In 1981 at the 1st World Congress in Singapore, disabled people recognized that we must unite and we must fight for our rights. Today in 2002 we are united, and we stand together as never before. We have national assemblies in some 135 countries in every continent of the world. We are ready to fight for our rights!
In Sapporo, our largest gathering yet, more than 3,000 people from some 109 countries have heard presentations and debated issues, we recognize that much has been achieved since our inception in 1981; we also recognize that much remains to be achieved. According to the United Nations statistics, there are 600 million disabled people worldwide, 82% live in developing countries. Unlike other citizens of their societies, disabled people live in the most deplorable conditions, isolated and excluded from their communities by barriers of policy, environment and attitude. For this reason, we fight against wars, poverty and the eradication of all forms of discriminations especially against disabled persons.
Disabled people are unquestionably the largest and most discriminated minority group in the world, whose human rights are systematically violated. These violations against the poorest of the poor result in worsening living conditions, degrading in human treatment, lack of adequate housing, healthcare, education, employment, social inclusion and, often face death. Our rights under existing UN conventions are generally ignored or marginalized in monitoring procedures. Therefore:
· We demand a specific international convention as an instrument of binding norms to protect and respect the full enjoyment of our human rights. This convention must be human rights in nature and not economic and social based.
· Disabled people demand a voice of our own in the development of this instrument. We must be consulted at all levels on all matters that concern us.
· We urge all countries to support the formulation and adoption of this convention and we encourage all disabled people and their organizations to educate the public and their political representatives on the need and benefits of a convention.
· In addition:, We demand that every country adopt and implement anti-discrimination legislation and policies that ensures the equalization of opportunity for disabled people.
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