Disability Inclusive Development Report by World Bank states that 15% of the world’s population experience some form of disability and that they “on average, as a group, are more likely to experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes than persons without disabilities”.
2011, the World Health Organisation came up with a world report on disability for the first time. Its introduction showed how disabled persons aren’t “other people”, but that all of us at some point will be “temporarily or permanently impaired” and those “who survive to old age will experience increasing difficulties in functioning.”
In India, according to the 2011 Census, 2.21% of the population has one or multiple types of disabilities, making the country home to one of the largest disabled populations in the world.
Assumptions about the disabled
- Disabled people are the most vulnerable section of society and have been ignored by state and society alike since long.
- Disabled people have always been dependent and, therefore, need helping hands and gracious charity.
- Disabled people are victims of their own bad luck.
- Disability is the punishment for sins he has never committed in this life.
Such assumptions about the disabled do nothing to help them. This approach perpetuates the stereotype of the disabled as victims and objects of pity and charity.
The Disability Rights Movement:
#Unlike other movements like Feminism or Lesbian Movements which have distinct agendas of either gender justice or the right to sexual orientation, the Disability Rights Movement does not have systematic path.
#Disability Rights Movement even in the West has a very recent origin and tries to draw strength from the traditional legal order rather than by critiquing or deconstructing it.
#The Disability Rights Movement in India and in Third World countries is disorganized and there are no written documents to trace its origin.
#Instead of coming together, sections of disabled viz. blind persons, persons with physical disability, deaf and dumb persons and those with mental disabilities launched their movements and struggles separately, mainly through NGOs.
- The disability rights movement gained momentum in the 1970s when disability was started to be seen as a human rights issue. This is when the UN General Assembly proclaimed in 1976 that 1981 would be the International Year of Disabled Persons.
- Later, 1983-1992 was marked as the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons.
- The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), 2006 was a big step towards viewing persons as “subjects with rights” and not “objects of charity”.
- Further, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development pledges to “leave no one behind”. It states that persons with disabilities must be both “beneficiaries and agents of change”.
UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), 2006
The Convention follows decades of work by the United Nations to change attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities.
It takes to a new height the movement from viewing persons with disabilities as “objects” of charity, medical treatment and social protection towards viewing persons with disabilities as “subjects” with rights, who are capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active members of society.
The Convention is intended as a human rights instrument with an explicit, social development dimension.
It adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. It clarifies and qualifies how all categories of rights apply to persons with disabilities and identifies areas where adaptations have to be made for persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights and areas where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced.
Government’s Actions for the disabled in India:
With the ‘Persons with Disabilities Act,’ passed in 1995, discrimination specifically against persons with disabilities came under the purview of the law.
Objective of the Act was to spell out the responsibility of the State towards the prevention of disabilities, protection of rights, provision of medical care, education, training, employment and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities.
Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016
- The 2016 Act recognises 21 kinds of disabilities compared to the previous seven, including dwarfism, speech and language disability, and three blood disorders.
- It fulfils the obligations to the United National Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), to which India is a signatory.
- Responsibility has been cast upon the appropriate governments to take effective measures to ensure that the persons with disabilities enjoy their rights equally with others.
- Every child with benchmark disability between the age group of 6 and 18 years shall have the right to free education
- The new Act also increased the quota for disability reservation in higher educational institutions from 3% to 5% and in government jobs from 3% to 4%, for a more inclusive society.
- The Act provides for grant of guardianship by District Court under which there will be joint decision – making between the guardian and the persons with disabilities.
- Broad based Central & State Advisory Boards on Disability are to be set up to serve as apex policy making bodies at the Central and State level.
- Creation of National and State Fund will be created to provide financial support to the persons with disabilities.
Rights under the Act
1)Respect for inherent identity
3)Participation and inclusion
4)Respect for difference