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Disability awareness > Module 1 > Page 7

 

Context and theories of disability

The universal human rights model

Source report on the United Nations Expert Group meeting on international norms and standards relating to disability.

The right to equality of opportunity for participation in education is set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and should apply to all people including people with disabilities .

In reality, however, people with disabilities are denied the opportunities of full participation in education at all levels and this exclusion comes from attitudinal, physical and social barriers that have evolved through ignorance and fear.

People can often avoid contact and relationships with disabled people and this in turn excludes them from normal social intercourse producing psychological and social problems for many. Too often professional personnel with whom disabled people meet fail to appreciate the potential for participation by disabled people and consequently do not help to include them in social groups.

Generally services and facilities for the inclusion of disabled people into society are closely linked to Governments and society's willingness and ability to allocate resources and services to excluded groups.

Legislation has been enacted in many countries to guarantee the rights of disabled people to education and to ensure that they have the same right to education as non–disabled persons. The pending Education for Persons with Disabilities Bill will go along way towards this ensuring the right of children with disabilities to participate in mainstream education.

A United Nations Expert Group meeting on international norms and standards relating to disability considered that the human rights perspective is the correct approach to the rights of persons with disabilities. It recognises that persons with disabilities were entitled to enjoy the full range of internationally guaranteed rights and freedoms without discrimination on the grounds of disability. It accepted that the state may have to take unique steps to ensure that people with disabilities can fully enjoy those rights and that the mode of realising those rights may vary, but essentially the right was the same right.

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