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Let the World Know
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"Let the World Know"

Report of a Seminar on Human Rights and Disability
Almåsa Conference Centre (Stockholm, November 5-9, 2000)

Published by the Office of the Special Rapporteur on Disability
of the United Nations Commission for Social Development © 2001


Preface and Acknowledgements *

I Introduction *

II Background to the Seminar *

III Timing of the Seminar: An Opportune Moment *

IV Purpose of the International Seminar: From Rhetoric to Reality *

V Organization of the Seminar *

VI General Directions for Mainstreaming the Human Right of Persons with Disabilities *

VII Developing an Overall Structure for Reporting Violations of the Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities *

VIII Understanding What Amounts to an Infringement of Human Rights *

IX Building a System for Dealing with Infringements of Human Rights *

X Making it work: Developing Instruments for Documenting Infringements of Human Rights: The Five Working Groups Report *

  1. Documenting Individual Cases *
  2. Documenting Legal Cases/Jurisprudence *
  3. Documenting the Media *
  4. Documenting legislation *
  5. Documenting Programmes, Services and Practices *

XI. Additional General Recommendations to Strengthen the Use of International Instruments on Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities

XII Concluding Remarks: From little acorns great oaks grow *

ANNEX A: List of Participants (including observers, and support staff)

VII. Developing an Overall Structure for Reporting Violations of the Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities

This reporting structure has been prepared primarily to support the work of DPOs, international, regional, or national, so that they will have available material on human rights infringements of persons with disabilities. The seminar accepts that its efforts are weakened by the inability to provide financial resources for DPOs to enable them to build effective human rights reporting mechanisms. Nonetheless, many DPOs are already working in this area. This material will, hopefully, provide some initial practical advice to them, as well as encourage other DPOs to develop further work on disability as a human rights issue. The recommendations and the methods of documentation are not, however, confined to strategies that suggest the work has to be carried out by the DPOs. An effort of this scale and importance requires multi-disciplinary teams and supporters. It requires that alliances be effected between interested parties and those with disabilities.

Different sections of the disabled community will necessarily build systems to get information from their members and supporters in ways that account for their particular circumstances. For example, people who are locked in institutions may need very different ways of telling the wider world about the abuse they endure; the deaf community needs to know that there are coordinators who are deaf themselves or who are efficient sign-language interpreters; and persons with disabilities in isolated rural communities must be aware of - and be able to take advantage of - support systems that DPOs create.

Different DPOs will be interested in using one approach rather than another for documenting purposes. Hopefully, there will be other bodies, such as law societies or other rights-seeking organizations that might use the information here to incorporate disability into their on-going reporting efforts.

It is impossible to provide information about how every DPO or section of the disabled community can build an effective human rights reporting network. Much will depend on the resources that are available to them and the amount of preparatory work that representative INGOs have already done.

In some cases, international representative organizations have already done a great deal of work in the area of human rights of persons with disabilities. Where individual DPOs are part of an international organization that has undertaken human rights work, much information and experience will already be available. The challenge is for every INGO to identify a DPO that is able to receive information about human rights abuses and forward this to international human rights agencies.

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