Don't forget disabled taxpayers' rights

2013-02-21 10:37
wheelchair, disabled, handicapped
Fin24 user Braam Jordaan writes:

Honourable Mr Gordhan,

There is a long overdue need to use taxpayers' money to fund state/private hospital, public domains, universities to make information/education accessible for everyone.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was ratified six years ago.

Article 9 (accessibility) clearly states:

1. To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, states parties (ie those countries which have signed the CRPD convenion) shall take appropriate measures to ensure persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas.

These measures, which shall include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility, shall apply to, inter alia:

(a) Buildings, roads, transportation and other indoor and outdoor facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces;
(b) Information, communications and other services, including electronic services and emergency services.... (sic)
(e) (sic) Provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including guides, readers and professional sign language interpreters, to facilitate accessibility to buildings and other facilities open to the public;
(f) Promote other appropriate forms of assistance and support to persons with disabilities to ensure their access to information.

Article 24 (education) clearly states:

1. States parties recognise the right of persons with disabilities to education.

With a view to realising this right without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity, states parties shall ensure an inclusive education system at all levels and lifelong learning directed to:

(a) The full development of human potential and sense of dignity and self-worth, and the strengthening of respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and human diversity;
(b) The development by persons with disabilities of their personality, talents and creativity, as well as their mental and physical abilities, to their fullest potential;
(c) Enabling persons with disabilities to participate effectively in a free society.

3. (sic) States parties shall enable persons with disabilities to learn life and social development skills to facilitate their full and equal participation in education and as members of the community.

To this end, states parties shall take appropriate measures, including: (b) (sic) Facilitating the learning of sign language and the promotion of the linguistic identity of the deaf community; the sign language interpreter is mutually beneficial, enabling doctors and professionals to execute their task properly and without any risk or barrier.

This will also enable the professor to do his/her job.

Is it fair for the deaf student to pay extra for the interpreting fees while receiving the exact same information/education as the other student in the class?

Please don't hesitate to contact me should you require any further information.

I trust you will consider this seriously.

Kind regards,
Braam Jordaan

* Jordaan is currently serving as a board member of the World Federation of the Deaf Youth Section (WFD). The WFD aims to promote the human rights of deaf people worldwide, by working closely with the United Nations (with which it has consultative status) and various UN agencies such as the International Labour Organisation and the World Health Organisation. WFD is also a member of the International Disability Alliance.

* Visit our 2013 Budget section for full coverage of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's National Budget speech.


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