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					Self Advocacy Says Welcomes
Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Self advocates from around the globe have had a say in our new Convention. Inclusion International, with support from the United Nations, held seminars in various places around the world. A small Team of self advocates participated in the discussions in New York. We were small in number but we had a real strong voice. The Convention is now in place. We have finished the preparation and now need to make it work for us. The Convention says that we have the same rights as every one else. We always knew this but others tried to deny us our rights. It is now time for this to change. The Convention does not give us any new rights. We do not need any extra rights - we just want to enjoy the same rights as our fellow citizens.

What the Convention means for those of us with an intellectual disability:      We must have the same opportunities as others to live, work and enjoy life in our community - the discrimination we face because of our disability must end. We must enjoy the same legal rights as others – we must be a full person before the law and the law must protect our rights. We must have the same rights as others when it comes to making our decisions – our decisions must be respected. We must be supported to make our own decisions – others must not be given the legal right to make decisions for us. We must have the same right to life as others – we also want our right to be born on an equal basis with others to be protected. The Convention becomes meaningless if we are denied these rights. We must have the same opportunity as others to participate in education, paid work and the economic system of our country – we must say no to segregated education, no to poverty and no to being excluded from paid work.

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Making the changes The Conventions gives us our pathway to the future. It is a future full of hope and promise. We have the power to change our own destiny. We have the power to change the lives of others. We must!!      Encourage our governments too ratify the Convention as soon as possible – there is no need to delay. Learn about the Convention and how it can change our lives. Teach others about the Convention and support them to achieve their dreams. Educate our communities that this Convention means some things will have to change. Work with others – we must reach out for support as “Partners in Change”.

We must continue our fight for social justice. We must continue our demand to be included as equals. We must continue to educate others about our lives and the unique things we offer as human beings. Changing our laws is not enough. We can legislate against discrimination but cannot legislate against the prejudice in a man’s heart. We need our community’s support not their pity. This Convention gives our communities a wonderful opportunity to grow - to show understanding; to embrace all people and to include all people as valued members of society. The success of this Convention will be measured by its ability to inspire us, to motivate us and to guide us to build a truly inclusive society for all.

Robert Martin Chairperson Taskforce on Self Advocacy


				
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posted:11/27/2009
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