banja
Disability Convention Receives 100th Ratification
ROUND TABLE
Workers With Disabilities: An Untapped Resource
PRO LIBRIS
A PLACE FOR US
Law for social protection
TRIBUNE “EDUCATION FOR ALL”
PLACE FOR US
Kampaign for Inclusive Education
EU RATIFIED CRPD
Good finish of 2010
THE BEST POSSIBLE NEW YEAR WISH COME TRUE
Advocacy for PA service in Novi Beograd
Comissioner for equality protection
International Day of Persons with Disability
Summer School
Public transport in Belgrade
REGIONAL ROUND TABLE DEBATE
The Invisibles: disabled people in Britain
Organisations of Civil Society as service providers in social protection area
Mexico in Debt to the Disabled
Fourth workshop on CRPD
SERBIAN CANDIDATE IN UN COMMITTEE
Virtual Career and Education Day expands regionally!
Center for employment of persons with disability
LEGAL HELP TO FAMILIES OF CHILDREN WITH DISABILITY
New initiative in Bor
CIL Activities
Promotion of project „Support to independent living of persons with disability in Serbia”
Special Advisor for International Disability Rights
Third workshop on monitoring and implementation CRPD in Serbia
Second workshop on monitoring and implementation CRPD in Serbia
Educating Students with Disabilities: Some Say It's Not Worth It
Workshop on monitoring and implementation CRPD in Serbia
HUMAN CAMERA
INFORMATION BULLETIN - European Court of Human Rights upholds the right to vote of persons with disabilities
European Call for Protest: Inclusion - "Being there from the start"! 05 May, 2010
European Day of Solidarity between Generations, 29 April 2010 - ENIL
Rights and reality: disabled people’s experiences of accessing goods and services
ENIL calls for an end to Death by Social Indifference
Four more countries ratify CRPD
Disability Awareness in Action Newsletter
SEMINAR IN NIKSIC, MONTENEGRO
CIL in Belgrade too
We have our lives back
JOBS FOR ALL
MD persons continue hunger strike
Call for 140 financial support for 140 students with disability
Council of Europe calls for deinstitutionalisation of children with disabilities
NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US: THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DRIVES FORWARD DISABILITY RIGHTS
“Incredible stories of invisible lives” exhibition in Uzice
Draft of Law on Social Protection
30 years United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
Opening Conference of the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion,
The sky's the limit for disabled athletes in Serbia
CRPD Ratifications reach 76
Round table "Development the advocacy capacities of organisations of persons with disability in Serbia"
With Parthership Towards Development
FREE OUR PEOPLE NOW!
COMMEMORATING THE INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
Center for Disease Control and Prevention, USA
Persons with disability in politic life everywhere
ENIL has 777 members in Facebook
Disability and policy
„Love and Kindness“ Fund
New ratifications
Women with disability
„A Midnight Summer Dream“
Court Cases filed in the Name of Persons with Disability
Freedom Drive 2009 - Demands
INFORMATION FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ABOUT H1N1 VIRUS
My world has changed – two stories in one
European Citizen Award
Not just a pretty Facebook
First deaf Member of Parliament is sworn in
Letter to Prime Minister Cvetkovic
PA Service in Leskovac too
International Day of Persons with Disabilities - 3 December 2009
MIDWAY
New TV broadcast
Malta: MOTE - My Opinion My Vote
Access to persons with disability
„CLOSER TOGETHER“ PROJECT
SERBIA RATIFIED UN CONVENTION
Court case dealing with UN COnvention in Germany
Europe Day
Convention sign-ups
WHY SHOULD EUROPE INCREASE THE MATERNITY LEAVE?
Learning disability genes found
Poland: Disabled People Excluded from EU Elections
International Autism Day
Coucil for persons with disability
My right to be healthy
NEW RATIFICATION
International Day of Rare Diseases
PERSONAL ASSISTANCE BILLS
Disability Equality: Promoting Positive Attitudes
SERVICE IN JAGODINA
White House launched a new website today and disability issues are highlighted under the Agenda heading
Conference on Cooperation for Improvement of Disability Policy in Serbia
Workshhop on CRPD
First Committee of Experts on Disability Rights Convention Elected
GREAT SUPPORT TO ANTONIJEVIC FAMILY
Parking for everyone
Electoral rights for PWDs in Albania
Petition
The ways of integration
Finding a College That Suits Students “With Special Needs”
Another silver medal for Serbia
Paralympic silver
The Annual march for Disabled Visibility in Madrid
Good Practise/Bad Practice
UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
Free our People!
All... but not retard.
European Day of Disabled People 2008
Parents' fury at 'Down's Syndrome dolls'
Eurobarometer on discrimination
Less sex, less fun
Coming Soon, a Braille Silver Dollar
Roads to integration
Disability proves no barrier to Olympic inclusion
Media and Disability
Media and disability
Bishop
Are there any changes in preparations for Paraolympics?
U.N Issues Stamps to Commemorate Disability Treaty
Beijing 'sorry' for offending disabled
Government unveils new package for disabled children
China Sets Gold Standard in Offending Disabled
Smederevo Coalition
Way to Independence
On Empowerment
Assistive Technologies
Press Conference
Wishes could come true
Seminar on reforms of social protection system
National Conference on Gender Equality
Mobility International Seeks Young Adults
Wal-Mart settles with applicant with disability [USA]
First Contestant with a Disability to Compete for Miss USA Title
INFO - CENTER
INACCESSIBILITY IS DISCRIMINATION!
UN Convention on PWDs rights
Conference on National strategy for Youth
Bits and pieces from Slovenija
Meeting with Bozidar Djelic
Focus group “Social services for PWDs“
SHARE SEE Grantee Training
Make a date
It's Okay to Stare... Then Engage a Question!
Sombor hosted workshop "sex, gender, disability"
Dancing Beyond Disability
Seminar HUMAN BEING AND ITS ENVIRONMENT
Project From Alternative to Standardisation
The regional group of experts in social service provision for people with disabilities
Youth Regional conference
Are we going to Europe?
Disability Guide to Disneyland Paris
POI Conference "From cause to the result: New approaches towards disability"
Open Letter to the Government, Members of National Assembly Competent Institutions and Policy Makers
Centre plan for disabled actors
An Autistic Dream
MEETING ON DISABILITY ISSUES IN SERBIA
A PARAGIDM SHIFT FROM 'CHARITY' TO 'RIGHTS AND DIGNITY'
Transport benefits
New Visa rules
Disabled rights champion honoured
Map of the World



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