For some people, the definition of survival becomes walking again; for others it is returning to work. But for some it extends further. They come to view rights advocacy as an integral part of their daily life — a vital calling to improve their community, their country, their world.
Landmine survivors, their families and supporters are now among the world’s most powerful advocates for human rights. LSN’s peer support and rights education are starting points for survivors to move from being victims and among the poorest of the poor, to breaking the cycle of poverty and removing barriers by campaigning for human rights.
Six hundred million people — almost ten percent of the world’s population — are disabled. Eighty percent live in the developing world. They are among the poorest of the poor and too often live as social and economic outcasts.
Today, there are few laws that guarantee inclusion and full participation in society for people with disabilities. Of 191 U.N. Member States, less than 50 have disability-based anti-discrimination laws. In countries with laws that promote access and protect rights, much work remains to implement and enforce these laws. In the developing world, people with disabilities have few advocacy resources or legal tools to effect a change in their status, much less secure their full participation in society.
Advocating for the Concept of Human Rights into Society
Around the world, many societies look at people with disabilities through a “medical model” of disability, wherein a person is seen as having a health problem and is in need of a “cure.” Consequently, this limited view is deeply rooted in law and policies affecting those with disabilities. LSN and others involved in the process for a U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are trying to change that view, and the subsequent effect it will have on laws and policies around the world.
Instead of needing to “cure” someone with a disability, the Convention works to establish a human rights-based approach that will view a person with a disability as entitled to the full set of human rights that someone without a disability enjoys. The human rights-based approach to disability is important because it transforms the needs of people with disabilities into rights they can claim.