A Welcome Message from DRPI Co-Director Bengt Lindqvist

Video Message

Transcript of the Video Message

Dear participants, welcome to this training organized by DRPI. I am very happy that so many of you have come and we have great expectations as to what will happen and about your contribution to this training seminar.

Let me look back a little bit, you know I am an old man by now and I was involved in disability policy already in the late 1960s. A sociologist, Robert A. Scott, wrote a book with the title, The Making of Blind Men, where he showed how people with disabilities, like no other group in society, are in the hands of experts, of doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers and also by their family and relatives, and that though, the values that these people have, to a very large extent, form the lives of people with disabilities.

When awareness grew about this phenomenon, of course we ourselves said that we must catch more influence, we must build capacity to take our own destinies into our hands, and you can see in many of the international documents, a trend to emphasize more and more, the role of disabled people themselves in deciding on their own lives and what should be priorities, and what should be done in the disability field. You have it in the World Programme of Action, you have it in the Standard Rules, and you also have it in the new Convention, and in the Convention its quite unique that the influence of people with disabilities themselves is so clearly stipulated in the different provisions of this Convention, like no other UN convention actually.

Well, so the voice of people with disabilities is the most important voice in creating initiatives and action to improve the living conditions of people with disabilities. And this has been the basis for our work in DRPI since the very beginning some 9 years ago. When the breakthrough took place in the UN and the UN human rights establishment recognized finally that disability is human rights dimension which has to be taken into account by human rights organizations and by the UN human rights institutions, that was great event in the disability history of course and it also presented a real challenge. How are we going to catch all the different forms of exclusion and discrimination that disability creates throughout the world? Well, the best answer is ask the people with disabilities themselves. They can tell you, they know, and our intention has been all the time to develop two things. We want to develop a methodology which will help the movement of disabled people to really expose problems, human rights problems, in the lives of people with disabilities, and we want to build the capacity of these organizations to really handle such information about violations and discrimination.

How do we identify? How do we report? To whom do we report? How do we ourselves in our activist work use the findings which come out of the monitoring? I think that the whole purpose of this seminar, along with other training seminars, is to convey what we have already achieved to new people with disabilities and to make them involved and make them contribute themselves to even better methodology, even more accurate reporting etc. In this sense you, as participants in this seminar, are very important. You are very important to us, and your role here is important because you of course also have experiences that we can use to further develop what we have set ourselves to obtain.

So I wish you all a high level of participation. Do learn what we have achieved so far and do contribute with your own experiences in the process of this seminar. Good luck to you and have a good time after the seminar as well.