8 - Raising awareness regarding disability
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Working Group | References
Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities
Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, forty-eighth session, resolution 48/96, annex, of 20 December 1993
Rule 2 – Awareness-raising
States should take action to raise awareness in society about persons with disabilities, their rights, their needs, their potential and their contribution.
• States should ensure that responsible authorities distribute up-to-date information on available programmes and services to persons with disabilities, their families, professionals in the field and the general public. Information to persons with disabilities should be presented in accessible form.
• States should initiate and support information campaigns concerning persons with disabilities and disability policies, conveying the message that persons with disabilities are citizens with the same rights and obligations as others, thus justifying measures to remove all obstacles to full participation.
• States should encourage the portrayal of persons with disabilities by the mass media in a positive way; organizations of persons with disabilities should be consulted on this matter.
• States should ensure that public education programmes reflect in all their aspects the principle of full participation and equality.
• States should invite persons with disabilities and their families and organizations to participate in public education programmes concerning disability matters.
• States should encourage enterprises in the private sector to include disability issues in all aspects of their activity.
• States should initiate and promote programmes aimed at raising the level of awareness of persons with disabilities concerning their rights and potential. Increased self-reliance and empowerment will assist persons with disabilities to take advantage of the opportunities available to them.
• Awareness-raising should be an important part of the education of children with disabilities and in rehabilitation programmes. Persons with disabilities could also assist one another in awareness-raising through the activities of their own organizations.
• Awareness-raising should be part of the education of all children and should be a component of teacher-training courses and training of all
World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons
Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, thirty-seventh session, Resolution 37/52 of 3 December 1982 Information and public education
Member States should encourage a comprehensive public information programme about the rights, contributions and unmet needs of disabled persons that would reach all concerned, including the general public. In this connection, attitude change should be given special importance.
Guidelines should be developed in consultation with organizations of disabled persons to encourage the news media to give a sensitive and accurate portrayal of, as well as fair representation of and reporting on, disabilities and disabled persons in radio, television, film, photography and print. An essential element in such guidelines would be that disabled persons should be able to present their problems to the public themselves and to suggest how they might be solved. The inclusion of information on the realities of disabilities in the curricula of journalists' training should be encouraged.
Public authorities are responsible for adapting their information so that it reaches everybody, including disabled persons. This does not apply only to the information mentioned above, but also to information concerning civil rights and obligations.
A public information programme should be designed to ensure that the most pertinent information reaches all appropriate segments of the population. In addition to the regular media and other normal channels of communication, attention should be given to:
• The preparation of special materials to inform disabled persons and their families of the rights, benefits and services available to them and of the steps to be taken to correct failures and abuses in the system. Such materials should be available in forms that can be used and understood by people with visual, hearing or other communication limitations;
• The preparation of special materials for groups within the population who are not easily reached by the normal channels of communication. Such groups may be separated by language, culture, levels of literacy, geographical distance and other factors;
• The preparation of pictorial material, audio-visual presentations and guidelines for use by community workers in remote areas and other situations where normal forms of communication may be less effective.
Member States should ensure that current information is available to disabled persons, their families and professionals regarding programmes and services, legislation, institutions, expertise, aids and devices etc.
The authorities responsible for public education should ensure the presentation of systematic information about the realities of disability and its consequences and about prevention, rehabilitation and the equalization of opportunities for disabled persons.
Disabled persons and their organizations should be given equal access, employment, adequate resources and professional training with regard to public information, so they may express themselves freely through the media and communicate their points of view and experiences to the general public.
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