New Book Shows How to Improve the Lives of People With Disabilities

Posted on: 16 December 2015

A new book by members of the School of Social Work and Social Policy, ‘Disability and Human Rights: Global Perspectives’, was launched last night in college by Chief Commissioner of Human Rights and Equality Emily Logan.

In the imminent process of ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (United Nations 2006), this book makes an in-depth analysis of disability issues in a number of countries around the world.

Edited by Dr Edurne García Iriarte, Professor Roy McConkey and Professor Robbie Gilligan, ‘Disability and Human Rights: Global Perspectives’ provides a much-needed global approach to disability – most recent figures estimate that there are 1 billion disabled people on the planet.

Key themes of the book, which were discussed on the night, include disability poverty, support, culture and some of the book’s key messages are as follows:

  • The internet and social media have had profound implications for the
    disability movement.
    – Digital technologies are powerful tools with regard to national campaigns
  • War and disability is the subject of another chapter, with examples from the ongoing Syrian conflict.
    – This war alone has resulted in thousands of amputees. Handicap International reports that 18% of Syrian refugees in Joran and Lebanon have at least one impairment and are unlikely to receive the services they need.
  • Stigma is still a huge barrier faced by not only people with disabilities but also their caregivers.
    In many cultures around the world disability can still be attributed to retribution for wrongdoing or even the actions of malevolent spirits.
  • It is argued that people with intellectual disabilities are now living well into the third age.
    – Policy must support these people who want to live in genuine community settings where they may have family.
  • Disability is not an obstacle to success.
    Governments, policy makers, planners and training institutes need to realise this and ensure that barriers to participation are removed.

Professor Roy McConkey, one of the book’s co-editors, said: “We were delighted that leading figures in the promotion of disability rights joined with us to produce this unique book that documents how little progress has been made in implementing the UN Convention globally – including in Ireland – while being a signpost for directing the many challenges that lie ahead to fulfil its aspirations.” 

Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Emily Logan said: “I warmly welcome the publication of ‘Disability and Human Rights: Global Perspectives’ which provides valuable insights into the experiences of people living with disabilities. People with disabilities face multiple barriers in the realisation of their human rights and equality of treatment and opportunity.

“This book provides an opportunity to examine some of the obstacles people with disability face and what needs to be done to remove them.”