Seminar on Human Rights for Persons with Disabilities from a North and South Perspective
Arranged by The Independent Living Institute,
in co-operation with SHIA, Forum Syd
and the periodical, Socialpolitiken
Stockholm, Sweden 23 August,
Social status and standard of living for different groups in society such
as women, immigrants and persons with disabilities is dependent on economic
and social factors. In order to improve a group's situation in society the society's
resources and limitations must be taken into consideration.
We, persons with disabilities, in both the North and the South are fighting for equal rights, full participation and human rights. Our starting points are different.
As a common base and structure for the seminar's discussions the following model of the determinants of disabled peoples situation is suggested:
For all countries, the well-being of disabled people as measured by their standard of living and their opportunities for participation in all aspects of society, is seen as a function of the respective country:
If we can agree on this or a similar model, we can discuss such issues as:
- Gross National Product
- degree of income distribution
- access to infrastructure, education, health care, social security
- system of law and democratic political institutions
- mechanisms for legal protection of minorities human and civil rights
- degree of control and self-determination exercised by the individual disabled person
- strength of organisations of, in contrast to organisations for disabled people in respect to cross-disability, focus self-representation and self-determination political influence
- Which determinants are the most important ones in our respective countries ?
- Which ones can be influenced by our movements and how ?
- Are the concepts of Human Rights and Independent Living equally relevant everywhere?
- Are there any differences in the interpretation of Human Rights and Independent Living?
- Where are the opportunities for mutual support and learning from each other ?
- Where can we act jointly?
The following addresses given by the international guests
are presented on the web site:
- Kalle Könkkölä, chairperson for Disabled Persons International
- Judy Heumann, State Secretary, Department of Education, USA
- Shanaaz Majiet, Lawyer, South Africa
- Dr. Federico Montero, Chairman for the Costa Rican Disability Organisation, Costa Rica
- Jerry Nkeli, Human Rights Commissioner, South Africa
- Prof. Colin Barnes, Disability Research Unit, Leeds, UK