Today marked the launch of the latest DRPI report from Colombia, Human Rights Monitoring in Persons with Disabilities, with an Emphasis on Psychosocial Disability in Colombia: A Comprehensive Analysis. The report was produced by DRPI’s Latin America office in partnership with Fundamental Colombia, a Bogota-based non-governmental, national organization dedicated to promoting the well-being of persons with psychosocial disabilities.
Making the invisible visible – including people with psychosocial disabilities
Highlighting the large gap between the government’s promises and the reality of the lives of people with disabilities through an evidence-based, holistic monitoring approach led by people with disabilities, the pilot project is the first DRPI project to focus on the rights of people with psychosocial disabilities. By giving a prominent role to a group of people with disabilities who has often been overlooked due to lack of awareness, self-representation, and self-acknowledgement, the report marks an important innovation in disability rights monitoring.
The project has included people with psychosocial disabilities into the process of adaptation, training on the methodology, and implementation of the monitoring system, trying, for the first time, to listen to their voices and reflect their feelings about how they live their human rights every day. The participants were empowered and their technical skills were developed, to implement an integral system to follow-up on the human rights of persons with disabilities in Colombia.
Conclusions – The Gap Between Promises and Reality
The report deals with the growing issue of the rights of persons with disabilities, but not by identifying the CRPD as a political tool that does not move beyond discourse but rather through scientifically and empirically proven monitoring in this area. Seeking to provide the reader with an experience-based picture of the current status of the rights of persons with disabilities, the report reveals the large gap between the government’s promises and the reality of the lives of people with disabilities.
- High levels of abuse and discrimination of people with disabilities, including systemic violations of their rights to social participation, guaranteed income and support services, privacy and family life, health, habilitation and rehabilitation, education, information and communication and access to justice
- Social participation is the mostly commonly violated aspect within the rights analyzed. This is related to the lack of guaranteed income and support services, which are not adequate for the persons with disabilities to take an active role in the community
- Family members, care providers and partners play an essential role in ensuring respect for privacy, autonomy, dignity and other principles of the CRPD. They also allow for access to systems such as those of health, education, employment, information and communication
- Regulations and legal requirements to report violations and to enforce rights with specific legal actions are not widely known. There is also a lack of acknowledgement of the legal capacity of the persons with disabilities, which is actually the main barrier for the effective enjoyment of human rights.
- Raise awareness and educate society on matters related to disability
- The Colombian government should show more respect and attention to the needs of persons with disabilities. It should also generate support and improve the strategies for labor inclusion and improve the living conditions and incomes of persons with disabilities and their families