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• There are 600 to 650 million of

persons with disabilities, about 10% of
the world population (WHO)
• About 500 million (82%) are living in
developing countries (UN)
• Increase in these figures with ageing
of the population
• Persons with disabilities and their
families are more affected by poverty
© Handicap International June
Various approaches to
 The will of gods

Anything that cannot

be explained is
a manifestation of gods and
a source of beliefs.

Society’s response => ritual practices, beliefs

© Handicap International June
 The charity
Persons with disabilities are a load for
they live mainly off charity and have a
lower social status.
Society’s response => basic medical

© Handicap International June

 Theoretical equality
Originally from the modern Western
philosophy of Human rights, the principle
of equality appears.

But this principle is not

really universal and

© J. Cerda pour Handicap
the persons with
disabilities are not
always recognized as
human beings.
© Handicap International June 2007
 Beginning of medical
Mutilated, injured, war veterans: States
feel responsible
Disabled people are
defective, “broken”
they have to be
repaired, restored to

© J-P. Porcher pour Handicap

© Handicap International June

 The rise of disability as a
Human rights issue

• The disability movement and social


The Independent Living Movement was

born in a Californian University and spread
in the US, the UK and a other countries

Disabled People’s Organizations began to

get organized and gain momentum.

© Handicap International June

• The Human rights approach
to disability
The whole community has a duty to
enable persons with disabilities to fully
participate in political and social life.
Persons with disabilities and their
representatives claim their rights
and fight to have them

© Vida Brazil pour Handicap


© Handicap International June 2007

3. Opposed models for
Disability viewed Disability viewed
as individual as social pathology
The problem is in the Reference to People with
individual: the disability is Disabilities as an
the direct result of the oppressed minority
person’s impairment
The environment of
Disability is only a persons with disabilities
health (thus medical) is a problem
The disability is the result
of social shortcomings in
Solutions are designed by terms of accessibility and
« experts » on the basis of equalisation of
a diagnosis opportunities
© Handicap International June
Adapted from Rioux, 1997 - Cité par Interactif déc 2002 - Understanding disability :
Personal factors
Environmental factor

Intrinsic Extrinsic



© Handicap
Human development model International
(RIPPH, 1996)June
4. Disability is a Human
rights issue
• Disability is an unavoidable and
universal part of human diversity.

• A shift in perspective has taken place

on how to consider the person with
disabilities :

– From object of charity and burden

= approach of assistance
– To subject of law = approach based
© Handicap International June
• Human Rights apply to persons with disabilities
• This shift implies that four core values of Human rights are
especially relevant in the context of disability :

– Dignity: respect of physical and moral integrity of the

– Autonomy: capacity for self-directed action, decision and
– Equality: prohibition of discrimination…
– Solidarity: collaboration, support…

• Everybody has the same rights and should have the same
access to their rights.

. © Handicap International June


“A small group of
people could
change the
world. Indeed,
it’s the onlything
that ever has.” –
Margaret Mead
I have no legs,
But I still have feelings,
I cannot see,
But I think all the time,
Although I’m deaf,
I still want to
Why do people see me
as useless, thoughtless,
When I am as capable
as any,
Human rights have essential qualities that make them
different from other
ideas or principles. Human Rights are:

Universal: human rights apply to every person

in the world, regardless of their race, color,sex,
ethnic or social origin, religion, language, nationality, age,
sexual orientation, disability,or other status. They apply
equally and without discrimination to each and every person. The
only requirement for having human rights is to be human.

Inherent: human rights are a natural part of

who you are. The text of Article 1 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) begins “All human
beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

Inalienable: human rights automatically

belong to each human being. They do not need to be
given to people by their government or any other authority, nor can
Human rights relate to one
another in important ways.
They are:
Indivisible: human rights
cannot be separated from each

human rights cannot be fully
realized without each other;
Content of the
Convention on the
rights of persons with
© Handicap International June
Convention Timeline
• Adoption by the United Nations
General Assembly - 13 December 2006
• Opened for signature - 30 March 2007
• Entry into force – 3 May 2008
• Ratified by Philippines: April 15,2008

Convention on the Rights

of Persons with
What is unique about the
• Both a development and a
human rights instrument
• A policy instrument which is
cross-disability and cross-
• Legally binding

Convention on the Rights

of Persons with
1. The structure of the
– Preamble
• General articles:
– Art 1 Purpose
– Art 2 Definitions
– Art 3 General principles
– Art 4 General obligations
– Art 5 Equality and non-discrimination
• Particular attention to some groups or situations:
– Art 6 Women with disabilities
– Art 7 Children with disabilities
– Art 11 Situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies

© Handicap International June

• provisions specific to the Convention :
– Art 8 Awareness-raising
– Art 9 Accessibility
• Civil and political rights :
– Art 10 Right to life
– Art 12 Equal recognition before the law
– Art 13 Access to justice
– Art 14 Liberty and security of person
– Art 15 Freedom from torture or cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or
– Art 16 Freedom from exploitation, violence
and abuse © Handicap International June
– Art 17 Protecting the integrity of the person
– Art 18 Liberty of movement and nationality
– Art 21 Freedom of expression and opinion, and
access to information
– Art 22 Respect for privacy
– Art 23 Respect for home and the family
– Art 29 Participation in political and public life
• Economic, social and cultural rights
– Art 19 Living independently and being included
in the community
– Art 20 Personal mobility
– Art 24 Education
– Art 25 Health
© Handicap International June
– Art 26 Habilitation and rehabilitation
– Art 27 Work and employment
– Art 28 Adequate standard of living and social
– Art 30 Participation in cultural life, recreation,
leisure and sport
• Implementation
– Art 31 Statistics and data collection
– Art 32 International cooperation
– Art 37 Cooperation between States Parties and
the Committee
– Art 38 Relationship of the Committee with other
– Art 40 Conference of States
© Handicap InternationalParties
• Monitoring
– Art 33 National implementation and monitoring
– Art 34 Committee on the rights of persons with
– Art 35 Reports by States Parties
– Art 36 Consideration of reports
– Art 39 Report of the Committee
• Finale terms
– Art 41 Depositary
– Art 42 Signature
– Art 43 Consent to be bound
– Art 44 Regional integration organizations
– Art 45 Entry into force
– Art 46 Reservations
– Art 47 Amendments
– Art 48 Denunciation
– Art 49 Accessible format
– Art 50 Authentic texts

© Handicap International June

2. Purpose of Convention
(Article 1)
To promote, protect and ensure
the full and equal enjoyment of all
human rights and fundamental
freedoms by all persons with
disabilities, and to promote
respect for their inherent dignity

Convention on the Rights

of Persons with
3. Preliminary information
 The Convention does not create
new rights

The goal is to allow

© C. Acworth / Handicap
persons with
disabilities to enjoy
the same rights as

© Handicap International June 2007

4a. What is Disability?
• The Convention does not explicitly define disability
• Preamble of Convention states:
– ‘Disability is an evolving concept, and that disability results from the
interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and
environmental barriers that hinders full and effective participation in society
on an equal basis with others’
• Article 1 of the Convention states:
– ‘Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical,
mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various
barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an
equal basis with others’.

Convention on the Rights

of Persons with
4b. What is Disability?
• Disability results from an interaction between a non-
inclusive society and individuals:
– Person using a wheelchair might have difficulties gaining
employment not because of the wheelchair, but because
there are environmental barriers such as inaccessible buses
or staircases which impede access
– Person with extreme near-sightedness who does not have
access to corrective lenses may not be able to perform
daily tasks. This same person with prescription eyeglasses
would be able to perform all tasks without problems.

Convention on the Rights

of Persons with
5. General principles
 The Convention depends on a vision of an
inclusive society in which everyone has the same
rights and opportunities.This vision is illustrated though
8 general principles (art 3):

1. Respect for inherent dignity, 5.Equality of opportunity

individual autonomy including 6.Accessibility
the freedom to make one’s own 7.Equality between men
choices, and independence of and women
persons 8.Respect for the
2.Non-discrimination evolving of children
3.Participation and inclusion in with disabilities and
society respect for the right of
4.Respect for difference and children with disabilities
acceptance of persons with to preserve their
disabilities as part of human identities
© Handicap International June
diversity and humanity 2007
 General Principles: Dignity

Each human being is of inestimable

value and nobody is insignificant

© Handicap International
© Handicap International June
 General Principles: Autonomy and
freedom to make choices

Assure persons with disabilities the possibility

to be autonomous and to be free to make
choices in their private and family life.

© Ph Revelli pour Handicap
© Handicap International June 2007
 General Principles: Non-

Prohibition of:

– any distinction, exclusion or

– on the basis of disability,
– which have the purpose or effect of
impairing access to the human
© Handicap International June
 General Principles: Non-
• Encompasses all forms of discrimination,
including denial of reasonable
Encompasses double
discrimination (sex, ethnic
General Principles:
• Fundamental principle of international human
rights law
• Includes direct and indirect discrimination
• reasonable accommodation must be made for
persons with disabilities
• reasonable accommodation: ‘necessary and
appropriate modification and adjustments not
imposing a disproportionate or undue burden,
where needed in a particular case, to ensure to
persons with disabilities the enjoyment or
exercise on an equal basis with others of all
human rights and fundamental freedoms’

Convention on the Rights

of Persons with
 Reasonable accommodation measures

Material measures aiming to equalization of


© M. Schmidlin / Handicap
© Handicap International June 2007
Reasonable Accommodation include (1)
improvement of existing facilities used by
employees in order to render these readily
accessible to and usable by disabled persons;
and (2) modification of work schedules,
reassignment to a vacant position, acquisition
or modification of equipment or devices,
appropriate adjustments or modifications of
examinations, training materials or company
rules and regulations, the provisions of auxiliary
aids and services,and other similar
accommodations for disabled persons;
General Principles: Equality of opportunities
Enable persons with disabilities to access, on an
equal basis with others, to services, information
and activities
 Affirmative actions
• Measures of preferential promotion
of a usually disadvantaged
category of persons.

• Aiming at equalisation of

• Temporary measures
© Handicap International June
General Principles:
Participation and Inclusion

• Participation is important to correctly identify

specific needs, and to empower the individual
• Full and effective participation and inclusion in
society is recognized in the Convention as:
– A general principle (article 3)
– A general obligation (article 4)
– A right (articles 29 and 30)

Convention on the Rights

of Persons with
 General Principles:
Full participation and inclusion

Persons with disabilities are integrated in all

aspects of the public life, they are viewed
as equal citizens.

© L. Balme pour Handicap
© Handicap International June 2007
General Principles:
• Important as a means to empowerment and inclusion
• Both a general principle and a stand-alone article (article 9)
• Access must be ensured to:
– Justice (article 13)
– Living independently and being included in the community
(article 19)
– Information and communication services (article 21)
– Education (article 24)
– Health (article 25)
– Habilitation and rehabilitation (article 26)
– Work and employment (article 27) - human resource policies and
– Adequate standard of living and social protection (article 28)
– Participation in political and social life (article 29)
– Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport (article 30)

Convention on the Rights

of Persons with
 General Principles:
The States must fight against barriers to
participation of persons with disabilities in:

• The physical

© Sanna Laitamo / Handicap

• The information and


© Handicap International June 2007

 General Principles: Respect for
Raising awareness throughout society in order to fight
against stereotypes, prejudices and nurture
receptiveness and promote positive perceptions
towards persons with disabilities.

© M. Seth pour Handicap
© Handicap International June
 General Principles: Equality
between men and women

• States parties must fight against all forms of

discrimination against women and girls by taking
appropriate measures.

• The States shall take

into consideration the
equality men/women in

© Handicap
the implementation of all
human rights.

© Handicap International June

 General Principles: The evolving
capacities of children with disabilities
As for women with disabilities, the
Convention considers the particular
situation of children with disabilities.

© P. Dreyer / Handicap
© Handicap International June 2007
 The evolving capacities of children
with disabilities

• The Convention recalls the obligations

undertaken by States parties to the
Convention on the rights of the child.

• The Convention recalls that the best

interests of the child shall be a primary
consideration in all actions concerning

© Handicap International June

Rights in the Convention
• Equality before the law without • Freedom of expression and
discrimination (article 5) opinion (article 21)
• Right to life, liberty and security of • Respect for privacy (article 22)
the person (articles 10 & 14)
• Respect for home and the family
• Equal recognition before the law (article 23)
and legal capacity (article 12)
• Freedom from torture (article 15) • Right to education (article 24)
• Freedom from exploitation, • Right to health (article 25)
violence and abuse (article 16)
• Right to work (article 27)
• Right to respect physical and
mental integrity (article 17) • Right to adequate standard of
• Freedom of movement and
living (article 28)
nationality (article 18) • Right to participate in political
• Right to live in the community and public life (article 29)
(article 19) • Right to participation in cultural
life (article 30)

Convention on the Rights

of Persons with
1. The countries will eliminate barriers that people with
disabilities face in buildings, the outdoors, transport,
information, communication and services, in both cities and the
countryside. This way people with disabilities can live
independently and fully live their lives. They will make rules and
put them into practice for:

a. Buildings, roads, transportation, indoor and outdoor

objects, for example, schools, housing, hospitals, health centers,
and workplaces;
b. Information, communications, and other things, for
example, electronic services and emergency services.
2. The countries will also take action to:
a. Make, put in place, and oversee minimum standards for accessibility
for places and services that are open to public;
b. Make sure that private businesses and organizations that are open to
the public are accessible for people with disabilities;
c. Train people who are involved in accessibility issues on what people
with disabilities need when it comes to accessibility;
d. Have Braille signs and easy to read and understand information in
buildings open to the public;
e. Provide help, such as readers, sign language interpreters and guides,
so people with disabilities can access buildings open to the public;
f. Provide other types of help as needed so people with disabilities can
get access to information;
g. Promote access to new technologies for people with disabilities;
h. When looking for, and creating new technology, make sure that
accessibility is taken into account early on, so that this technology can be
made accessible at the smallest cost.
Living Independently and Being Included in
the Community
The countries agree that all people with disabilities have the same right as
anyone else to live in the community and to be fully included and participating
in the community. This includes making sure that people with disabilities:

a. Have the same opportunities as other people to choose

who they live with,
where they live, and are not forced to live in institutions or in
other living arrangements that they do not like;
b. Have a range of choices on where and how to live in the
community, including personal assistance, to help with
inclusion and living in the community and preventing people with
disabilities from being isolated;
c. People with disabilities can use community services that
are available to the public, which may need to be adapted to a
particular person’s needs.
Personal Mobility
The countries will make sure that people with disabilities
can move around with the greatest possible independence,
a. Assisting people to move around in the way they
choose and at a cost that they can afford;
b. Assisting people with disabilities to access mobility
aids and technology, including making sure they do not
cost a lot;
c. Providing training in mobility skills for people with
disabilities and staff working with them;
d. Encouraging those that produce mobility aids and
technology to take intoaccount all aspects of movement.
4. Other cross-subjects

The mainstreaming :

Consider the disability issue in all

development actions and at all stages
(planning, implementation, monitoring,

© Handicap International June

The community based

The appropriate services and

resources have to be available
at the community level,
including in rural areas, in the
fields of education, health,
© Handicap International June
The progressive realization:
On the economic, social and cultural rights, States can
invoke limited resources to justify not complying with
immediate implementation of these rights.

•The States are not compelled to grant immediately the full enjoyment of economic,
social and cultural rights if they do not have enough resources. However the committee
on economic, social and cultural rights already has decided that some obligations require
an immediate realization. In particular the obligation to ensure the enjoyment of the
rights without discrimination and the obligation to take steps (to act) to the maximum of
the State’s available resources. These immediate obligations avoid the States refuse to
implement a Convention which they ratified under the pretext of a lack of resources. (see
general comment n°3 committee © onHandicap
economic, socialJune
International and cultural rights).
Some important notions
 The right to recognition everywhere
as persons before the law

• The Convention reaffirms that all persons are

subjects of law (everybody has the same rights).

• In principle persons with disabilities fully enjoy

their rights (legal capacity).
– The States shall provide access by persons with
disabilities to the support the may requires in
exercising their rights
– Some exceptions to the full legal capacity are
permitted in strict conditions.
© Handicap International June
Situations of risk and humanitarian
• States shall ensure the protection and safety of
persons with disabilities in situations of armed
conflict, humanitarian emergencies, the
occurrence of natural disasters, and other
situations which make them more vulnerable.

© J-P. Porcher pour Handicap
© Handicap International June 2007
 Implementation

• States parties to the Convention

must :
– Repeal laws conflicting with the
Convention (eliminate them).
– Create new laws at national level
to implement the rights
guaranteed by the Convention.
– Include persons with disabilities in
all policies.
© Handicap International June
 In summary : the implementation
process for the Convention
• Ratification
• Change of national legislation
• Change of policies
• Evolution of systems
• Evolution of services and practices
• Disabled people’s lives

Challenges: reduce the gaps

between legislation / policies and
practices / people’s lives

National and local level: key level for

an effective implementation
© Handicap International June
Monitoring and
All activities must include the
participation of persons with

‘Nothing about us without


Convention on the Rights

of Persons with
Republic Act No. 7277
SECTION 3. Coverage – This Act
shall cover all disabled persons
and,to the extent herein provided,
departments, offices and agencies of
the National Government or non-
government organization involved in
the attainment of the objectives of
this Act.
1. Equal Opportunity for Employment
No disabled persons shall be denied access to opportunities for suitable
employment. A qualified disabled employee shall be subject to the same
terms and conditions of employment and the same compensation, privileges,
benefits, fringe benefits, incentives or allowances as a qualified able-bodied
person. Five percent (5%) of all casual, emergency and contractual positions
in the Department of Social Welfare and Development; Health; Education,
Culture and Sports; and other government agencies, offices or corporations
engaged in social
development shall be reserved for disabled persons.

2.Sheltered Employment
3. Apprenticeship
4. Vocational Rehabilitation
5.Vocational guidance and counselling
The State shall ensure that disabled persons are
provided with adequate access to quality education and
ample opportunities to develop their skills. It shall take
appropriate steps to make such education accessible to
all disabled persons. It shall be unlawful for any learning
institutions to deny a disabled person admission to any
course itoffers by reason of handicap or disability.
Assistance to Disabled Students
– The State shall provide financial assistance to
economically marginalized but deserving
disabled students pursuing post secondary or
tertiary education. Such assistance may be in the
form of scholarship grants, student loan
programs, subsidies, and other incentives to
Special Vocational or
Education – The Technical and
State shall establish, Other Training
maintain and support a
complete, adequate and Programs –
The State provide disabled
integrated system of special
persons with training in civics,
education for vocational efficiency, sports and
the visually impaired, physical fitness, and other skills.
hearing impaired, mentally The Department of Education,
retarded persons and other Culture and Sports shall establish
in at least one government-owned
typeof exceptional children
vocational and technical school in
in all regions of the country. every province a special
Towards this end, the vocational and technical training
Department of Education, program for disabled persons. It
Culture and Sports shall shall develop and implement
sports and
establish special education
physical fitness program
classes in public schools in specifically designed for disabled
Non-Formal Education – The State shall
develop nonformal
education programs intended for the total human
development of disabled persons. It shall provide
adequate resources for non-formal education
Stateprojects that cater
Universities to the special
and Colleges needs
– If viable andof
State Universities or State Colleges in each
region or province shall be
responsible for (a) the development of material
appliances and technical aids fordisabled persons; (b) the
development of training materials for vocational
rehabilitation and special education instructions; and (c)
the research on special problems, particularly of the
visually-impaired, hearing-impaired, and orthopedically-
impaired students, mentally retarded, and multi-
handicapped and other, and the elimination of social
Health Services – The State shall protect and
promote the
right to health of disabled persons and shall
adopt an integrated and comprehensive
approach to their health development which
shall make essential health services available to
Auxiliary Social Services – The State
them at affordable cost.
shall ensure that
marginalized persons are provided with the
necessary auxiliary services that will restore
their social functioning and participation in
community affairs. Toward this end, the
Department of Social Welfare and Development
shall develop and implement programs on
auxiliary social services that respond to the
Mobility – The State promote the mobility
of disabled
persons. Disabled persons shall be allowed to
drive motor vehicles, subject to the rules and
regulations issued by the Land Transportation
Office pertinent to the nature of their disability
and the appropriate adaptations or
Access to made
modifications Public
on Transport
such vehicles.
Facilities – The Department of Social
Welfare and Development shall develop
a program to assist marginalized
disabled persons gain access in the use
of public transport
facilities. Such assistance may be in the
form of subsidized transportation fare.
Political and Civil Rights
System of Voting – Right to Organize
Disabled persons shall – The State recognize
be allowed to be assisted the rights of
by a person of his choice in disabled persons to
voting in the national or form organizations or
local elections. The person associations that
thus chosen shall prepare promote their welfare
ballot for the disabled voter and advance or
Right tothe
Assemble – safeguard their
voting booth.
Consistent with the provisions of interests. The National
the Constitution, the State shall Government, through
recognize the right of disabled its
persons to participate in agencies,
processions, rallies, parades, instrumentalities and
demonstrations, public subdivisions, shall
meetings, and assemblages or assist disabled persons
Discrimination on Employment – No
entity, whether
public or private, shall discriminate against a qualified
disabled person by reason of disability in regard to job
application procedures, the hiring, promotion, or
discharge of employees, employee compensation, job
training, and other terms,
Discrimination on Transportation
conditions, and privileges of employment.
SECTION 34. Public Transportation – It shall be
discrimination for the franchises or operators and
personnel of sea, land, and air transportation facilities to
charge higher fare or to refuse to convey a passenger,
his orthopedic devices, personal effects, and
Discrimination on the Use of Public
– (a) No disabled persons shall be discriminated
on the basis of disability in the full and equal
enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities,
privileges, advantages or accommodations of
any place of public accommodation by any
person who owns, leases, or operates a place of
public of Government
Recreational or Sports Centers
Free of Charge – Recreational or
sports centers owned or
operated by the
Government shall be used, free of
charge, by marginalized disabled
SECTION 39. Housing Program
– The National Government SECTION 41. Support From
shall take into consideration in its Non-government Organizations
national shelter programs the – Nongovernment
special housing requirement of organizations or private volunteer
disabled persons. organizations dedicated to the
purpose of promoting and
SECTION 40. Role of National Agencies enhancing the welfare of disabled
and Local Government Units persons shall, as they, are hereby
– Local government units shall promote encouraged, become partners of
the establishment of organizations of the Government in the
disabled persons in their respective implementation of vocational
territorial jurisdictions. National agencies rehabilitation measures and other
and local government units may enter into related programs and projects.
joint ventures with organizations or Accordingly, their participation in
associations of disabled persons to the implementation of said
explore livelihood opportunities and other measures, program and projects
undertaking that shall enhance the health, is to be extended all possible
physical fitness and the economic and support by the Government.
social well-being of disabled persons

SECTION 1. In order to promote the realization of the rights of disabled

persons to participate fully in the social life and the development of the
societies in which they live and the enjoyment of the opportunities available to
other citizens, no license or permit for the construction, repair or renovation of
public and private buildings for public use, educational institutions, airports,
sports and recreation centers and complexes, shopping centers or
establishments, public parking places, work-places, public utilities, shall be
granted or issued unless the owner or operator thereof shall install and
incorporate in such building, establishment, institution or public utility, such
architectural facilities or structural features as shall reasonably enhance the
mobility of disabled persons such as sidewalks, ramps, railings and the like. If
feasible, all such existing buildings, institutions, establishments, or public
utilities may be renovated or altered to enable the disabled persons to have
access to them;
: Provided, however, That buildings, institutions, establishments, or public
utilities to be constructed or established for which licenses or permits had
already been issued may comply with the requirements of this law:
Provided, further, That in case of government buildings, street and
highways, the Ministry of Public Works and Highways shall see to it that
the same shall be provided with architectural facilities or structural
features for disabled persons.

In the case of the parking place of any of the above institutions,

buildings, or establishment, or public utilities, the owner or operator
shall reserve sufficient and suitable space for the use of disabled

SECTION. 2. In case of public conveyance, devices such as the

prominent display of posters or stickers shall be used to generate public
awareness of the rights of the disabled and foster understanding of their
special needs. Special bus stops shall be designed for disabled persons.
Discriminating against disabled persons in the carriage or transportation
of passengers is hereby declared unlawful.
Destructive Attitudes and
The Medical Model of Disability:
Perhaps the most significant and widespread myth affecting human rights
and disability is the
idea that disability is a medical problem that needs to be solved or an illness
that needs to be
“cured.” This notion implies that a person with a disability is somehow
“broken” or “sick” and
requires fixing or healing. By defining disability as the problem and medical
intervention as
the solution, individuals, societies, and governments avoid the responsibility
of addressing the
human rights obstacles that exist in the social and physical environment.
Instead, they place the
burden on the health profession to address the “problem” in the person with
the disability.

The Charity Model of Disability:

Another major misperception is that people with disabilities are helpless and
Reasonable Accommodation:
A person with disabilities may require a
reasonable accommodation, such as a
or more time to accomplish a task. A
reasonable accommodation is simply a
resource or a
measure designed to promote full
participation and access and to empower a
person to act
on his or her own behalf. This approach is
not the same as trying to fix the person or
fix the
disability (the Medical Model) or assuming
that people with disabilities are incapable of
Positive Attitudes and Concepts:
Disability as a Natural Part of Human
Everyone is different, whether that difference relates to
color, gender, ethnicity, size, shape, or anything else. A
disability is no different. It may limit a person’s mobility or
their ability to hear, see, taste, or smell. A psycho-social
disability or intellectual disability, may affect the
way people think, feel, or process information.
Regardless of its characteristics, disability neither
subtracts from nor adds to a person’s humanity, value or
rights. It is simply a feature of a person
The Social Model of Disability:
This model focuses on eliminating the barriers created by the social and
physical environment that inhibit the ability of persons with disabilities to
exercise their human rights. This includes,for instance, promoting positive
attitudes and perceptions, modifying the built environment, providing
The Human Rights Approach to Disability focuses on
the inherent human rights of persons with disabilities.
This approach:

• Identifies persons with disabilities as rights holders

and subjects of human rights law on an equal basis
with all people
• Recognizes and respects a person’s disability as an
element of natural human diversity, on the same
basis as race or gender, and addresses the disability-
specific prejudices, attitudes, and other barriers to
the enjoyment of human rights
• Places the responsibility on society and
governments for ensuring that political, legal, social,
and physical environments support the human rights

These barriers include environmental barriers,

especially those that exist in the built (in other
words, human-made) infrastructure. They are some
of the first barriers that people think of when
considering access for people with disabilities, as
they are the most obvious. For example, many
people are now aware of the importance of ramps
for wheelchair access to buildings with stairs or the
need for curb-cuts in side-walks to facilitate street-
level access. Other physical barriers may be less
obvious, however. For example, many people are
unaware of the barriers faced by little people, who
frequently have to interact with a built-environment
primarily designed for “average-sized” people. In
“Habilitation” refers to a process aimed at
helping people gain certain new skills,
abilities,and knowledge. “Rehabilitation” refers to
re-gaining skills, abilities or knowledge that may
have been lost or compromised as a result of acquiring
a disability, or due to a change in one’s disability or
circumstances. The goals of habilitation and rehabilitation as
defined in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Disabilities (CRPD) are to “enable persons with disabilities
to attain and maintain maximum independence, full
physical, mental, social and vocational ability, and full
inclusion and participation in all aspects of life.” As with
any other“reasonable
form of serviceaccommodation,”
or treatment, a rights-based approach
to and
habilitation and rehabilitation
rehabilitation requires focus on
the full participation and
equipping of persons
the with disabilities.
individual with the specific
knowledge, tools, or resources that he or she requires
rather than ensuring that the general environment,
program, practice or job includes the features needed
Both the form and content of information can
constitute barriers to access for people with
disabilities. For example, publications or websites in
small print or without adequate visual contrast may be
inaccessible to people with low vision. Television that
does not include captioning, subtitles, or in-set sign
language interpretation will be inaccessible to people
who are deaf. Similarly, television programming may
also be inaccessible to people who are blind unless
audio-description is available. Information that is not in
Braille or other appropriate tactile forms may be
inaccessible to people who are blind. In addition to
form, the content of information is also of critical
importance. For example, information that is not
provided in plain language is unlikely to be accessible

These include legislation, practices,

or processes that actively prohibit or
fail to facilitate access by people with
disabilities. For example, in some
countries people with psycho-social
disabilities are expressly prohibited from
participating in voting, while
other people with disabilities may be
unable to vote because of the absence of
legislation or practice that ensures that
they can both gain physical access to
polling venues or voting booths and have
Perhaps the most pervasive barrier is the attitudes of
many people.
Sometimes people’s myths and stereotypes about
people with disabilities can cause societies
unconsciously to create accessibility barriers. In other
cases barriers are created or maintained simply because people
are unaware of their existence and the detrimental effect they
have on the lives of persons with disabilities. For example, a
restaurant owner may mistakenly believe that their restaurant is
accessible to wheelchair users because there are “only a couple
of steps” at the entrance, and may not appreciate the need for
people to be able to enter and exit safely and independently.
Such lack of awareness can have especially detrimental
consequences in the area of technology.
Although technology has the potential to enhance access for
people with disabilities, technological advances that occur
without incorporating accessibility features can create barriers.
For instance, at a time when people increasingly rely upon
mobile phones and the internet as sources of information and
The Ten Principles of “Independent
In some countries “independent living centers” provide supports,
services and other
assistance to empower people with disabilities to exercise their right
to live independently and with dignity in their communities. Many of
these centers subscribe to common principles that reflect the
“philosophy of independent living.” These principles are:
1. Human rights: equal rights and opportunities for all;
no segregation by
disability type or stereotype.
2. Consumerism: a person (“consumer” or “customer”)
who is using or buying a service or product decides what is
best for him- or herself.
3. De-institutionalization: no person should be
institutionalized (formally by a building, program, or family)
on the basis of disability.
4.De-medicalization: people with disabilities are
not “sick,” as prescribed by the assumptions of the medical
6. Advocacy : systemic, systematic, long-term, and
community-wide change
activities are needed to ensure that people with disabilities
benefit from all
that society has to offer.

7.Barrier removal: in order for human rights,

consumerism, deinstitutionalization,de-medicalization, and
self-help to occur, architectural,
communication and attitudinal barriers must be removed.

8. Consumer control: the organizations best suited to

support and assist
individuals with disabilities are governed, managed, staffed
and operated by
people with disabilities.

9.Peer role models : leadership for living

independently and disability rights is vested in individuals
with disabilities, not parents, service providers, or other