Agree with you on this Meenakshi. Have been amazed at the recent flip flops on the fundamentals. I find this flippancy disrespectful of the sector - some of us actually meant what we said and said what we meant... (to quote my hero Horton).
This cavalier and campaign style of advocacy cannot bring about sustainable change. I can somehow make my peace with politicking, strategising, manipulation, blackmail, corruption or bribery if the outcome is as sweeping as the the 13th Amendment to the U.S.
Saturday, 11 January 2014
Not long ago, being somewhat misinformed, and without making sure of the facts, I was guilty of some poor judgement. I signed a petition saying `Minister of Parliamentary Affairs: Pass the Disability Rights Bill #disabilityrights - Sign the Petition!, and worse, `shared this' on facebook, thereby essentially asking my `fb friends' to do something similar, which many of them have, to my chagrin now. The reason for this volte-face is that I signed that petition without reading the current state of `the bill' (it was not anywhere to be seen; and still seems to be a bit of a mystery). I am now finding various reasons why I had been hasty, without getting my facts straight. My reasons for this reversal of position are best illustrated by the following excerpts from emails I have received from two of the more (well-informed, and) seasoned campaigners of this group of truly amazing individuals calling themselves the `Disability Rights Alliance' which has done me the undeserved honour of including me in their ranks:
THE LAW GIVETH SOPS TO SOME AND THE LAW TAKETH AWAY RIGHTS OF OTHERS? IT’S CALLED THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES BILL BUT HAS LEFT SOME DISABLED PEOPLE OUT?
The Disability Rights Alliance welcomed the move to introduce a new Bill in Parliament to address the needs of the disabled citizens of India. The existing Persons with Disabilities Act of 1996 was a landmark piece of legislation at that time. It was the first attempt in independent India to address the needs of disabled citizens. However, the legislation is archaic and is overdue for an update.
The proposed Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2013 had the potential to meet the lacunae in the PWD Act and revolutionise the lives of the disabled in this country. It had the potential to finally make and treat us equal in the eyes of the law and empower the disabled to take control of their own lives and destinies.
But to ensure this potential is realized, as responsible citizens, we have a right and duty to examine the Bill as it is to be presented before the Parliament. The version of the Bill in circulation (available on Ministry website) is from 2011. This Bill was unacceptable to the disabled people of India in its limitations. The Bill to be introduced is of 2013. What changes have been made are not in the public domain.
This is disturbing as the 2011 version of the rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill was deeply flawed in its fundamentals. We are particularly concerned about the Bill’s position in the following areas:
Compliance with International Law governing the rights of Persons with Disabilities – the UNCRPD of which India is a signatory and has ratified.
Guardianship and legal capacity: These issues have potential to curtail civil liberties and thus have no place in legislation that talks about rights. Additionally, issues of guardianship and legal capacity are not restricted to disabled people alone and should be addressed in different legislation – including them in this legislation is itself discriminatory.
Economic and political rights of people traditionally denied participation due to legally imposed disabilities of incapacity.
Inclusion of people who experience disability vs restrictive lists of traditional disabilities – how can an anti-discrimination law which touts inclusion, itself exclude so summarily?
The bill of 2012 had barely changed from its original form in terms of limited guardianship, quality education, authorities, vacuum in statistics and data collection, political participation.
The bill of 2012 had nothing new to bring to the table in terms of fulfillment of our enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with others.
A ‘RIGHTS’ BILL WHERE SOME PEOPLE ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS IS PLAIN WRONG! IS THE NEW BILL REALLY IMPROVED?