United Nations Official Calls Disability "A Human Rights Issue"
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 5, 2002
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND--"We must understand that disability is a human rights issue," Sergio Vieira de Mello, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said Tuesday.
In recognition of the International Day of Disabled Persons, de Mello issued a statement encouraging nations to fully include the world's 600 million people with disabilities "in all aspects of economic, social, cultural and political life."
The High Commissioner noted that many disabilities are caused by violations of human rights and humanitarian law. He also acknowledged that people with disabilities experience discrimination, including "denial of equal education and employment opportunities as well as architectural, transport and social barriers".
"Discrimination undermines human dignity and deprives persons with disabilities of those basic rights and fundamental freedoms that most of us take for granted," he said.
De Mello referred to the process currently undertaken by the General Assembly for a new international treaty to promote and protect the rights and dignity of people with disabilities.
"I agree with those who have called that decision a landmark in the history of the disability movement."