Advocacy Groups To Gather Signatures For Disability Rights
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 24, 2003
DUBLIN, IRELAND--A coalition of eight disability and human rights groups began a campaign Wednesday to make sure the country's new Disability Bill focuses on the rights of people with disabilities.
The groups plan to gather 100,000 signatures during a nationwide petition drive on November 7, 8, and 9, according to the Irish Times.
The government is scheduled to publish the Disability Bill next month.
Seamus Greene, coordinator of the National Parents and Siblings Alliance (NPSA), said the groups were concerned that the government only planned to guarantee the right to an assessment of needs rather than a right to services to meet those needs.
Mr. Greene said that "the anger in the disability sector will be enormous" if the legislation does not include a focus on rights.
The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) noted Tuesday that the lack of rights-based legislation is causing people to be inappropriately institutionalized.
"People with mental illness continue to live in acute beds in mental hospitals for no reason other than the lack of suitable accommodation," said Federation officials.
The petition drive is being led by NPSA, DFI, along with Amnesty International, the Centre for Independent Living, the Disability Legal Resource Project, Down Syndrome Ireland, the Forum for People with Disabilities and the Irish Autism Alliance.