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Week Long Celebrations of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 – 9 December 2009

28/11/2009 | 0 comments

UN High Commission Equal Rights logoA World Appeal for Action!

“Let us empower people with disabilities with the right to act!”

Through this year’s theme, empowering persons with disability with the right to act, the Committee on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities wishes to hereby issue a call to action, coinciding with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, whereby governments, organizations, and citizens alike shall work for a renewed recognition of the principles of equality and fairness for all.

On this day, the 3rd of December, 2009, and throughout the week that starts on this day, people around the world will join together in recognition of persons with disabilities expressing support, and raising awareness. This year as we focus on the right to act, let us recognize all people’s right to make their own choices, and take their own actions as they see fit. Whenever people with disabilities need assistance they should be supported by people of their own free choice in making their decisions, but never replaced in their legal capacity to act under no circumstance!

The right to act is something that is universally recognized as a fundamental and basic human principle. Its application as a right to all people can sometimes seem so elementary that we forget that for persons with disabilities, the right to act is not always assured. Through physical, attitudinal, and institutional barriers, persons with disabilities are often denied their right to act.

Today, we call for a change!

The CRPD committee would like to hereby call upon all states to bring the laws, policies and practice in their country in line with the Convention on this very important day of recognition. We are calling for the end of discrimination for all persons with disabilities and the recognition of the right to act, as an inalienable and fundamental virtue for persons all over the world.

This December 3rd, and throughout the week that follows it, let us recognize and renew our commitment to the ratification and full implementation of the Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities. Even for countries already party to the CRPD, let us also remember that legislation alone is not enough to ensure the enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities. We must work towards policies, and programs that will translate the rights of the Convention into practices which will result in actual improvements in the lives of persons with disabilities and ensure their equal enjoyment of rights.

The International Day for Persons with Disabilities gives us the chance to make a renewed commitment to the principles of empowering persons with disabilities with the right to act – the centerpiece of the right to equal recognition before the law, as well as ensuring the implementation and application of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. I hope that we can all join together as one, in the celebration and recognition of this very important goal!

Some actions that can be taken on this day include:

  • holding days of discussion and awareness raising campaigns on the theme of the right to act;
  • ensuring that legislation which discriminates against persons with disabilities including during elections are abolished, essentially that people with disabilities are ensured the right to chose assistants of their own free will while voting;
  • correcting policy to allow all persons the ability to open and manage bank accounts including persons with disabilities of any kind;
  • phased measures to abolish the guardianship system and to replace it by a system in which persons with disabilities are only assisted in their own decision making;
  • phased measures towards closing coercive institutions for placement of persons with disabilities without their free will.

Let us empower people with disabilities with the right to act!!!!

Mohammed Al-Tarawneh
UN Committee on the rights of persons with disabilities

Download these documents in WORD format from the right-hand panel:

1. Open Letter of the CRPD Chairperson to States that have not yet adhered to the Convention - (Word document)
2. Open Letter of the CRPD Chairperson to States that have signed the Convention - (Word document)
3. Open Letter of the CRPD Chairperson to States Parties to the Convention - (Word document)
4. Open Letter of the CRPD Chairperson to UN Agencies - (Word document)
5. Open Letter of the CRPD Chairperson to NGOs and civil society - (Word document)

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General Information

Submitted by: Ivor Ambrose
Author(s): Mohammed Al Taranweh
Language(s): CHI | EN | FR | RU


Publisher: UN High Commissioner Human Rights
Date published on the web: 17/11/2009


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