Tag Archives: disability inclusion

India to get new act for persons with disabilities

In a promising win for millions of persons with disabilities in India, a bill that had been pending for two years in Parliament was passed on the very last day of business for the Winter Session in the Lok Sabha on 16th December.

The bill paves the way for a new act for the rights of persons with disabilities and will replace the two-decade-old the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.

The news brought relief and ushered a wave of enthusiasm among disability organisations and activists who had been holding peaceful vigils over the past month or so to remind the parliamentarians that the bill should not get delayed for the next session. The Winter Session had witnessed stormy scenes resulting from divided opinions over the much discussed demonetisation move by the government.

A rare unity

It was heartening to see that members, cutting across party lines, decided to unite ensure that the much awaited bill is passed. The concensus also highlights the positive changes that have taken place since the Disability Act 2015 came into force with both the policymakers and political leadership in the country showing stronger concern for rights and participation of persons with disabilities.

In fact, the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, passed the bill within two hours after a short debate. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also present in the house during this period. Earlier on Wednesday, the Rajya Sabha too had witnessed similar bonhomie for passage of The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014.

A new phase of empowerment

The bill ushers in a more progressive policy and legal framework for the government, organisations and persons with disabilities to achieve inclusion and equal rights for persons with disabilities.

“The New Act will bring our law in line with the United National Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), to which India is a signatory. This will fulfill the obligations on the part of India in terms of UNCRD. Further, the new law will not only enhance the Rights and Entitlements of Divyangjan but also provide an effective mechanism for ensuring their empowerment and true inclusion into the Society in a satisfactory manner.” says a text from the Prime Minister’s official website.

Among the salient features of the bill is disability being defined as an evolving and dynamic concept and the types of disabilities being increased from seven to 21. It is important to underline that while some of the specific reservations and affirmative actions have been earmarked for persons with disabilities based on degree of disability defined in the law, the bill takes a much wider view of disability and the dynamic social group that it constitutes.

Though the 2011 national census identified 2.6 percent of India population constituting of people with disabilities, there has been a persistent demand for making a higher allocation of resources and reservation in jobs/education for persons with disabilities. Though the bill provides for reservation in vacancies in government establishments from the existing 3% to 4%, this is short of 5% that disabled peoples’ organisations were demanding.

Accessibility has emerged as a key policy and public campaign agenda for the government of India with its flagship Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan or Accessible India Campaign. The bill calls for strengthening the campaign and institutionalises this through a focus on accessibility in public buildings (both Government and private) in a prescribed time frame.

A provision that has generated mixed reactions is related to penal action mandated for offenses committed against persons with disabilities. The disabled peoples’ organisations feel that the wording of the statement related to it leaves a lot to subjective interpretation as it says ‘discrimination against a disabled person (would not be punishable) if it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim’.

The bill specifically mentions women and girls with disabilities and acknowledges that ‘special measures’ should be undertaken to protect the rights of women and children with disabilities.

The women’s rights groups, however, feel disappointed with the lack of specifics, as they had been asking for the incorporation of a separate subsection that would address the needs of women with disabilities following the guidelines set out by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Read a summary of key provisions of The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014, on Prime Minister Modi’s web portal.

International Day of People with Disability: towards a barrier free reality

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), also known as World Disability Day is annually observed on 3 December each year. This Day aims to promote an awareness of disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities.

The blog piece below is attributed to CBM Australia.

 

Globally, there are one billion people with disabilities, and 80 per cent live in developing countries. People with disabilities often face barriers to inclusion in many aspects of daily life and these barriers can stop them from achieving their full potential.

To mark International Day of People with Disability, CBM Australia has created a video to illustrate some of these barriers and to show that we all have a role to play in making a barrier free word a reality for everyone.

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Watch video: A Barrier Free Reality

Barriers come in many forms, including those relating to the physical environment; or negative attitudes and discrimination; or lack of suitable access to information; or those resulting from discriminatory legislation or policy.

These barriers can often stop people with disabilities from gaining education and employment opportunities; accessing vital rehabilitation and healthcare; or participating fully in their communities.

Let’s take a closer look at Orsula from Timor-Leste. She was born with an impairment that affects her legs, making mobility more difficult for her. Orsula has faced many barriers to inclusion throughout her life; barriers to: education, employment, health care, and participation in her community.

Orsula from Timor-Leste © CBM Australia

Orsula from Timor-Leste © CBM Australia

From childhood she was left out of school, not because she wasn’t more than capable of learning.

“When I was a child my dad dropped me out of school because he was embarrassed with my condition. I saw my friends go to school and asked my dad if I could go back to school, but because my dad was afraid and worried that people would make fun of me, he didn’t let me go back”

Being left out of school creates a long lasting impact. When children with disabilities don’t attend school, they are more likely to live in poverty as an adult.

Despite not having the opportunity to gain an education, Orsula learned how to sew and works as a tailor to contribute to her family’s income.

“Even though I have a disability, I work as a tailor. I love sewing. I do this to earn some money for my children’s food.”

But like many people with disabilities, she often earns less for her work.

“Some people are kind, they give me $5 when I fix their clothes, but some are not. They give me just $1 or 50 cents. I feel sad when they do that. I can’t force them to give me higher pay.”

However, Orsula’s most significant barrier was caused by negative attitudes of health care providers.

“It happened with my first-born child. They [midwives] were just shocked when they saw me, and spoke to each other saying that I won’t be able to give birth naturally; they said it will be hard for me to push with my condition and I can’t take a big breath.”

Many didn’t believe that she was capable of delivering her children naturally, and even worse, some said she shouldn’t have children at all.

“My third and fourth children were only one year apart. Because they were exactly a year apart, they [nurses and midwives] were shocked and start verbally abusing me by saying “why does she want to have children all the time while she has this condition”. It hurt me when they said that.”

“They didn’t know what I am capable of. I am strong.”

While there are many barriers, we can work together to help break them down. One powerful way to do that relates to this year’s International Day of People with Disability theme: Achieving 17 goals for the future we want.

The theme is in recognition of the Sustainable Development Goals, commonly known as the Global Goals, which were adopted by world leaders in September 2015. These 17 goals aspire to pave the way to a world in 2030 where poverty is a thing of the past and no one is left behind.

Including people with disabilities in all 17 goals – goals such as health care, education and employment – will bring us closer to achieving the future we want. A future where barriers no longer stop people with disabilities from achieving their full potential.

For Orsula, her vision for the future is a world where negative attitudes are changed so that no women with disabilities will have to face the same discrimination and treatment that she faced when having children.

“If I were to have another baby then I hope that it is more accessible for people with disability. I hope the nurse will be more understandable and patient with us people with disability. I hope they change their attitudes towards people with disability.”

We all have a role to play in making a fairer, more inclusive, and ultimately, barrier free world a reality for everyone. What will your role be?

Working together to break down barriers © CBM Australia

Working together to break down barriers © CBM Australia

Embracing leadership of persons with disabilities

Disability-inclusive DRR Network (DiDRRN), including CBM, at the culmination of AMCDRR 2016.

The team from Disability-inclusive DRR Network (DiDRRN), including CBM, at the culmination of AMCDRR 2016.

As the globe observed World Tsunami Awareness Day on 5th November to highlight a collective future and the need for acting together on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction 2016 (AMCDRR 2016) ended with a strong message and commitment to leave no one behind through an ‘all of society approach’.

The record-breaking air pollution in New Delhi which is the venue for the conference and smog persisted with many people seen wearing a mask. But the air within the imposing plenary hall of Vigyan Bhawan  was brimming with expectation, which gave way to optimism for the stakeholder groups who saw their hard work paying off with the drafting committee including framework and implementation level suggestions.

All of society approach   

The three-day conference that was preceded by pre-events, saw an open and consultative deliberations which impacted the commitments in the outcome documents:  Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) 2016 New Delhi Declaration – 2016 and Asia Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

Recognising the need to bring all stakeholders together the AMCDRR process involved various stakeholder groups for developing action statements that have been appended with the Asia Regional Plan 2015-2030.

Over 4,000 participants from 41 countries took part in the conference in sessions that were open to all participants, allowing cross-sectoral discussions which found its way into different stakeholder action statements.

The summary sessions and speakers echoed the statement made by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to embrace all of society.

Championing disability inclusion

The Disability Stakeholder Group had some anxious moments as the coalition of organisation recalled how the lack of specific mention to leadership and inclusion of persons with disabilities might lead to a setback in bringing inclusion to the centre stage.

The second day of the conference saw a technical session organised by the stakeholder group. As the session progressed, the room started filling up. The small but inspired contingent of disability organisations found renewed energy as the proceeding drew ministerial representatives and national institutions.

The ministerial representatives from Bangladesh emerged as the champions along with civil society participants from the country, when they pushed for the key priorities and commitments to be echoed in the New Delhi Declaration and the Asian Regional Plan 2015-2030. The tenacious wording and an assimilative approach by the drafting committee found its way into the outcome documents.

The SFDRR Asian Regional Plan 2015-2030 text mentions disability at six places in specific, apart from figuring in the New Delhi Declaration.

But the following mention in the text is particularly important:

“Adopting an inclusive approach – via multi-sector/stakeholder DRR platforms, both at national and local levels – is particularly important. It should embrace the leadership of persons with disability, women, children and youth and the significant contribution of the business sector.”

Post-2015 Consensus reached with Snapshot in Sign

In the evening of August 2nd at the UN in NY, the “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” reached consensus by Member States, to be adopted in September at the UN Summit.

The Agenda is people-centred, pledges to leave no-one behind and seeks to ensure, realize and protect the human rights of all.

Australia, Brazil and Ecuador included persons with disabilities in their closing and final national post-2015 statements. Thank you for your unwavering support!

The final document includes persons with disabilities with 11 explicit references (continue reading for details). Particularly strong is the paragraph on people who are vulnerable and must be empowered that references “persons with disabilities (of whom more than 80% live in poverty)” (para 23) putting persons with disabilities in the centre of poverty eradication throughout the Agenda.

Despite the references, some gaps remain and CBM would like to see explicit references to persons with disabilities in the health (para 26) and the gender paragraphs (para 20).

Explicit references to persons with disabilities

Declaration

Human rights (para 19)

Vulnerable groups (para 23)

Education (para 25)

Sustainable Development Goals and targets

Goal 4: education = 2

Goal 8: employment = 1

Goal 10: reduce inequality = 1

Goal 11: inclusive cities = 2

Goal 17: Means of implementation, data = 1

Follow-up and review

Data disaggregation (para 74,g)

Persons with disabilities are also included wherever vulnerable is referenced (18 times) throughout the text in line with paragraph 23. Additionally, there are indirect, yet strong references that include persons with disabilities. These include the following:

Alt="Post-2015 Adoption"

Post-2015 Adoption

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exact Language

Declaration

Para 19

We reaffirm the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as other international instruments relating to human rights and international law. We emphasize the responsibilities of all States, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations, to respect, protect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, “disability” or other status.

Para 23

People who are vulnerable must be empowered. Those whose needs are reflected in the Agenda include all children, youth, persons with disabilities “(of whom more than 80% live in poverty)”, people living with HIV/AIDS, older persons, indigenous peoples, refugees and internally displaced persons and migrants. We resolve to take further effective measures and actions, in conformity with international law, to remove obstacles and constraints, strengthen support and meet the special needs of people living in areas affected by complex humanitarian emergencies and in areas affected by terrorism.

Para 25

We commit to providing inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels – early childhood, primary, secondary, tertiary, technical and vocational training. All people, irrespective of sex, age, race, ethnicity, and “persons with disabilities”, migrants, indigenous peoples, children and youth, especially those in vulnerable situations, should have access to life-long learning opportunities that help them acquire the knowledge and skills needed to exploit opportunities and to participate fully in society. We will strive to provide children and youth with a nurturing environment for the full realization of their rights and capabilities, helping our countries to reap the demographic dividend including through safe schools and cohesive communities and families.

Sustainable Development Goals and targets

Goal 4: Ensure “inclusive” and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all

4.5 by 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including “persons with disabilities”, indigenous peoples, and children in vulnerable situations

4.a build and upgrade education facilities that are child, “disability” and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all

Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

8.5 by 2030 achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and “persons with disabilities”, and equal pay for work of equal value

Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries

10.2 by 2030 empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all irrespective of age, sex, “disability”, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status

Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

11.2 by 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, “accessible” and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, “persons with disabilities” and older persons

11.7 by 2030, provide universal access to safe, “inclusive and accessible”, green and public spaces, particularly for women and children, older persons and “persons with disabilities”

Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Systemic issues; Data, monitoring and accountability

17.18 by 2020, enhance capacity building support to developing countries, including for LDCs and SIDS, to increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, “disability”, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts

Follow-up and review

Para 74 (g)

Follow-up and review processes at all levels will be guided by the following principles:

They will be rigorous and based on evidence, informed by country-led evaluations and data which is high- quality, accessible, timely, reliable and disaggregated by income, sex, age, race, ethnicity, migration status, “disability” and geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts.

Indirect references

Declaration

Para 11

We reaffirm the outcomes of all major UN conferences and summits which have laid a solid foundation for sustainable development and have helped to shape the new Agenda. These include the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development; the World Summit on Sustainable Development; the World Summit for Social Development; the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, the “Beijing Platform for Action”; and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (“Rio+ 20”). We also reaffirm the follow-up to these conferences, including the outcomes of the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, the “Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States”; the Second United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries; and the “Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction”.

Means of Implementation

Para 42

We support the implementation of relevant strategies and programmes of action, including the Istanbul Declaration and Programme of Action, the “SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway”, the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries for the Decade 2014-2024, and reaffirm the importance of supporting the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the programme of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), all of which are integral to the new Agenda. We recognize the major challenge to the achievement of durable peace and sustainable development in countries in conflict and post-conflict situations.

Follow-up and review

Para 47

Our Governments have the primary responsibility for follow-up and review, at the national, regional and global levels, in relation to the progress made in implementing the Goals and targets over the coming fifteen years. To support accountability to our citizens, we will provide for systematic follow-up and review at the various levels, as set out in this Agenda and the “Addis Ababa Action Agenda”. The High Level Political Forum under the auspices of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council will have the central role in overseeing follow-up and review at the global level.

Para 54

Sustainable development goals and targets

Following an inclusive process of intergovernmental negotiations, and based on the Proposal of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development

Goals1, which includes a “chapeau” contextualising the latter, the following are the Goals and targets which we have agreed.

Chapeau

Para 4

People are at the centre of sustainable development and, in this regard, in the outcome document, the promise was made to strive for a world that is just, equitable and inclusive and the commitment was made to work together to promote sustained and inclusive economic growth, social development and environmental protection and thereby to benefit all, in particular the children of the world, youth and future generations of the world, without distinction of any kind such as age, sex, “disability”, culture, race, ethnicity, origin, migratory status, religion, economic “or other status.

Para 17

To monitor the implementation of the sustainable development goals, it will be important to improve the availability of and access to data and statistics disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, “disability”, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts. There is a need to take urgent steps to improve the quality, coverage and availability of disaggregated data to ensure that no one is left behind.

Para 64

We support the implementation of relevant strategies and programmes of action, including the Istanbul Declaration and Programme of Action, the “SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway”, the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries for the Decade 2014-2024, and reaffirm the importance of supporting the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the programme of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), all of which are integral to the new Agenda. We recognize the major challenge to the achievement of durable peace and sustainable development in countries in conflict and post-conflict situations.

Means of implementation and the Global Partnership

Global level

Para 89

The HLPF will support participation in follow-up and review processes by the major groups and other relevant stakeholders in line with “Resolution 67/290”. We call on these actors to report on their contribution to the implementation of the Agenda.

This Agenda is framework truly for the people and with the mobilization of the people in order to have a transformed planet with a sustainable and empowered society by 2030.

Click here for more information on the post-2015 process.