Statements of rights perform many functions for many different population groups, but assurances
and guarantees that these rights will be met are not part of these functions for people with
intellectual difference. The Australian Government’s level of understanding about their obligations
under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability is not clear. Everyday people
experience breaches of their rights, everyday people die with their rights on.
Statements of rights are the rhetoric used by people in privileged positions to insufficiently address
the experiences of people who are socially excluded; they do not guarantee a person’s rights.
From our standpoint a statement of rights will never be enough to change the daily acts of abuse
that people with intellectual disability experience, right may form the basis of action, but action
needs to be taken to ensure the rights of people with an intellectual disability before they are
breached. This requires a number of changes in the way we currently view, treat and respond to
people with an intellectual disability.
Young, D. and Quibell, R. (2000). Why Rights are Never Enough: rights, intellectual disability and
understanding. Disability & Society(15)1. Pp 747-764.
Young and Quibell (2000) discuss the issues in using a rights discourse in the context of intellectual
disability. There are a number of important points made in the article including the failure of a rights
discourse to address the misunderstanding and assumptions about people with an intellectual
disability that lead to the non achievement and abuse of their human rights. The article also
discusses that rights are not overtly protected or monitored by service providers or statutory bodies,
and that an abuse must occur before action is taken. The issue of reduced ‘agency’ of people with
intellectual disability due to their social controlled lifestyles is also put forward. The contributions a
rights discourse has made to the betterment of the lives of people with an intellectual disability are
outline, including the socio-political focus that locate disability in broader society. The article
discusses that a narrative approach to community awareness would work more effectively for this
group of Australians.
Inclusion International. (2006). Hear Our Voices: People with an intellectual Disability and their
Families Speak Out- A Global Report. The Rix Centre, University of East London: United
Kingdom. 108 pgs.
This article by Inclusion International is set in a global context. The report details the experiences of
people with intellectual disability internationally, with the main commonality being the consistent
experiences of poverty and exclusion. The report provides a number of goals for member nations to
achieve during the time until 2015. The report explains the link between these experiences of
poverty and exclusion to unmet rights. People experience poverty due to exclusion from social,
economic and political life- it is more than financial hardship; it is this exclusion that represent the
breach of their human rights, breaches that occur overtly every day.
Inclusion International. (n.d). Priorities for People with Intellectual Disabilities in Implementing the
United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities: The Road Ahead. The
Rix Centre, University of East London: Untied Kingdom. 108 pgs.
This article provides clear and concise information about how the United Nationals Convention for
People with Disabilities applied to those with an intellectual disability. It discusses some of the issues
people with an intellectual disability face in having their rights met.
United Nations General Assembly (1993). The Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities
for Persons with Disabilities. Forty-eighth session of the Unitied Nations General Assembly.
Unitied Nations. Internet Pulication Address:
Abbott, S. and McConkey, R. (2006). The Barriers to social inclusion as perceived by people with in
intellectual disability. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities (10)3. Pp 278-287.