A press conference was held to illuminate on the need to save the Disability Rights Bill. Below is a copy of the Press Release that went out to the media.
We, the disabled people, families, parents of people with disability, professionals, friends, volunteers and all significant others would wish to draw your attention to a matter that concerns 70 million Indians.
We believe it concerns many more. If any of you have had a fractured leg in a cast or elderly parents, who can’t hear or see very well or have dementia it concerns you as well.
In 2007, India signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. As a consequence of ratification India was to modify her domestic laws to bring them in consonance with the Convention.
6 years later where do we stand?? - Four years of effort that went into the drafting of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, approved by the Cabinet on 12th December, has gone down the drain with Parliament being adjourned sine die last week. Had the Parliament been in session for 2 more days (as per its own schedule), the Bill would have at least got tabled, if not passed!
Disabled rights activists across the country are deeply anguished over the manner in which the political class has treated them, as for them the 70 million Indians with disabilities are simply not a vote bank!
To make things worse, the huge fear is that with the General Elections looming large over the horizon, the Parliament may not be re-convened early next year for any legislative business. If that happens, all our efforts of more than 4 years will go down the drain and the Disability Rights Bill will get consigned to the dustbin of history.
However, IF, as with the Lokpal Bill, the Congress and the Opposition come together and show some political will, the Parliament can be reconvened in January (even for a single day!) and the Disability Rights Bill can be tabled and perhaps even be passed.
The Disabilities Bill is political. It will ensure rights for persons with disabilities instead of charity.
All that is needed is for the Parliament to be convened even for a day so that the Bill can be tabled and secured.
This is an appeal to every citizen of this country to show your solidarity and extend your support.
Join us to raise awareness and create a political will that will ensure a legislative guarantee for the Rights of People with Disability to be protected.
As a beginning, we are holding a Press Conference in Delhi on the 27th of December and a Candle Light Vigil on the eve of New Year.
Lend your hand in mobilising media national /local, mobilising a national/local political will through any/all of the following - rallies, candle light vigils, press conferences, television shows, articles in newspapers, etc.
Do what you can! Ensure that the Disability Rights Bill gets converted to a Disability Bill.