© Independent Living Institute
Independent Living Institute,
Storforsplan 36, 10 tr
123 47 Farsta
Tel. 08-506 22 179
Consultation and Influence
Disability Awareness in Action
Resource Kit No. 2
Download the Consultation and Influence Kit as a PDF file (143 KB)
"Often, disabled persons have taken the lead in bringing about an improved understanding of the process of equalisation of opportunities. In this context, they have advocated their own integration into mainstream society." (WPA/61, 62)General Action Plan
"Disability policies should ensure the access of disabled people to all community services." (WPA/25)Talk to people. As an individual, make sure that everyone you come into contact with - teacher, bus driver, doctor, employer, friend, relative - knows what you need and want.
"Everywhere...the ultimate responsibility for remedying the conditions that lead to impairment and for dealing with the consequences of disability rests with governments." (WPA/3)Collect as much information as you can: national reports on disability policy, statistical material from national censuses or separate surveys, general legislation and legislation specific to disabled people, publications dealing with disability issues (the journals, handbooks, and newsletters of professionals or non-governmental organisations). Many government departments will send you information free. The more you know, the better your arguments will be.
"The regional commissions of the United Nations and other regional bodies should encourage regional and sub-regional cooperation in the area of prevention of disability, rehabilitation of disabled persons and equalisation of opportunities." (WPA/177)Each region of the world has wide-ranging and powerful administrative and legislative networks. Regional organisations and groupings of countries need to be told about disabled people's issues.
"It is necessary to use every effort to prevent wars leading to devastation, catastrophe and poverty, hunger, suffering, diseases and mass disability of people, and therefore to adopt measures at all levels to strengthen international peace and security, to settle all international disputes by peaceful means and to eliminate all forms of racism and racial discrimination in countries where they still exist" (WPA/5)International politics might seem remote and inflexible when what you need is a well at your home or a wheelchair that works. But disability is a global concern. There are more than 500 million of us whose rights are ignored every day. We can make a difference to our everyday lives through influence at the international level.
"Disabled persons and their organisations should be consulted in the further development of the World Programme of Action and in its implementation. To this end, every effort should be made to encourage the formation of organisations of disabled persons at the local, national, regional and international levels. Their unique expertise, derived from their experience, can make significant contributions to the planning of programmes and services for disabled persons." (WPA/85)Influence from the Inside
"Governments should establish a focal point (for example, a national commission, committee or similar body) to look into and follow the activities related to the World Programme of Action of various ministries, of other government agencies and of non-governmental organisations. Any mechanism set up should involve all parties concerned, including organisations of disabled persons. The body should have access to decision-makers at the highest level" (WPA/89)The UN has said that every member state should revive or strengthen its national coordinating committee on disability. These committees bring together representatives of all the governmental and voluntary groups concerned with disability.
"Mentally handicapped people are now beginning to demand a voice of their own and insisting on their right to take part in decision-making and discussion... This development should be encouraged." (WPA/29)As the UN Experts Meeting in Stockholm in 1987 made clear, there are certain groups who deserve special attention. These include people with intellectual impairments, disabled women, people with hearing impairments, elderly disabled people and people with multiple impairments. One way to make sure that their needs are met is to include them on advisory committees.
"Through their discussion of issues [organisations of disabled people] present points of view most widely representative of all concerns of disabled persons." (WPA/85)If you do gain representation on a committee, don't allow yourself to become the token disabled person in what is just a public relations exercise. Many bodies would like disabled people to take part as individuals, rather than as representatives of disabled people's organisations.
"It is essential that assessment of the situation relating to disabled persons should be carried out.... At the national level, an evaluation of programmes relating to disabled persons should be carried out periodically." (WPA/ 194, 197)Laws and policies need administrative support, resources, systems to look at how well they are working (a commission or an advisory body), and systems to enforce them (such as penalties).