Progress for People with Disabilities?

In 2014, the WHO’s 67th World Health Assembly adopted a resolution endorsing the “WHO Global Disability Action Plan 2014–2021: Better health for all people with disability”. The WHO believes that this action plan will provide a major boost to WHO and governments’ efforts to enhance the quality of life of the one billion people around the world living with disabilities.  At the time, reading this Action Plan gave us some hope that substantial progress would be made by governments and by the WHO on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities* (CRPD), towards ensuring the full enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities (PWD) and full equality under the law. We were hopeful, yet as most action plans and ‘strategic roadmaps’ from WHO usually sound good but don’t change much on the ground, we were also sceptical.

Two years into the Action Plan, the WHO is preparing a progress report for the next World Health Assembly in May 2017, and plan to discuss it at the WHO Executive Board meeting in January. The Action Plan contains sections on the global situation, goals, proposed actions and indicators for governments and partners.
It contains three objectives:
1.  To remove barriers and improve access to health services and programmes for people living with disabilities
2.  To strengthen and extend rehabilitation, habilitation, assistive technology, assistance and support services, and community-based rehabilitation
3.  To strengthen collection of relevant and internationally comparable data on disability and support research on disability and related services

As part of our series of ‘Reality Checks’, we’re seeking inputs from our comrades living with disabilities on how much progress, if any, is being made in our communities. Have you seen or heard of any new or improved programmes?  Do you have any evidence of practices that “remove barriers and improve access”? Any sign that public health services are serving you better in the last two years? We want to hear about your experiences and your views on whether or not there has been any progress since 2014.

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Food for a fabricated thought

Human rights: Food for a fabricated thought
Human Rights Reader 395

OUR JOB IS TO MAKE SURE HISTORY IS OF ALL OF HUMANITY. (S. Harrison)

What is history, but a fable agreed upon? (Peter Hoeg)

Until the lions write their story, tales of the hunt will always glorify the hunter (Rene Loewenson)

Take Africa: history was written and falsified by colonial ideology.

1. As a consequence, for the present, we live with no real sense of the true before, with conventional history replacing causality with simultaneity, history with news, memory with silence about human rights (HR). That is how in conventional history atrocities end up being blamed on the victims, while aggressors are decorated for bravery in the struggle against supposed emancipation. Why are thieves portrayed as judges and major political decision makers (without a single moral bone in their bodies) get away in history with disastrous decisions resulting in the most appalling HR consequences? Excesses are made to coexist with unreported dire need and want; destruction is always justified with the imperative of building –no mention of what. Economic interests are the fundament of everything. Public opinion is treated as indistinguishable from the private opinion of those with the power to chronicle and publicize it. Historians have changed the names of things so that these things can eventually skip what they really were. Inequality has been renamed merit; destitution renamed austerity; hypocrisy renamed HR; all-out civil war, humanitarian intervention; mitigated civil war, democracy. War itself has come to be called peace, so that it could go on forever. Praise of someone’s virtues or moral qualities simply ceased to rest on criteria of personal worth rather being achieved at the expense of somebody else’s vilification and degradation or by negating their qualities and virtues. (Santos)

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