Posted by: lauraannwilson | March 11, 2015

LIVE BLOG Human Rights Council 28th Session 10 March 2014 – 3pm Annual interactive debate on the rights of persons with disabilities Theme: Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on living independently and being included in the community

LIVE BLOG Human Rights Council 28th Session
10 March 2014 – 3pm
Annual interactive debate on the rights of persons with disabilities
Theme: Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on living independently and being included in the community

Chairperson/Moderator: H.E. Mr. Juan Esteban Aguirre Martínez, Vice-President of the Human Rights Council

Opening statement: Ms. Jane Connors, Director, Research and Right to Development Division, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Panellists:
• Mr. Hyung Shik Kim, Member of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
• Ms. Catalina Devandas Aguilar, Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities
• Ms. Alina Grigoras, National Human Rights Officer, OHCHR
• Ms. Gunta Anca, Member of the International Disability Alliance
• Mr. Quincy Mwiya, Self-Advocate and Member of the Council of Inclusion International

Opening statement: Ms. Jane Connors, Director, Research and Right to Development Division, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Connors welcomed the UN Bulletin on accessibility for people with disabilities working in the Office. She reiterated that people with disabilities are entitled to participate in HRC Sessions and should be assisted in attending and participating. She stated that there needs to be equal access for people with disabilities to actively participate in society. She reiterated that any discrimination in state legislation ought to be repealed. People with disabilities should be supported by the state to actively participate in public life and public institutions ought to be closed. She reiterated that people with disabilities should be supported to make their own decisions and meaningfully participate in society, including in employment. She reiterated that persons with disabilities ought to be seen as experts on disabilities and engaged in discussions regarding these issues.
Mr. Hyung Shik Kim, Member of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Kim reported research project findings that sexual abuse and physical abuse had been part of the daily life of persons with disabilities living in institutional care. The research recommended a strong need to shift policy away from institutional care to independent living. A key finding was that in order to ensure that people with disabilities can live independently these people must be properly engaged. Proper engagement will ensure better integration into the community and ensure that basic needs are met. States must work towards improving accessibility for people with disabilities, particularly regarding the use of technology.
Ms. Catalina Devandas Aguilar, Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities
States must ensure that people with disabilities have adequate support to live independently. Deinstitutionalisation on its own does not guarantee positive integration into the general community. Article 19 of the Convention provides that people need to have access to services. This Article is designed to ensure that people are properly integrated into the community. Aguilar stated that inclusive social inclusion policies are crucial to ensure that people can live independently in the community. She stated that adequate housing is a fundamental aspect of independent living. Arts 29 and 28 reinforce that people have greatest control over their care. She stated that funding ought to be directed to the individual person to ensure that they have control over their independent living.
Ms. Alina Grigoras, National Human Rights Officer, OHCHR
Grigoras stated that meaningful inclusion does not occur when the individual does not have autonomy. She reiterated that people need to have access to adequate support in order to live autonomy, following institutionalisation. People with mental health disabilities are a special group needing particular support. Legislation that deprives people with disabilities with their rights must be repealed. She highlighted that there was a need to ensure the de-institutionalisation process is done so in a human rights appropriate manner.
Ms. Gunta Anca, Member of the International Disability Alliance
IDA had played a key role in protecting and promoting the human rights of people with disabilities. She reiterated that the focus of the Convention was to ensure that people with disabilities are able to fully participate and actively contribute to economic, political and cultural life. In 21st Century, we must question: ‘why one part of the society should live differently to the other part of society’. She highlighted that several Asian countries, including the Philippines, had worked towards improving access to people with disabilities. She reiterated that frequently state policies to date are drafted in discriminatory language and that this must be rectified. She cited research that demonstrated that community based services perform better in their aims and outcomes in compared to institutions. She cited examples of the negative impacts of institutionalisation in African region. She recommended that states ensure that they collect data pertaining to people with disabilities to better understand the issues facing this group and to improve policy and practice. She highlighted that adequate and sustainable resources were needed. She reiterated that ‘we as a society must accommodate diversity and this includes people with disabilities’.
Mr. Quincy Mwiya, Self-Advocate and Member of the Council of Inclusion International
Mwiya stated that disability impacts on the family unit and in particular impacts women. Mwiya reflected on his personal experience of growing up with a disability. He reiterated that he faced discrimination and his mother cared for him out of concern that he was highly vulnerable. He reflected on the difficulties that he experienced in education system. He highlighted that the teachers were not adequately trained to respond to his needs. He reflected that he struggled gaining and maintaining employment as he was considered to be ‘slow’. He stated that ‘we must have respect for each other…that way I can choose to do whatever I want’. He highlighted that what he wants is the right to vote and to express himself and have support, and then he will be perceived as independent in the community. He reiterated that ‘we with disabilities believe that we are slow but we can learn’.

To watch the proceedings, please visit: webtv.un.org


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