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Monday, 4 May 2015

Human Rights and Disabilities


When discussing Human Rights it is important to remember that they represent us all. They are inherent to all human beings, whatever their nationality, place of residence, sex/gender, ethnic origin, color, religion, language or other status. These rights are interrelated, interdependent, and indivisible, and are often expressed and guaranteed by law in the forms of treaties, customary international laws, and general principles. Despite this description, people living with disabilities are still the largest marginalized group in society living without their basic human rights on a day to day basis.
Some of the key human rights, universal to all, include the right to life, the right to not suffer from discrimination, the right to freely move, the right to engage in public assembly, the right to take part in a democracy, the right to play, the right to food and shelter and finally the right to education. Since the majority of these rights were confirmed and agreed upon by the UN in the late 1940s, there has been huge development across the world with regards to protecting and promoting human rights.
In terms of disability however, and using the examples listed above, many are faced with their rights being ignored across the board. For instance, throughout the world and here in Ghana, they are denied the right to be included in the general school system, face barriers to employment, to live independently in the community, to vote, to participate in sports and cultural activities, to enjoy social protection and to access justice. To give an example, public buildings such as law courts, state offices and other social buildings sometimes cannot be physically accessed by the disabled. How can human rights be enforced when the institutions that are meant to uphold them can't even be accessed by those they are meant to protect? This clear contradiction is a very obvious hurdle that those with disabilities are faced with, both in Ghana and across the world. One could argue that persons with disabilities have remained largely invisible and sidelined in the debate on human rights. Such an argument was mirrored in last weeks blog when discussing the millennium development goals. International development must not neglect persons with disabilities; and here at the Resource Centre we aim to promote the rights of such people so that when a discussion of human rights arises, disabilities are not forgotten about.
Ben and Zainab
Next weeks blog post will be about religion by Katriona and Patience 

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