on Jun 10, 2011
The third of December each year finds the world celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a day for recognition of the contributions and achievements of people with disabilities from around the world.
* * *
On this day people from every nation take note of the skills, achievements, contributions, and abilities of persons with disabilities in society. They promote a positive image of persons with disabilities, and who we are in the community at large through activities which both celebrate and raise awareness of this day declared in our recognition.
The theme for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities of the year 2008 is, "Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Dignity and Justice for All of Us," a theme with a highly powerful message to the world of which we are a part. It is important to note that the year 2008 also brings the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Dignity and justice for all persons are universal principles, recognized by the United Nations, which also recognized that dignity and equality are inalienable human rights that every member of the human family has. With these principles, the United Nations has combined non-discrimination in order to guide their work over the past sixty years, using them in the creation of treaties such as the International Covenants on Human Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as in creating the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
May 3rd of 2008 found the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol entered into force, both of which are legally binding instruments with legal obligations on the part of States to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities. Article 25 of the UDHR states that each person has, "the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age, or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control." There are other articles in the convention that expand on the rights to life, liberty and security. Article 28 specifically states that persons with disabilities have, "access by persons with disabilities and their families living in situations of poverty to assistance from the State with disability-related expenses, including adequate training, counseling, financial assistance and respite care." The articles in the UDHR are affirmations of the rights of persons with disabilities to a life of equal enjoyment and rights, as well as reaffirmation of the principles of dignity and justice for all of us.
There are an estimated 650 million persons with disabilities around the world today, or about ten percent of the world's population, and the convention both protects and promotes the rights of the human beings around the world who experience disability. The convention protects our rights while promoting them in our various civil, economic, cultural social and political environments around the world, yet we still face barriers to participation, and often are forced to live in the margins of society. We are routinely denied even basic rights such as freedom of expression, the ability to express even our opinion, legal recognition or legal capacity, the right to vote, or the ability to participate in the political processes of which we are a part. As people with disabilities, many of us are still forced into institutions, something that is a direct violation of our right to participate in the community and freedom of movement.
More than 400 million persons with disabilities live in impoverished nations, about eighty percent of us. In these nations there is an unemployment rate among persons with disabilities of 80% to 90% among people of working age in developing countries, and 50% to 70% in industrialized nations! Educational rights and healthcare rights are routinely denied in these nations, and 90% of the children with disabilities in developing nations do not attend school, according to UNESCO. There can be no continued marginalization of persons with disabilities, it is simply unacceptable. Twenty million women acquire disabilities as a result of complications during either pregnancy or childbirth alone.
The year 2008 finds the International Day of Persons with Disabilities bringing forth a loud, clear, year-long call for celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights along with its theme of, "Dignity and Justice for All of Us." The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is extremely important to the world as a whole because it is a day for persons with disabilities to represent the world. We are a call for the world to further establish Dignity and Justice in the civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights prompted by the Convention. We are here to tell the world that it is time to commit to the ratification and full implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol.
Canadians can save on a long-term basis for the security of their loved ones who are disabled through the new, "Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)." Any Canadian who is under sixty and is eligible for the Disability Tax Credit can start an RDSP. The Canadian government supplements private contributions to RDSP's with matching grants. Families with low incomes might be eligible for income-tested bonds, despite contributions.
Additional programs in Canada include the Enabling Accessibility Fund, which has been established to improve accessibility for people with disabilities via community-based renovation and construction projects throughout Canada. Another program involves student financial assistance which helps students and their families to manage the costs related to post-secondary education, as well as more effective support for students with permanent disabilities. While programs already exist in Canada to support students with permanent disabilities, the new supports include a $2,000 grant and additional funds for supplemental costs, and students may be eligible for the new Canada Student Grants for students from low and middle-income families that provide up-front and predictable funding.
Education is important to Canada, and another program Canadians with disabilities may be eligible for involves a new Repayment Assistance Plan. The plan makes it easier for students to repay their student loans. Borrowers with severe permanent disabilities who are prevented from working will be eligible to have their loans forgiven immediately, beginning in the 2009-2010 school year.
Canada is one nation that is playing a leadership role in the world where ensuring that justice and dignity for persons with disabilities is being pursued. Other nations are working with the example that Canada is providing, as well as paying attention to the new Conventions. International Day of Persons with Disabilities is making a great difference in the world, and the lives of large numbers of people. We are proud of whom we are, and happy to have you join us in the effort to improve the world we live in.
Read more: http://www.disabled-world.com/artman/publish/international-disabilities.shtml#ixzz1OqX6Q100
Monitoring is extremely important, in fact essential, to ensure the full participation of societies and persons with disabilities and the organizations that represent them. Monitoring is something that is achieved through the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Conference of States Parties. The Conference of States Parties first met on October 31st, and met again on November 3rd, 2008.