Sightsavers Works to Implement Disabled Persons’ Rights

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is a United Nations (UN) body that works to ensure that rights of disabled persons are upheld across the world. A Sightsavers Global Advocacy Advisor for Social Inclusion, Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame, is Ghana’s candidate for the CRPD committee.

They work with people across all the other conventions because disability cuts across all groups; young and old, rich and poor, men and women can all be disabled. People with disabilities face discrimination and lack of dignity across the world. There are challenges to facing this problem and it will require public participation to achieve equality.

The biggest challenge of implementing this convention is public perception. Many people believe that disabled persons’ rights are expensive to maintain; these people take a welfare view of disabled persons. Getting past this perception would make it much easier to implement the convention and achieve rights-based equality for everyone.

There are many things that can be done to change the perception of disabled persons’ rights. One way to affect change is continued advocacy by disabled persons’ organizations and other civil society organizations, such as Sightsavers, to effect policy change in governments across the world. If states ensure disability rights in their policies it will give much more protection to disabled persons than many have right now.

Another way to affect change is awareness-raising and training for duty-bearers. These officials need to have the rights violations and causes of disabled people brought to their attention so they will be addressed. It’s important to take advantage of already planned events and meetings to ensure we reach as many officials as possible.

The third way to affect change in this arena is to elaborate more in the general comments of the convention to give states guidelines to follow in implementation. This will allow states to follow best practice without reinventing the wheel.

Last, people with disabilities should be included in decision making at all levels. Some people are focused on survival and would like to have welfare services given to them rather than follow a human rights’ approach. While this is understandable, it is essential to have the input of disabled persons when creating a policy about them; Sightsavers fights to give disabled people this right.