Ratification of CRPD requires abolishment of ‘disability culture’


The International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3 was largely overshadowed by the political hype of the “memogate” scandal and the significance of the day failed to attract the media’s attention that it deserved. About 2.49 percent of the Pakistani population has disabilities, according to government figures, but many differ and claim that the actual percentage of people with disabilities in the country is around 10 percent, while others place it at 18 percent.
The dispute stems from different definitions of the word “disability”.
There could be several types of disabilities of varied degrees, visible or hidden, temporary and permanent or unpredictable, cognitive, developmental and many others. However, the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) define, “Disability is the outcome of the interaction between a person with impairment and the environmental and attitudinal barriers one may face as a result”.
This is a human rights’ perspective to disability that requires society and the governments to actively promote “reasonable accommodation” to ensure persons with disabilities enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
So, regardless of what percentage of the entire population constitutes the figures of persons with disabilities in the country, no one can deny that special persons need fundamental human rights on account of their disabilities and facilitating them is moral and legal obligation of the state.
Pakistan needs concerted efforts to abolish disability culture from ‘the land of the pure’ which requires streamlining of its various departments working for the well-being of the persons with disabilities to improve their inter-departmental coordination and their liaison with NGOs. Millions of people face a social design of exclusion everyday, sometimes on the pretext of social customs and sometimes of the basis of legal requirements. We have to build an all-inclusive society, with equal opportunities for all.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) urged Pakistan on December 3 to show solidarity and support towards the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of their political, social, economic and cultural lives.
The government of Pakistan ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – CRPD (2006) on July 5, 2011, with its universal definition based on fundamental rights and now it must make efforts to fulfil its commitments results from the ratification to ensure rights of the persons with disabilities and to abolish disability culture.