A dimension of difference
At a population of over 1 billion, people who live with disabilities are the world’s largest minority. This population of people are particularly vulnerable to many human rights violations, as they are denied chances to work, go to school and participate fully in society, hindering their prosperity and affecting their well being.
In 2016, The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was established as a tool that identifies the rights of persons with disabilities as well as the obligations on States parties to promote, protect and ensure those rights. Yet, comparative studies on disability legislation shows that only 45 countries have anti-discrimination and other disability-specific laws. As such, persons with disability are often the poorest of the poor, face stigma and discrimination on a regular basis, among many challenges that still affect their quality of life.
As per the CRPD, persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others. They are equal in dignity and rights to all humans. This includes the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of disability, in the form of Ableism and Disablism. According to Stop Ableism Inc., Ableism is a set of practices and beliefs that assign inferior value (worth) to people who have developmental, emotional, physical or psychiatric disabilities. Disablism, on the other hand, is a set of assumptions (conscious or unconscious) and practices that promote the differential or unequal treatment of people because of actual or presumed disabilities. Such discriminatory attitudes have been normalized in societies, and as such they represent one of the main reasons that prevent the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in their societies.
Supporting the empowerment of persons with disabilities is a shared responsibility between governments and members of the society. It requires promoting equal chances and creating a more inclusive society for persons with disabilities to live to their potential. Legislations, facilitating education opportunities or even acts as small as paying attention to offensive language, play an integral role in allowing persons with disabilities to live with dignity and contribute fully to their communities.
Everyone is unique in his own way, and having a disability is not a defect but rather it is a dimension of difference…
In hope of world where everyone is accepted for who they are…
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