Human rights and disability - The Wire - July2003 - Amnesty International: "Human rights and disability
The second meeting of the UN Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities took place in New York on 16-27 June 2003. AI talks to Bengt Lindqvist, former UN Special Rapporteur on Disability, to find out more about disability and human rights.
Why has it taken so long to put the rights of people with disabilities on the human rights agenda?
A paradigm shift of this radical nature always takes time. For the last hundred years disabled people were mainly viewed as objects of charity and care. The International Year of Disabled Persons, 1981, made the breakthrough for the concept of rights for people who happened to live with a disability. A process was started, which has now, at last, resulted in the recognition that disability-related problems are a responsibility for the human rights monitoring system within the UN.
In the future, disability will not be accepted as a basis for depriving people of their voting rights, property rights, family rights, the right to education and even the right to life itself.